By: Marc S. Miller – President, Marc S. Miller Associates

May 5, 2014.

As many readers might know, as a long time HRTechnology consultant, I have had the opportunity of working with client’s and vendors in providing vendor evaluation techniques thought leadership / business development activities and guidance to my clients and for many of the key vendors in our marketplace.

After witnessing and participating in 100’s of vendor sales cycle activities, I have determined that the following might be considered the keys to a successful sale for any vendor in the HR technology space – any type of vendor; those offering HCM integrated solutions, best of breed HRIS, large scale HRMS, and niche players offering specific HR related functionality such as Recruiting.

These are my considered opinions, and I offer them in order to see continued success to my fellow HR Technologists, as vendors or users or both.


  1. Listen carefully to the business practices, data management, workflow and reporting issues voiced as areas of dissatisfaction or “pain” by your prospects.
  2. For each disappointment voiced or dissatisfaction expressed, strive to develop and demonstrate your products ability to lessen that discomfort by showing your products features and functions and underpinnings. Show it. Create “scenarios of pain” that mirror the activities in place now, and then show how that “pain” is lessoned with your product via your demonstrations – using your demo database.
  3. Never force your standard solution or “out of the box’ vanilla solution on your prospect. Rather, show how your solution can be altered to fit the prospects situation and provide a reasonable and manageable solution, one that is almost intuitive by nature and one that can (if needed) allow the prospect to agree to change their process or practice, or at least adapt what you believe is the most reasonable solution for them. One that you have demonstrated reduces the “pain”.
  4. Talk frequently of building a business relationship or partnership with your prospect. Show an understanding of their business, and always voice a (hopefully) common belief in the importance of a strategic HR (Payroll and Benefits) role in their organization and how your organization and your product will “together” seek empirical bottom line improvements as a result of your mutual activities. And emphasize your commitment to the power and strategic value of HR related functionality as evidenced by your features and functions now and in any future product enhancements (or releases).
  5. Show that all your staff, from your most senior executives (best case, your President or Founder) to your customer service people (post “go live”) know and understand the “Business of HR/Payroll and Benefits”, and that that emphasis has been the underlying focus of your organization’s vision and growth since your inception. Prove it by getting similar client organization representatives to speak of that commitment and proof of action to your prospect.

Keeping these five tenants in mind, I believe should go a long way in guiding your activities during any length sales cycle, and should result in your delivering your products’ capabilities to a satisfied and reference- able new client.

And, if you are the prospect or “buyer” – then choose the vendor that meets, or otherwise proves to you and your team that these 5 tenants are meaningful to them.


Marc S. Miller Associates.