HR and Sales – Similarities

Mar 8, 2016

Interview with Arnaud Chabielski, Member of the Advisory Board of Pleinert & Partner, conducted by Dr. Helena Pleinert.


Q: You have extensive experience in sales as well as HR - where do you see similarities between these two areas?

A: I see my B2B Sales and Business Development role very close to being a coach. Even as I am dealing with companies, at the end of the day, I am dealing with people with expectations and emotions; therefore the process of understanding my client needs to take into account the objective facts but as well the subjective elements. As a consequence, my role is a lot about asking questions, putting myself into the shoes of the other person and understanding what is at stake for them.

Q: Recruiting is one of the most visible areas of HR, with possibly the highest sense of urgency - can it be compared to sales?

A: Indeed, best practice for companies is to manage Talent Acquisition the exact same way as we manage B2B client acquisition: with a funnel to manage, from defining your territory to prospecting and cold calling to closing and signing a contract. Also, at an individual level, the recruiter has to understand what the motivations of the candidate are; and as in B2B Sales; you have to do this in a very competitive environment and at a fast moving pace!

Q: If recruiting is like 'sales', the other areas of HR could be seen as 'delivery' - what are your thoughts?

A: Indeed, recruiting and selling is only the first piece of the puzzle you are building with your Client/ Candidate. Then you need to deliver what you promised and this is where and when you create the long-term trust and relationship. The same applies in HR and in Sales: in HR, what is at stake, at the end of the road, is the retention, engagement of the employee and the employer brand. In B2B sales, it is the loyalty of your client and his willingness to testify to other clients.

Q: What is your passion in professional life, i.e. your vocation?

A: I like to understand complex situations involving People and Process at an Organizational level and advise clients in the implementation of solutions that make People and Organizations more performant. When I was an independent Consultant, the company I created was called Engagement & Performance, these two aspects are important for me: how we leverage the People aspect to achieve efficiency and performance at an Individual, team and company level.