A number of my clients are small to medium sized businesses.  One thing many of them tell me is that it’s challenging to compete with the big dogs such as Salesforce, Oracle, Amazon, and Google when it comes to hiring top sales talent. Not only do these large companies have strong reputations, but they also have the resources to pay large salaries and provide great benefits to their employees.
When my clients have a candidate that is also interviewing with one of these large corporations, I make sure they know that bigger isn’t better.  Here’s what I recommend in order to compete with these types of companies:


1.) Emphasize Your Strengths
Despite what you may be thinking, there are some major advantages of being at a smaller company. Employees are not just a number, or a tiny cog in the wheel. There’s less red tape and you’re typically less micromanaged. Additionally, new team members often get to call on larger accounts, have a larger territory, and make a real impact at the company.
Don’t fall into the trap of negative thoughts and feel like you’re not as good as some of these larger companies.  You’re just different, and there is real power in accepting that fact that there are advantages of working for you over them.
2.) Show Them You Want Them
When I work with candidates that are going through the hiring process with some of the larger companies out there, I regularly get feedback like, “I’ve been in the interview process for 6 weeks, and they keep making me jump through unnecessary hoops. There’s an arrogance about them like they think I should feel privileged just to interview with them.”
Take the opposite route. Show your candidates that you really want them by expressing this and emailing them regularly. Always remain humble and let them know how excited you would be to have them as a part of your team.
3.) Offer Non-Monetary Benefits
Face the fact that you’re never going to be able to provide better benefits than a Fortune 500 company. The question needs to be, what else can you give that won’t cost you additional money?
These benefits could include things like flexibility to work at home 1-2 days a week, or unlimited paid vacation. Think outside the box and try to offer something that is valuable in a different sense of the word.
4.) Find Out What They Want
As a salesperson, one of the first lessons we learn is to find the pain point. This same approach should be taken with every candidate that you’re interviewing.
Explore what they want in a company they are working for. Based on the information you uncover in their responses, you can explain why your company aligns with what you believe they are seeking in an employer.
5.) Show Them A Path
There are a few ways to show your candidate a clear path. This could include the potential to make strong commissions, or the ability to move to a higher position. It is important to provide concrete details in this regard instead of theory when speaking with candidates.
As an example, saying “We expect you to make $100,000 and there’s rapid room for advancement,” means nothing to most candidates.  Most candidates see this as an empty promise and almost every company says something similar.
Instead, try saying, “Last year, we had 10 people in this role and 7 made $100,000 or above. I promoted 2 to Sales Manager, and 3 to Enterprise Sales Representatives.  These 5 individuals will make $150,000-$175,000 next year.”
There are definite ways to remain competitive when looking to outmaneuver large companies and hire top sales talent if you’re a smaller company.  If you just remember these 5 things, you’ll be way ahead of the game and these larger companies will be scratching their heads saying, “How are we losing all of our great candidates to a company a fraction the size of ours?”
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