As a technology solution provider, successfully selling your products or services to small and medium-sized businesses requires a strategic approach tailored to their unique needs and challenges. But what for?
SMBs that represent nearly 44% of the United States GDP can be identified by their complex needs and fragmented yet highly competitive market. However, the current economic headwinds have been revealing some other natures of SMBs—on one hand they are massively affected by the inflation, on the other, studies have shown that small businesses have outspent large enterprises in several technology categories.
Such a volatile environment has brought significant changes in SMB purchase patterns that calls for improvisations in B2B technology selling. This comprehensive guide will help you explore the key steps to effectively sell technology to SMBs in 2023 and build long-lasting relationships.
Understanding the Shifting SMB Preferences
For quite some time, the first step in selling technology to SMBs has been gaining a deep understanding of their specific needs and pain points. This is because SMBs are often resource-constrained and seek solutions that offer immediate value and a clear return on investment. However, considering the turbulent economy, it would be wiser to shift the conversation from immediate value to best value.
A McKinsey survey found “40% of SMBs will consider switching providers if they can get a better deal. The smallest companies are even more likely to do so: among companies with fewer than 25 FTEs, 60% indicate that they will switch providers in response to any increase in price.”
The survey further hints at a gradual dissolution of centralized purchase decisions. While CFOs will still take the final call, more power has been vested in the IT departments to analyze and understand the requirements as well as the pricing.
That’s why apart from acknowledging the evolving needs of small to midsize businesses, emphasizing on superior performance and product and service reliability in line with holistic value propositions can yield favorable results for B2SMB sellers.
Taking the Route of Simplicity and Transparency
While your technology might be cutting-edge, SMBs may not have the technical expertise to understand intricate details. They are drawn to simplicity and can’t afford a wide margin of error. Therefore, your solutions must fit into their existing process seamlessly.
With SMBs, the time is limited. They are usually cost-conscious, make faster purchase decisions compared to enterprises, and quickly switch to ‘better deals’ in terms of ease of use and price points. To make your offerings more appealing, offer tiered pricing plans that cater to different budget levels. Clearly outline the features and benefits of each plan, helping SMBs see the value they’ll receive for their investment. Consider offering flexible payment options or subscription models that align with their cash flow.
Use relatable language, avoiding jargon and technical terms that could overwhelm potential customers. Present real-life use cases and success stories that demonstrate how your solution can effectively solve their problems.
Highlighting Tangible Benefits with Creative Mastery
One prominent difference between enterprises and SMBs is the idea of return on investment (ROI). And while selling to SMBs, you get the liberty to inject your creative prowess in order to pitch a holistic proposition we already mentioned above.
So, besides focusing on the tangible benefits your solution provides, including increased revenue, reduced operational costs, or improved customer satisfaction, make them see the advantages they can expect beyond what’s rather quantifiable.
Simply put, while data and statistics are good enough to back up your claims and showcase how your technology has positively impacted other SMBs in similar situations, take into account factors, such as time and lifestyle. Tell them how your solutions could be enormously time saving, improve work-life balance, cut down risks, and scale business.
Providing Exceptionally Personalized Support
Personalization—this marketing revolution has already taken the sphere by storm and that too not just in theory. Personalized marketing approaches are massively result-driven, and the success rates depend on how comprehensively you’re carrying it out.
As a matter of fact, SMBs are like snowflakes—each one is distinct. And a personalized approach acknowledges their individuality, from industry niches to local market dynamics. It’s like fitting a bespoke suit, ensuring that every strategy aligns perfectly with their goals, challenges, and aspirations.
But how do you sell technology to SMBs who lack the resources to support all IT needs? Well, it would be more than usual if your SMB customers don’t have in-house IT teams and rely heavily on external support. In such cases, assure SMBs that your team is readily available to assist with any technical issues, questions, or concerns. Offer multiple support channels, such as email, phone, and live chat to accommodate their preferences coupled with an individualistic approach.
In essence, a personalized approach to SMBs isn’t just a strategy, it’s a mindset. It’s about understanding that these businesses are the heartbeat of local economies, and they deserve attention as unique entities.
Offering Demonstrations and Trials
“About 50% of SMBs do still favor traditional software subscription terms, but more than 20% now experiment with freemium models.”
Small to medium-sized businesses often want to see your technology in action before committing to a purchase. Offering a limited-time trial allows SMBs to test the waters without a significant upfront investment, increasing the likelihood of conversion. In fact, a fresh survey conducted by McKinsey has observed an increasing trend of using ‘freemium’ models. And what’s more interesting is, “this trend is even stronger among smaller businesses: 30 percent of solopreneurs now experiment with them.”
Indeed, when you let your buyers see, touch, and feel the value you bring, you’re not just selling… you’re creating a partnership rooted in trust and growth.
Building Trust and Credibility
“Many small businesses, around 47%, are looking for guidance and support when it comes to their technology investments.”
SMBs often prioritize established relationships when making purchasing decisions. One of the reasons behind this is they often count on loans or personal investments for funding, and consequently, there’s a high amount of risk involved. Trust, for that matter, mitigates the risk associated with trying new products or services, encouraging SMBs to embrace innovation and growth.
This, in a way, paves the way for open communication, effective problem-solving, and shared goals. The higher is your credibility score, the greater is the confidence level in your SMB buyers to engage in transactions, make informed decisions, and explore new opportunities without the fear of exploitation or uncertainty.
You might want to highlight your industry awards, partnerships, and customer testimonials. If possible, connect potential SMB customers with your satisfied clients who can share their positive experiences firsthand. Building trust takes time, so focus on cultivating authentic relationships and consistently delivering on your promises.
Selling technology to SMBs isn’t just about features and functionalities, it’s about crafting solutions that resonate with the SMB heartbeat. Parallely, it’s equally crucial to ditch the ‘enterprise mindset’, as the complexity and scale of solutions geared toward enterprises might overwhelm small and medium businesses. Being a B2SMB solution provider you must accept that SMBs prefer simple and user-friendly solutions that can be integrated seamlessly into their existing workflows without disrupting operations.
Remember, when you’re selling to SMBs, you’re not just pitching a product, you’re igniting their growth, simplifying their journey, and becoming an essential part of their success story.