While it’s tempting to focus your marketing efforts on large accounts -- with the hope of closing a lucrative deal -- many B2B marketers have realized the value of targeting small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to reach their business goals and generate reliable revenue for the long haul. They may be small businesses, but the power of numbers makes them mighty. SMBs comprise more than 99% of all businesses and their smaller size usually means less red tape with a shorter sales cycle. While there are more than 30 million SMBs in the U.S., identifying and connecting with the right prospects has its own challenges.
To grow your SMB customer base, you’ll need the right data to reach them and the right sales strategy to convert them. Here are four tips, from my experience, for successfully landing SMBs:
As SMBs typically change personnel and email addresses more frequently than larger companies, it can be difficult to acquire accurate contact data for this target market. SMB organizational structures are often vastly different from larger companies. It’s not uncommon for owners or senior employees to hold responsibility for multiple areas. When you do finally determine the correct person within the organization to target, another challenge is finding the correct email address since many SMBs still rely on Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and other public domains instead of a corporate one (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
Your best bet is to work with a reputable data provider who specializes in SMB contacts and keeps it up-to-date with routine data cleansing. For example, at OMI we view data as a Living FileTM that needs to be regularly maintained and updated. Our SMB prospect data includes more than 40 million qualified decision-makers and has a 95% email validity guarantee for 30 days. Once you’ve had some success converting SMB accounts, you can use that data to reach additional similar SMBs through audience mirroring.
Emerging technologies are making email even more effective for marketers (it’s no wonder it still delivers the strongest ROI). From my experience, at the top of the list is intent monitoring, which captures and analyzes buyers’ online activities to uncover purchase intent signals that can be used to improve email effectiveness, as well as other marketing channels. If marketing is reaching the right person at the right time with the right message, then intent monitoring solves the “at the right time” portion of that equation and data providers like OMI solve the “right person” portion.
By combining intent data with targeted SMB contact data, B2B marketers can take email and other campaigns to the next level. I’ve seen it used to significantly bolster campaign results to drive stronger ROI to save clients time and money.
Despite their smaller size and more limited resources, price is not the most important element for most SMBs in choosing a vendor, according to a recent Salesforce report. Strong relationships are important -- they are looking for vendors who understand their business needs and demonstrate genuine interest. Salesforce reports 85% of SMB leaders value trust above all else in their relationship with vendors. Of course, price still matters (it’s “extremely” or “very” important to 61%), but by focusing on the relationship and building trust you can also compete on the value you deliver and what sets you apart.
SMB leaders are often spread thin and wear many hats within the business, making their time scarce and valuable. Fifty-nine percent have difficulty implementing and rolling out new technology (Salesforce). As you engage with SMB prospects, be ready to guide them and provide a consultative approach to providing the best solution for their business. Create content that addresses specific pain points you can solve, especially since reports indicate B2B consumers consult an average of 13 pieces of content before deciding on a vendor. Through targeted content and one-to-one conversations, you can provide a deeper understanding of their challenges and offer potential solutions for the best business outcome.
SMB accounts offer the opportunity for sustainable revenue and often a quicker turn-around, so once you do convert them you can focus your efforts on new prospects. Plus, landing an SMB account today can result in years of consistent revenue -- and the potential for significant account growth as the SMB grows and evolves. We all start somewhere, so don’t overlook this important, but hard-to-target market. It’s worth the effort. Contact us today to learn more about how the right data can make all the difference.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.