B2B marketers are finding that sometimes it pays to think small – small business, that is. For years we’ve seen the value for our customers in reaching SMBs through our quality contact data. And recently, we’ve seen great success with targeting the SOHO market, a term for companies with 1-10 people working in Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) environments. This includes home-based businesses, small offices, coworking spaces and virtual offices, in which all team members work remotely.
Many of the same rules for targeting SMBs apply, however, there are some distinctions. SOHOs may be small in size, but doing business with them can lead to big gains for B2B marketers. Here are 5 things you should know about reaching these valuable B2B targets.
SOHO businesses are often considered the smallest of small businesses, but there are more than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. and roughly 50% of them are home-based. The sheer volume of this group makes it worth looking into whether they may be a valuable market for your organization.
Some SOHOs may be new or growing businesses, but others are small in size for a choice. Just because they’re small in terms of number of employees and the physical space they occupy, doesn’t mean they’re not successful, lucrative, and have some of the same business needs as larger organizations.
Many lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, financial advisors, other professional services and consultants, as well as smaller tech firms, fall under the SOHO category. Recent figures show that 70% of information businesses and 65% of professional, scientific, and technical services organizations operate out of the home. It’s common for SOHOs to choose a smaller footprint and lower operating costs to maximize their profit. With technology advances and digital transformation, it’s easier now more than ever to operate virtually. They may not represent enterprise-level deals, but they do provide a valuable target market for many B2B businesses.
Successful SOHOs run a sharp game. They’ve organized their business to maximize efficiency and are looking for suppliers that deliver solutions to build upon that. There’s usually less red tape and a shorter sales cycle because they’re smaller – and they don’t have the time or resources to waste on a long, complicated sales process. Show them the value you can deliver and be sure to communicate it early. Be clear on how other similar customers have benefited with increased revenue, awareness, site visits, decreased processing time, or other tangible results.
Keep in mind that with their smaller size they may not need all the bells and whistles. A range of price points and options can be essential to keeping the sales process moving and coming to a mutually beneficial arrangement. Starting too high could halt the conversation altogether and lead you to strikeout.
SOHO owners and decision-makers wear many hats within the business – IT, marketing, operations, finance, etc. They rely on vendors and suppliers to come alongside in their respective areas and fill the gaps. Take a consultative approach, offering education and information to support them and coach them about your solution and how it will integrate long term. Price is important, but so is the value you’ll deliver through the engagement process and beyond.
Successful SOHOs have already shown staying power in competing against larger organizations. With lower overhead, they often have more flexibility to weather trials and come back strong, something businesses of all sizes are having to work through during this pandemic. Additionally, some larger businesses are facing a learning curve to adjust to working from home, but many SOHOs have already established routines for doing business remotely.
It's important to remember, today’s SOHO business can be tomorrow’s juggernaut. Google was started out of a garage. Facebook was started in a dorm room. By getting in early with these smaller organizations, you have the opportunity to establish a long and fruitful relationship.
At the same time, as a recent McKinsey report points out, no one is “immune to the pandemic’s effects.” In some sectors, it’s estimated that more than 25% of small businesses will be forced to permanently close, and those with more financial risk and in more impacted sectors will face steeper negative outcomes. It’s important for those businesses, and all of us, to “keep marketing to improve chances of recovering well out of an economic downturn,” according to Forrester.
Similar to targeting SMBs, reaching SOHO businesses can be difficult. With a limited number of employees and physical space, it’s almost guaranteed that owners or senior employees will hold responsibility for multiple areas, so it can be challenging to pinpoint the right person within the organization to target. And there’s also the issue of finding the correct email address, as it’s not uncommon for SOHOs to change email addresses more frequently or use a public domain instead of a corporate one (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org).
At OMI, we are one of the few data providers to focus on the SOHO market with a specific database to reach these valuable targets. Our verified, quality contact data represents a range of industries, demographics, and regions. And as with all our data, it’s backed by a 30-day, 95% validity guarantee.
Like any new target, you’ll need to find the right strategy to effectively connect with this market, make an impact, and slide into new business opportunities. Feel free to reach out to us for our insights on what works best with SOHOs.
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.