In this article, we go over how to optimize your SMB sales process to get your dream SMB customer.
When it comes to business, it’s always good to shoot big.
The 10x rule is a great one to follow. But I have to admit — there are times when shooting big isn’t always the perfect course of action.
An enterprise-level client would be great…
But there’s nothing like partnering with small and medium-sized businesses to reach their growth goals.
And chances are — if you’re a B2B business, these SMBs are probably your ideal customers.
So how do you sell to SMBs? Let’s get into it.
- What is SMB sales?
- SMB vs. Enterprise Sales
- How to design an SMB sales process
- Common problems for SMB sales
- Transform your SMB sales process
What is SMB Sales?
SMB stands for Small & Medium-Sized Businesses.
According to the Small Business Association, there are currently around 31.7 million SMBs in America right now. That’s a lot of businesses, which means a lot of opportunities.
And this is great because, as we’ll discuss in this article, SMBs are excellent candidates to sell to.
What Size Does a Business Have to be Before It’s Considered an SMB?
The definition of SMB varies from organization to organization, which makes pinning down a precise definition pretty tricky.
With that being said, a broad, generally accepted definition for SMB is any business with fewer than 1000 employees (with small businesses usually sitting lower than 100).
Selling to SMBs is a whole different ballpark than selling to an enterprise-sized business for a multitude of reasons.
So before we get into the exact details of selling to SMBs, let’s cover the differences between enterprise and SMB sales (and whether or not one is better than the other).
SMB vs. Enterprise Sales — Know the Differences
There are two main different sizes of companies in the B2B world: SMB and enterprise.
Now, the question might be coming across your mind at this point:
“Why would I purposefully focus on smaller customers over the larger enterprise alternatives?”
And while it may seem counterintuitive at first, let’s touch on the benefits and drawbacks of SMB sales; that way, you can be fully informed before deciding which you want to go after.
Advantages of SMB Sales
- Less Bureaucracy, Shorter Sales Cycles
Selling to SMBs tends to be a faster cycle than selling to enterprise customers. This is primarily because larger companies have more loops to jump through and bureaucracy in between you and the sale.
- Dead End Prospects Don’t Hurt Your Bottom Line as Badly
I like to call this the “Eggs in One Basket” Syndrome.
When you work with enterprise customers, you’re often putting all of your eggs into one basket.
Enterprise sales are going to take a lot of effort…
And if the sale closes, that’s great!
But if it doesn’t, you’ve just lost out on a massive amount of revenue.
However, when working with SMBs, the risk is usually split up between many more prospects, so those chances of losing out on revenue are split much more evenly.
Disadvantages of SMB Sales
- You Need a Higher Customer Volume for Similar Enterprise Numbers
The downside of “splitting your eggs up” is that it means you’ll need a higher volume of customers to meet the same number as you’d get from closing an enterprise-level prospect. This means you’re putting in a bit of extra work to minimize your risk of losing out.
- Small Business Decision Makers are Generally More Cautious
Small business budgets are going to be lower than their enterprise counterparts. This means that any decision-maker in a small business needs to be more careful with where their budget goes.
After all, an error for an enterprise likely won’t hit its revenue as hard, whereas that same error could be a disaster for a much smaller business.
Designing an SMB Sales Process
Designing an SMB sales process and funnel revolves around a few things.
From understanding your customer (better than they understand themselves) to minimizing risk, let’s go over a list of things you can do to optimize your SMB sales process.
Understanding SMB Customers
There are a few things you and your reps need to understand before you start selling to SMBs.
First, as mentioned before, SMBs don’t have the budgets of enterprises. This means you’ll need to approach the selling process much differently.
While enterprise decision-makers may be willing to take some risks, SMB owners will want to minimize that risk. Remember that a misstep could spell a major setback.
The second is that many of your prospects will have never worked with a sales team before.
With enterprise clients, there’s a certain amount of familiarity you can expect; any sales team that approaches them isn’t going to be their first rodeo.
With a small business, though, it’s very likely that their sales and onboarding processes will be less organized. So it goes a long way to guide them through the process and do what you can to aid them.
Personal Interaction is All-Important
Personal interaction is effective for any form of sales, but this holds even more true for SMB sales.
Think about it:
If a decision-maker is already cautious of making any organization-wide investments, they’re going to need a lot of trust in you to go ahead with the decision.
And trust isn’t something you can build without a human touch.
Trust-building is nearly impossible to do without having real people involved. So always remember that SMB prospects often require much more personal interaction before they’ll feel comfortable enough to buy.
Which leads us to our next section:
How you can sell effectively to SMB customers.
Selling To SMB Customers
As I mentioned before (and I’ll probably mention again later in this post), selling to SMB customers is a different beast than selling to enterprise customers.
And as such, it’s got a unique list of challenges that come with it.
Let’s go over some of the main tips to help you sell more effectively to small and medium businesses.
Position Yourself as The Expert
When dealing with smaller companies, you (or your sales reps) are the problem solvers with the solution.
To sell effectively to SMBs, you need to position yourself as an expert in your field. You need to know your ideal customers’ problems inside and out, so when it comes time to sell, you know their company better than they do.
Another critical factor in presenting yourself as an expert in the field is your reputation.
So how do you show your prospect that you walk the talk?
Case studies, client testimonials, and perfectly-angled data.
Case studies will show that you can get results.
Client testimonials will prove that your clients trust you.
And perfectly-angled data can be used in sales to show why what you’re selling is so important.
Referral Business Is Key
84% of B2B transactions start with a referral.
You read that right; the vast majority of B2B starts off with recommendations from previous clients or prospects.
I was not surprised when I came across this data — it has been extremely accurate in my own discussions with B2B business owners. Direct and indirect marketing is great, but there’s nothing like an easy close with a referred prospect.
And that’s why it’s so crucial for you to encourage your customers to give referrals. Whether it’s through an affiliate system or just asking directly, referrals are critical in small business sales because of how much trust a referral can build.
If your strategy doesn’t include some way to facilitate referrals, you need to implement that right away. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity.
Scalable Solutions are More Preferable Than Large Packages
When you sell to enterprise customers, it’s much easier to offer large packages as they’ve got much higher budgets.
SMB customers, on the other hand, have limited budgets and capabilities to use those packages, which is why scalable solutions are better for growing a business.
A solution that scales with a company’s growth means that SMBs only need to pay for what they have a need for and no extra.
Another great way to accommodate for the smaller budgets of SMBs is with subscription packages (where applicable).
Subscription packages, whether yearly, quarterly, or monthly, are vastly easier on cash flow as opposed to permanent ones, which is why many SMBs prefer to work with them.
One great example of this is the SaaS space, which has had subscription-based pricing become increasingly popular with SMBs as time goes on.
Common Problems Selling to SMB Customers
When it comes to SMB sales, I’ve seen a lot of similar problems that sales teams run into.
So let’s cover some of those problems here to get you prepared for the road ahead.
Treating SMB Customers Like Enterprise Customers
SMB and enterprise sales have quite a bit in common, but they also have quite a bit that isn’t in common.
And treating an SMB prospect like an enterprise-sized prospect is not going to fare well for your conversion rate.
Remember, SMB sales tend to be a bit less structured, bureaucracy-filled, and more trust-oriented than enterprise sales are.
Lack of Personal Touch
This is one of the biggest mistakes there is when it comes to SMB sales for scaled-up businesses.
To make an SMB decision-maker comfortable with the prospect of buying from you, whether your product is big or small, they’ll have to be confident that your product is going to get them significantly closer to their goals.
And no decision-maker is going to be confident in your product if they don’t have established trust in you.
To build that trust, your sales reps need to be in the trenches with them and putting the work in. It’s not purely about the product; selling is also about building a connection with your prospects so they’ll feel good about buying from you.
And once the deal is closed, that trust-building isn’t over. You should continue to stick with them and provide any support necessary. (This is also a great way to get more referrals.)
Not Coming Equipped with the Right Tools
Just as a contractor wouldn’t come to do their job without a tool belt, you shouldn’t try to sell without your toolkit.
For sales, though, that toolkit looks a bit different.
Things like automated sales management systems and the right software make an enormous difference when it comes to things like efficiency and raising your bottom line.
One example of an excellent sales and marketing tool is a CRM.
CRM: How It Can Help You Sell to SMBs
Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software (where sales teams live).
They help you automated your sales processes, funnels, and save valuable time for the tasks that matter most.
A good CRM program will take even a small team’s capabilities and stretch them much farther than one might imagine, without adding extra stress to said team.
Try Out VipeCloud Today to Transform Your Sales Process
At VipeCloud, we don’t like to brag.
Rather than going on long tangents about features like our auto-scheduler, we’d rather show you what it can do. That way, you can judge it for yourself.
And luckily, we’ve made it easy to do just that because you can try VipeCloud for your organization today — for free!
Request a free demo of VipeCloud today to transform your SMB sales process and save your sales team valuable time, energy, and money.