Factoring expertise was decisive for niche player Eurofactor
Eurofactor’s core activities are factoring services, which mainly consist of financing the customers’ outstanding invoices. As an extension of this it offers two additional services, namely credit insurance so that the customer can be confident of invoices being paid whatever happens, together with debtor management including debt collection.
“These are our only activities. Most factoring companies on the Belgian market are connected with a local bank, whereas we are part of the foreign banking group Crédit Agricole which does not offer universal banking services in Belgium. We can therefore position ourselves on the Belgian factoring landscape as an independent factoring company.”
Eurofactor is what is known as a challenger on the market, since all its competitors form part of a large local bank, whereas it can offer its customers/companies financing services that are completely separate from other banking services.
“Our customer base is very wide, but we aim at companies with a minimum turnover of 3 million euros per year. We finance the uncontestable amount of invoices payable from the moment of delivery, for which we charge a fee. This enables the companies to grant longer payment periods of 60 to 90 days while at the same moment paying their own suppliers on time, or even sooner in return for a small discount.”
Wanted: expertise and immediate availability
“Our independence from the banks has the disadvantage that our customers don’t come directly to us from other banking operations. We do get some customers via Crédit Agricole’s European network, but on the Belgian market there are very few customers coming to us automatically. This means that all members of our seven-person team also have a marketing function, concentrating either on actively prospecting for new customers, or on managing existing accounts and customers, which also has a marketing side. Furthermore we are a small team, so there is very little space and time for someone to settle in gradually. The people we are looking for therefore need to be already at home in our world and able to start immediately. In practice this means that we have to recruit people with sufficient basic knowledge of credit operations to start working with us. That’s not so easy, because a big bank offers more security and career prospects for someone with the right qualifications, better than a niche player with a fairly limited local team, especially when it comes to international growth prospects.”
Niche recruiter with feeling
About a year ago Stalpaert went in search of an account manager through the conventional channels, but the qualifications he found weren’t suitable so he turned to Greenshoe Talent instead.
“I think Greenshoe Talent is the only recruiter with experience in factoring, which is a considerable advantage. Most of them are familiar with the banking sector, but in a general way, while our niche is very specialised.
Erik’s strength is that he can feel directly whether a certain person will fit in with our team. Of course there were lots of preliminary discussions between us, and he is very sensitive to our corporate culture. He knows that we were looking for someone with entrepreneurial spirit, a self-starter who is dynamic and proactive. Someone who can work very independently and organise their own job.
His search was by no means easy. Since we were looking for someone with experience he had to find that person within the traditional banking world, which has a very different corporate culture. But he doesn’t give up, which is something I appreciate. It took quite a while before we found somebody, but it was worth the wait. Better that than find someone who leaves after a year because they don’t fit in, despite all the effort.”
The full option
“Greenshoe Talent has an impressive network of potential candidates. We went over the list together in order to see which people he would contact personally. Because the personal aspect is his strength. It would be easy enough to find people with the right qualifications on LinkedIn and then send them a message asking whether they would be interested, but that’s not how Erik works. He talks with the candidates in depth and detail, asking very precise questions and sounding out whether there is real interest in contacting us.
The preparations and the communication are also very thorough. Erik keeps us constantly informed about who he is in contact with and how things are going, and whenever he interviews a candidate he draws up an extensive report before presenting them to us.
He also monitors the entire process: after each interview he contacts not only us but also the candidate to hear how it went. We even included him in the contract negotiations so that he could defend our contract proposal to the candidate, including the career prospects.
One perhaps peripheral advantage which is nevertheless important to us is that he speaks fluent German. Eurofactor Belgium depends on the central services of Eurofactor GmbH in Munich, and so Erik had to manage all the administrative arrangements with the HR department at the German head office. With his typical Gründlichkeit that all went perfectly.
This was our first collaboration with him and I am very satisfied. The advantage of it being such a long process is that we got to know each other very well. So next time we have a vacancy we’ll certainly think of him.”