SMB is the New Black

  • August 2010
  • Posted By Janet Muto

Janet MutoBy Janet Muto

Ten years ago, anyone who was anyone in B2B (except of course for Intuit) developed their products and services for the enterprise market.  Selling to the Fortune 100 was the top goal – and everyone else was “training” on smaller accounts – generally anything from 500 employees or less.  

What a difference a decade makes: the recovery from the dot-com bubble burst was fueled by small businesses who, while not individually large purchasers, offered an incredible opportunity to companies who figured this out.

Doubtful?  Take a look at these numbers….

  • ABI Research pegs the worldwide market to reach 330 million SMBs by 2014.
  • Globally SMBs account for 99% of business numbers and 40 – 50% of GDP (Wikipedia)
  • Research and anecdotal evidence points to SMBs driving innovation and competition in many markets (Wikipedia).

Looking more deeply into trends in the SMB market, and one discovers we’re entering a “perfect storm” for selling – especially SaaS software – into the SMB market.  For example:

  • IDC reports the SaaS market will be $40.5 billion by 2014.
  • AMI Partners predicts triple percentage growth of SMB’s use of SaaS
  • AMI Partners also find SMB investments in SaaS applications will grow to 18% CAGR over the next five years.

So, it isn’t surprising that over the last 2-3 years, SMB has become the new black (guys, If you don’t get this…don’t worry).   But, and there is a big but, selling to SMBs is more than just putting up a website and declaring your product or service is an SMB solution.   Too often I’ve seen companies try to sell their enterprise products and services “down market” by offering a lesser set of features at a lower price and keeping all else the same.  Not surprisingly, their sales are not what they planned.   Hmmmm.

What do you need to do to succeed in the SMB market?  I’ve compiled my Top 10 Tips for Successfully Reaching SMBs.

  1. Lose the “Aeron Chairs”
  2. Don’t play acronym “bingo”
  3. Make them smarter, but white papers…. “fugetaboutit!”
  4. Low touch is NOT no touch
  5. Creative clumping: avoid “cookie cutter” segmentation
  6. Simplifying is like exercising – do it every day!
  7. Networking is the SMB lifeline…social or otherwise
  8. Small businesses are local businesses
  9. Why “time and money” is not cliché
  10. No one wears just one hat

Bonus – Keep it real!  Concepts need not apply.

If you follow these simple rules, you’ll find that selling to small and mid-sized businesses is tremendously rewarding and uplifting and can have big impact on your bottom line.

Curious about these tips?  Check back on our blog as we explain and expound on them.

— Janet



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