When it comes to targeting small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it helps to understand how these companies are growing, their plans for the near future and where they are making their investments. Through content and communications that support SMB growth initiatives, businesses can better connect with their SMB prospects and, ultimately, be viewed as partners in enabling their success.
A new report, “Customer Growth: Decisions for the SMB CEO” by Vistage Worldwide and Salesforce, spotlights how high-performing SMBs are achieving their growth goals today. The report also provides these valuable insights and takeaways for those businesses that market to SMB decision makers:
1.Multiple growth strategies: High-growth SMBs (defined as organizations with double-digit growth not only this year, but also expected for next year) are more likely to diversify their expansion strategies to maintain their growth in the coming year. Their growth plans may include retaining and expanding their existing customer base, serving new markets and customers, creating operational efficiencies to scale growth, introducing new products, and growing their salesforce. The report says these high-growth businesses are also more likely to have dedicated leaders for marketing, sales and service.
Takeaway for marketers: Rapidly growing SMBs are using all their capabilities – firing on all cylinders – to serve existing customers and attract new ones. Marketers who communicate how their solutions or services support these myriad growth strategies should receive positive response to them.
2.Getting new customers: High-growth businesses rely more on new customers to fuel revenue growth, and report a higher percentage of revenue from new customers compared to existing customers. As a result, they are more likely to aggressively pursue new customer initiatives. As new customers can be difficult to get, success requires effective marketing and sales competencies – as well as effective leadership and technology.
Takeaway for marketers: Marketers who can show (or better yet prove) how their solutions or services support SMB strategies for customer acquisition should generate enthusiastic support from executive influencers and decision-makers during the buying process.
3.Investing for growth: The top three drivers for high-growth SMB investment are talent (especially customer-facing staff), training (creating competencies that improve employee effectiveness) and technology (for communications, applications and data). In addition, high-growth SMBs place a greater emphasis on leadership and effectively leverage technology to drive growth initiatives. Hiring enables SMBs to engage with more customers, training and developing serve to improve the quality of customer interaction, and technology optimizes customer engagement.
Takeaway for marketers: Marketers should communicate how their products or services support these areas of investment, and should provide examples and case studies demonstrating how their SMB customers have already benefitted. Showing how investments in your solutions create value for other like-minded SMB customers should be music to the ears of these prospects.
4.Digital transformation: High-growth SMBs are more likely to not only invest in technology, but will also select packaged applications rather than a homegrown solution. In other words, as small businesses grow, purpose-built applications more effectively support customer engagement, as compared to the time and expense of self-built solutions. As a company’s customer base grows, the size and scale of their data management requirements also grows, making a higher-powered, fully functional solution more suited to their needs. High-growth businesses leverage purpose-built applications to optimize their customer interactions, which can allow them to leapfrog their competition.
Takeaway for marketers: Marketers should communicate how their solutions offer an end-to-end solution without the need for additional pieces or capabilities – and generate a demonstrable ROI right away. In addition, marketers should go beyond describing how their solutions meet an administrative need to illustrate how their technology enables and delivers a sustainable competitive advantage.
By aligning campaign messages with SMB growth strategies – showing how your offerings support their initiatives and providing abundant examples and proof points from other SMB customers – you can generate positive campaign responses and be viewed as an integral growth enabler and partner. How would you rate your strategies for targeting SMBs?
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