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Hiring Advice Attracting candidates 5 tips for SMEs to hire a good sales talent
5 tips for SMEs to hire a good sales talent

5 tips for SMEs to hire a good sales talent

It is a known fact that organisations face stiff competition in hiring the best sales representatives. Every organisation (including SMEs) wants to hire top talents, but at the same time, every top talent wants to work for top organisations. Unless your organisation has the weight of the likes of Facebook or Google, chances are, you will have to plan for a good talent acquisition strategy.

But how do small businesses compete with top corporations? Being small does not mean that you are at a disadvantaged. SMEs can employ unique strategies to attract top sales representatives.

1. Know your SWOT

We have written on SWOT analysis before, and here is where SMEs can benefit from knowing the strengths and opportunities in their organisations and those of competitors.

SMEs tend to be more flatly structured and therefore, are able to provide more areas of growth for candidates to explore. Sales target may be lower in SMEs, and have lower concentration of experienced / top sales representatives, giving opportunities to candidates to excel. Being nimble allows SMEs to quickly tap onto niche markets or upcoming opportunities that may not yet be of interest to bigger corporations, thereby attracting top talents skilled in such areas to SMEs. Knowing your organisation’s strengths and opportunities increase the value proposition when hiring.

2. Be proactive

SMEs are expected to be relatively unknown, and therefore, must be more proactive in recruitment. Do not wait to receive resumes or applications. Instead, venture out into the field where these top talents can be found. Keeping a database of available candidates who fit the organisation’s profile will be handy here.

Visiting places where top talents hang out, attend networking events or even perform sales pitches will enhance the oversight of these talents and expand the selection of candidates. Speak to them, get to know them and if they feel right, ask for their resumes. It would catch the attention of candidates if they know that there are organisations actively looking for their skills.

3. Target top corporation leavers but be selective

There is no shame in hiring ex-employees of big corporations. There is already some credential by virtue of being from big corporations. However, this is not to say that every ex-employee from big corporations is a top employee.

HR professionals, with the help of sales managers, have to be selective; perform due diligence / background checks (legal ones, please), verify their experience and sales strategies through creative interviews, reasons for leaving their previous employment, and make sure they are the right fit for your organisation. Doing so will limit the risk of hiring a “drop-out” instead of a leaver.

4. Unique compensation

SMEs have the advantage of being able to carve out non-standard compensation packages and are more open to one-on-one negotiations. Try creating unique remuneration to attract top talents but at the same time, stray from focusing too much on sales targets and commission because these are exactly what other corporations will be offering.

In line with the previous tip on being selective, organisations would want to consider candidates who possess traits that matches the organisational culture. As HR professionals would have found and verified the reasons candidates leave their previous positions, this would ease the creation of compensation packages that are attractive to top talents who match the organisation’s needs.

5. Unique perks

As they are more flexible in nature, SMEs are also able to tailor unique perks for sales candidates. Perhaps an extra day’s off per fortnight or month would help ease the stress of travel-weary sales representatives. Maybe top talents, especially those from the younger generation, could be enticed with perks that promote work-life balance and work flexibility. Understand that the market, as demographics change, is gradually shifting away from “great compensation only” corporations. SMEs can use these as an advantage over more rigid corporations.

SMEs often are perceived as being at a disadvantaged over bigger organisations when it comes to talent acquisition. But changing demographics, along with industry trends and market demands, have made the playing field more level than ever before. There is more to gain by trying different talent acquisition strategies than being resigned to accepting candidates who did not make the cut at top corporations.

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