Insights from top B2SMB executives.
If you have not heard about it, the B2SMB Institute’s Global Conference brings together speakers and attendees from some of the top B2SMB brands. I just attended the 3rd such event, and it did not disappoint.
Here are 9 insights from the conference that should benefit any company that markets and sells to SMBs.
1. B2SMB brands need to evolve
SAP Concur’s Christal Bemont said that B2SMB brands need to evolve the way they go to market. This is due to changing buyer behavior and trends, including the different mindsets of Millennials and Gen Z, as well as new technology, which has changed the way SMBs operate.
Our take: The time is now to evolve your marketing focus from selling product to helping your SMB customers. Do this, and client acquisition and lifetime value will grow. Read more here.
2. Go beyond the data
Many speakers said that it is important to go beyond the data and really get to know SMBs. Among them, Jenn Allen of Cisco said that this focus has helped Cisco’s SMB revenue explode. Jeff Mask of JUMP (and formerly of Infusionsoft) went as far as to say you will “unleash magic” by getting to know why SMBs do what they do. Christal Bemont added that it is important to go beyond your customers when getting to know SMBs—talk to SMBs who aren’t already doing business with you, too.
Our take: Get your marketing and inside sales teams face-to-face with SMBs—existing customers and potential prospects alike. SMBs are a very unique segment and you cannot market well to them just based on data and personas. Note: RSL Media can help you with this.
3. Are growing SMBs better?
There was some predictable data on how SMBs that are in growth mode make larger investments than those in maintenance mode.
Our take: While growing SMBs will have a larger appetite for some products, keep in mind that there are many more companies in maintenance mode. While maintenance-mode SMBs are not growing nearly as fast, they are a bigger market.
4. Good news for B2SMB tech companies
The number of technologies being used by SMBs is up 28% since 2015.
Our take: This trend will continue as late-comers embrace digitization, and new technologies (including simpler takes on existing technologies) are embraced by early adopters and mainstream SMBs. Also see #9 below regarding getting clarity on your customers.
5. Use AI to find new opportunities
Brett Tolbert of Comcast provided a fantastic explanation of how B2SMB companies can use artificial intelligence today. For example, using AI to find not-so-obvious customer segments is a huge opportunity.
Our take: Don’t forget to create segment-specific content to capitalize on the opportunity.
6. Strong support = trust
When I asked Eric Groves of Alignable what the commonalities were among companies rated highest on Alignable’s Small Business Trust Index, he said that they had highly rated customer support.
Our take: The correlation between companies who rank well on the index and those that are market leaders is quite strong. If you do not have someone in your organization who exclusively thinks about, and has the power to affect “customer success,” now is the time to add such a role.
7. Keep it simple
Product simplicity (including the buying process) came up time and again.
Our take: SMBs are consumers too, and they expect the same ease of use as when 1-clicking with Amazon. Given that the typical SMB owner, manager, and employee are always balancing many things, simplicity is table stakes today.
8. Create the right culture
Our take: Get your team rallying behind helping the small business, and profits will follow.
9. Make your marketing segment-specific
Scott Gifis from AdRoll said that results improved significantly when they got clarity on who their SMB customers were, and adapted their marketing accordingly.
Our take: Vertical and segment-specific marketing and content can have a huge impact on engagement, lead-nurturing, and conversion. For example, one attendee whose company has a big market with attorneys told me that their efforts with state bar associations have paid off big time.