When a position opens up, small business leaders begin the hunt for a candidate who’s not only qualified — but also savvy, innovative, and knowledgeable across many different areas. Since these small yet resourceful companies don’t have the same staggering recruiting budgets as large corporations, it can be more challenging to find the perfect fit. Equally as important as unearthing a small business superstar is the ability to retain that individual, especially in such a competitive job market.

Here are five steps to finding and keeping the best talent, supported by stats from Salesforce’s recently published “Benchmarks for Small Business Growth” research report:


1. Look for out-of-the box thinkers.


We’re in an era of constant innovation. Larger companies are being disrupted by smaller companies every day. Successful small businesses are able to use their size to their advantage, reacting more quickly to big ideas, while also keeping budgets tight. The perfect small business employee is a quick and creative thinker who is able to stretch budget and stay competitive by being innovative and thinking on his or her feet.


2. Seek early tech adopters.


Digital transformation is driving most, if not all, of the innovation we are experiencing. Mobile, social, and cloud are now all common-place terms. Make sure your candidate is ahead of the technology curve. According to the “Benchmarks for Small Business Growth” report, top-performing sales and service teams are more likely than underperformers to be heavy tech adopters. A successful small business team is proactive about exploring and learning new technologies.

Don’t stop there — make sure to arm your new hire with the technology she or he needs to be successful. Two-thirds (65%) of IT leaders at small businesses say they currently empower business users to solve problems using technology tools.



3. Make sure they are data-driven.


In a world where big data is at our fingertips, successful companies make data-driven decisions by prioritizing a culture of analytics. Ask your candidates how comfortable she or he is with analytics tools and gauge how important the resulting insights are to their decision-making process. High-performing small business teams are 1.3x more likely to be using sales analytics, states the report.


4. Hire someone who will put your customers first. 


Customers are in the driver’s seat of today’s market — businesses that want to be successful need to prioritize their customers. High-performing small businesses are constantly finding new ways to engage with consumers. It’s important that your candidate prioritizes the customer experience and has knowledge of the different channels where your customers are interacting. The report finds that high-performing small business sales teams are 2.1x more likely than underperformers to actively create customer experiences across a wide range of touchpoints such as omni-channel sales interactions.


5. Prioritize post-hire satisfaction.


Finding a rockstar isn’t easy and it’s important not to lose them. The report finds that small businesses actually place a higher value on a happy workforce than enterprise companies do, especially when it comes to customer-facing positions like sales and service. When you find someone who knows how to delight your customers, is tech savvy, and is also a creative thinker, make sure you keep him or her engaged with the right training, development, and productivity tools. Over half (52%) of small businesses will increase their budgets for productivity apps over the next two years.

Since small businesses are unique, innovative, flexible, and budget-conscious, make sure you’re looking for a candidate who is the same. Your next small business superstar will be able to master all of the strategies that separate high performers from the rest — early tech adoption, data-driven decision making, and a customer-first mindset.