Small and medium-sized business (SMB) is something of a catch-all term these days. It includes one-employee startups all the way to companies with up to 1,000 employees and everything in between. They’re found in every industry, and encompass both product and service-based businesses. Because of this, marketing to SMBs can be extremely difficult.
Notwithstanding these challenges, this is a sector that B2B marketers can’t afford to ignore.
Small businesses generally suffer from a shortage of staff, meaning they need software and tools to streamline their workflows and make life easier on the employees they do have. In 2020, approximately one-third of SMBs spent at least $1.2 million dollars on software-as-a-service (SaaS). They’re looking for your product; they just might not know it yet.
Don’t put SMBs in a box
A lot of SMBs don’t think of themselves in this way. The definitions, which tend to be arbitrary, are almost as varied as the businesses themselves. Some say that businesses with up to 500 employees are SMBs, while others extend that to businesses with up to 1,000. Still more definitions base the distinction on a company’s annual revenue. With so much nuance surrounding what actually constitutes an SMB, you can’t assume a business considers itself one when you’re marketing to it.
Additionally, some businesses do consider themselves an SMB, but they don’t want to remain one. Things like scalability are important to them, and you’ll need to show how your product meets that goal. However, some businesses are happy in their niche and don’t want to grow. Often, these are one-person-shows or partnerships that have already reached their limit in terms of business they can handle on their own. These organizations don’t have the same goals as others, and you can’t assume that each business wants the same things.
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Focus your marketing on SMB pain points
SMB pain points go beyond budgets. Almost every business struggles to get budget approval for the software they need, so you need to look at the actual pain points plaguing small businesses and address them in your marketing.
Generalist roles and smaller teams
IT specialists are expensive and hard to come by, especially due to the rampant burnout in the tech industry. Because of this shortage, software has to be easy to use right out of the box. It can’t require a lot of customization, or SMBs will be frustrated when they don’t have the IT staff needed to make it work properly. Additionally, these businesses often prefer cloud-based platforms (SaaS) since they won’t have to handle the maintenance.
SMBs that want to grow need software that can scale with them. They don’t want to deploy and train their people on software if they’re just going to have to trash it and learn a new one in a year. If you don’t already, consider providing different tiers of features and support for your product, so SMBs can start out with a smaller package and then upgrade as their needs change. You should also consider per-user licensing rather than capping the number of licenses a business can purchase.
SMBs are going to have questions about what your service will mean for their business. How will your product make sales, marketing, or serving customers easier? How will it help control costs? How will it help the business grow by scaling operations? You need to have answers to these questions ready and focus on the value add your product provides.
Remote teams need the ability to collaborate easily, which is one of the reasons SaaS tools are so popular. Showcase the ways your service makes this collaboration easier. For example, can coworkers edit a single document simultaneously in real-time? Or are there instant messaging features to help them communicate more effectively? There are dozens of ways to help teams collaborate better, and you need to determine which ones your product covers.
SMBs also tend to have smaller teams, and they need to optimize workflows as much as possible to maximize their time. Automation gives SMBs more time back in their day and allows them to focus on tasks that actually require their attention. Highlight the parts of your tool that are automated or that can automate some of the tasks the SMB is currently doing manually.
How can you help streamline their workflow to make processes easier or faster? Time is money, and SMBs are typically short on both.
Pay attention to industry requirements
Some SMBs literally exist to serve larger organizations, and some see serving larger organizations as the recipe for growth. Either way, they need to meet the requirements of those businesses, which means adhering to the same security and compliance standards as if they’re in healthcare, financial services, government, or similar industries. Get familiar with the regulations your target SMBs are facing and explain how your product helps keep them compliant.
Put emphasis on results
The best way to market to SMBs is to talk about the results they’ll see with your product. Will it save them time or lower their operating costs? Is it cheaper or more functional than a tool they’re currently using? If you can, bring ROI into the conversation and show how your tool will pay for itself. Don’t just assume you know what’s best for them. Let the SMBs tell you what they need, and then show them how your product meets that need.
If you’re having trouble effectively marketing to SMBs, the experts at TechnologyAdvice can help. We offer a variety of marketing programs, including lead generation, content creation and digital advertising solutions. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your business.