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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2020-11-05

Small businesses have been called the “backbone of the economy” and it’s easy to understand why: there are more than 30 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) in the U.S. and they’ve generated more than 60% of all jobs in the last 20 years. Many B2B marketers have realized the value of targeting SMBs to reach their business goals and generate reliable revenue for the long haul. But selling to SMBs in our current economic landscape has new challenges, as they’ve taken the brunt of the effects of the pandemic.


At OMI, we’ve focused on this valuable market for years and built one of the largest SMB databases of more than 40 million contacts. While a lot has changed in the past few months, many of the same strategies for reaching SMBs remain the same. From my perspective, here’s what B2B marketers need to know about selling to SMBs now and in the coming year.


  1. Good data is key in the changing market.


SMBs typically change personnel and email addresses more frequently and their organizational structures are vastly different than larger companies. Additionally, they often rely on public email domains instead of a corporate domain. All of these factors make it difficult to acquire accurate contact data, and it’s been exasperated by today’s economic climate. The sad reality is that many small businesses have had to lay off workers, reduce operations or close completely. For those that have managed to stay open, many have staff working from home, which also presents unique challenges in tracking their digital behavior or in connecting with them to sell your product or service.


To successfully target SMBs – especially now – you need quality third-party contact data that can keep up with these rapid changes. Look for a provider with a database large enough to reach a variety of contacts and one that is updated with routine data cleansing. That way you know your campaigns are reaching a relevant audience of valid contacts at active businesses. For example, at OMI our SMB prospect data includes more than 40 million qualified decision-makers and has a 95% email validity guarantee for 30 days.


  1. Many SMBs are struggling, but some are growing.  


According to a recent report, 45% of small businesses are earning less than half of their regular revenue and U.S. Census Bureau survey data shows that 75% of SMBs have seen a significant or moderate negative impact. But a recent article notes that new restaurant and food-business openings compared favorably to 2019 (“pre-pandemic levels”), despite the difficult circumstances the foodservice industry has faced. Overall, SMBs are undergoing many changes, from downsizing staff and limiting their hours, to taking on new health and safety procedures.


  1. SMBs have new and changing needs.

Many businesses are operating very differently than they were this time last year, resulting in new pain points that need solutions. There may be new prospect segments that could benefit from what you offer. One of the best ways to identify those groups is through intent monitoring, which enables marketers to target SMB prospects who are looking for similar solutions and identify those that are in-market.


  1. Their time and resources are even more limited. 


It’s common for SMBs to prioritize efficiency in the decision-making process and it’s often considered a benefit for sellers: they typically have less red tape and a shorter sales cycle. Today, many are operating on even tighter margins, and there’s a sense of urgency to be more efficient, close more sales, save money and create sustainable practices in a changing economy. Most SMBs don’t have the time or resources to waste on a long, complicated sales process or purchases that won’t see benefits in the near future. B2B marketers should focus on the specific value add their solution offers. Position your campaigns around those immediate needs and be specific when it comes to the benefits you can deliver and how other similar customers have benefited. 


Despite difficulties, new small businesses are still opening, new contacts are being hired, and new business needs are arising. This means the opportunity is there to tap into this market if you can reach and target them with the right strategy.  


Our team at OMI is ready to support you in growing your business with new SMB prospects. Contact us today for more information.



Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Read about our innovative approach to ABM account targeting here.

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