A recruiting lesson learned from marketing

Sangram Vajre and me at his InsideView presentation.
Sangram Vajre and me at his InsideView presentation.

I have said several times that HR can learn a lot from marketing, especially when it comes to clarity of message and branding, but I never thought about applying the concept of the sales funnel to the recruiting process at least not as I learned it yesterday while attending a session hosted by InsideView in San Francisco.

Account-based marketing lessons

Sangram Vajre is the Chief Marketing Officer and co-founder of Terminus, an Atlanta based marketing company. The specialize in ABM or account-based marketing. As Sangram explains the traditional method of marketing (and of recruiting) is to use the funnel model where we find as many potential customers and push them down the wide end of the funnel. In Sangram’s explanation this is the awareness stage. As they move down the narrowing funnel growing interest reduces the number of potential customers, further consideration reduces them even more and then those that make purchases is what comes out the very narrow end. According to Sangram less than 1% of leads turn into customers.
This is the same model that HR uses in recruiting, in fact, in the SHRM material the picture of the funnel appears in the sections about recruiting and demonstrates the same process of large numbers in the top and small numbers out the bottom. What if we could turn this upside down?


The people at Terminus have designed a process to flip the funnel. They suggest you develop an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and using that you identify potential accounts that you would like to target. So you are starting with a smaller number at the narrow end of the inverted funnel. You then expand their awareness of you and engage them through multiple social media channels, the ones that they are already using, and then working on making them advocates and customers.
You are probably saying “What is Haberman talking about?” I have not done a very good job of explaining this process. I am going to leave that to Sangram. I have a connection to his book below.
The purpose of this post is to get you thinking beyond the traditional recruiting funnel that almost all companies use. #FlipMyFunnel presents an alternative approach that may pay huge dividends in finding better candidates through this targeted approach. Take a look at Sangram’s book and see if a Chief Marketing Officer can teach you something about improving your recruiting process.

1 thought on “A recruiting lesson learned from marketing”

  1. Interesting take. Having worked in both marketing and HR and then working with HR consultants firsthand at KunbaHR (www.kunbaHR.com) an online HR Management solutions provider, I can certain understand the concept of channel marketing, lead generation, lead grooming and funnel process to filter out the non promising leads from the promising ones and then focus on them for the recruiting process.

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