Mindshare: How to win HR friends and influence sales people

By Brendan Coyne | 5 June 2014

As Google tucks in to traditional business models, so LinkedIn is slimming the pickings for recruitment firms. As recruiters respond by calling themselves premium service providers, their clients have become more cynical. It's a global issue, but Mindshare thinks it cracked that particular nut in a week.

How do recruiters stand out from the pack? Act like a talent agent. Stop thinking boring CVs and think portfolios. Channel Entourage's Ari and Vince. That was the solution presented to Richard Lloyd Recruitment by Mindshare's Co-Creation unit at the MCA last night.

The unit spent seven days thinking about business problems posed at the first Uncomfortable Ideas at the Bar session last Wednesday. In the meantime, they had to help out with a fairly big pitch and in other Lion related work, Jason Maggs had to turn around a 24 hour brief to secure his trip to Cannes.

“It was a bit more uncomfortable than we thought it would be,” said Sam Turley. “We'd actually created our own business problem. But we just trusted our techniques and put uncomfortable to the test.”

They channelled advertising legend Dave Trott: "Which way do the hands of a clock turn, clockwise? Not if you're inside the clock".

So the company that wanted to see off competitors and secure corporate budgets for its training services but couldn't get HR to take a risk on a new provider and close the sale was advised to partner with competitors and make the HR department feel special.

“How do car salesmen seal the deal? Offer a test drive,” Turley advised imagineer.me. “Often the HR department doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Go to them with a test drive for corporate learning. Partner with your competitors, bring them all in for a corporate learning day to get on the corporate radar. Package it around the start of the financial year when they have the budget. Steal from the freemium model if you have to and get them to upgrade.”

Meanwhile, how do you motivate sales people that have already hit their monthly targets? That was the issue flagged by Platinum Direct Finance. “The pay cheque is not enough, you have to make it personal, so what about giving them time off to spend with friends and family when they exceed budgets,” Maggs mooted.

But that wasn't uncomfortable enough.

“What about every day they sit still you take money off them? Maybe that would piss them off too much, so we pared it back a bit. Make the budgets weekly, not monthly, then everyone gets a chance to feel like a winner every week.”

The inspiration for the Uncomfortable event came from t-shirt guru Johnny Cupcakes, who spoke at Vivid last year. Cupcakes does strictly time-limited deals on his shirts and was once offered $2,000 in the afternoon for a $40 shirt that had to be bought by 10am. He refused to sell it.

Fittingly, Adam Ross delivered a solution for t-shirt brand Two Stars Aligned looking to retain cult status and drive exposure.

“How are you living your values? Life can only be enjoyed with someone else, so where does the brand go? Put half a message into the T-shirts which forces people to find the other half of the message. They upload their message to social media and hunt the other half. When they find their match, they unlock a limited edition, money can't buy shirt.”

With Mindshare bowing out after taking inspiration from Cupcakes, Ross finished by asking who was going to make themselves uncomfortable at the bar next year.

Will any other agencies put their hand up?

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