If your traditional market is enterprise customers, extending your reach to smaller businesses can be an attractive proposition. But many tech vendors struggle to make the transition. In this blog post we take a look at the challenges in selling to smaller businesses and how to be successful.
What’s different in SMBs?
- The decision making process in smaller businesses can be much shorter. When problems arise, they need to be solved quickly.
- Decision making groups will be smaller – and you may be dealing with generalists rather than specialists.
- Budgets may be less rigid, but all expenditure must be justifiable in helping the business to achieve its objectives.
- There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to smaller businesses. They don’t all fit the same pattern and will be at different stages of development.
What should marketers do to adapt?
1. Ensure your offering is right for the market
If your product is perceived as high end and complex, you may need to re-position and offer a smaller simpler version.
2. Offer a whole product
An SMB audience may have less time and less technical expertise in house, so you will need to provide the support needed to fill the gap. That might be through on-line help, a getting started guide or another support mechanism.
3. Use the right language
You may be selling to a less technical audience, so lose the jargon (it's best practice anyway) and be direct. It’s not about dumbing it down – simple, direct language works best.
4. Make yourself easy to buy from
Offer a free trial or low cost entry point. With a faster buying process, the buyer may be more willing to make an early commitment.
5. Mitigate risk
Free trials or money back guarantees may be appropriate. Offering a free month if your solution is based on a SaaS model can help you sign up new customers.
6. Make your messaging relevant
Consider the scenarios or pain points specific to a smaller business user. Talk specifically to those points and use relevant keywords in your marketing. Make it easy for the small business person to recognise themselves in your messaging.
7. Create content that is visual and highly engaging
You may want to appeal to a broader audience as deal sizes are likely to be smaller. Attract attention and then offer them an easy way to access higher value content.
8. Use targeted promotion
Use owned, earned and paid media social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook to promote your message. Share the visual ‘on message’ content like videos and memes that you have created with a relevant target audience.
9. Create a hub
Consider creating a hub or landing page specifically for the SMB audience, especially if your messaging is significantly different to your enterprise offering. Provide a relevant call to action for that audience.
10. Provide validation and examples
Having a reference from Barclays is great, but SMB buyers also want to see testimonials and results from people like them. Make this content really clear and focus on tangible success stories.
One final thought – today’s smaller business can be tomorrow’s enterprises, so offering a path forward for organisations on the upward growth curve is important. You don’t want to lose the credibility that comes with being an enterprise vendor with a blue chip client base. If nurtured carefully, smaller businesses can provide a fruitful prospect base for tomorrow’s enterprise customers.