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The 5 Step Process to Target SMBs Successfully

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Selling to SMBs is different than selling to enterprises and requires that you go “all in”.

SMB is a segment in its own right; With 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, the small business space represents a tremendous market opportunity. 

However, just because it is a massive market does not mean it’s an easy market.

To be successful selling to this audience, you need to clearly define who your ideal customers are and how you can provide them with what they need throughout the different stages of their lifecycle.

It’s challenging to find the exact businesses that fit your criteria from the millions of businesses, and even more so to identify the decision-makers to contact and convince about your product or service’s benefits.

Accomplishing these tasks requires a lengthy and tedious process to gain the data intelligence you need to succeed.

In this article, we’re covering how to find and approach small-medium businesses to turn them into clients successfully.

Step 1 - Define your Ideal Customer Profile

Every service or product supposedly solves a client’s problem or provides them value.

And so, you want to match your offering to the target SMBs that would benefit most from it. 

Start with a description of the type of business that you wish to target and base it on the best examples you can find. 

Examine your successful clients with the help of your Customer Success department.

Find the clients with the best retention rates, who shared the most recommendations, or clients who have gone through the quickest and most successful sales process. 

This description is called the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), and it is made of shared characteristics of the best clients we found.

Step 2 - Create a list of target SMBs

Break down the description to look for businesses that match your Ideal Customer Profile criteria – size, industry, vertical, location, etc.

Evaluate the type of companies that might resonate best with your service or product by adding specific attributes such as software used (e.g. shopify or Wix), growth mode (e.g. monthly growth of website traffic >30%), international expansion, and more. 

Search to build a list of target SMBs that match your ICP.

This step can be pretty exhausting if you do it manually – using a combination of search engines, social media, and static databases.

Remember that finding up-to-date information about SMB is quite tricky yet crucial to increasing sales efficiency and conversion.

As compared with large enterprises SMBs tend to have limited resources, they might not update their website regularly if at all. It means you have a massive void in knowing if they fit your ICP, as well as knowing: 

  • What is their current status? 
  • Are they still in business or did they foreclose? 
  • Maybe they are growing their business?

Knowing the answers to all of these questions unless you are willing to deep dive into their website and online mentions. 

If you are hoping to find the answer in a list of companies you just purchased, think again.

These lists, more often than not, are stale and outdated. 

Therefore, you waste time chasing businesses that no longer exist, or are not in the right stage of their lifecycle.

Still, if you are going the manual route, consider noting any special updates you encounter that might indicate the ICP a “warmer prospect” for the sales department.

Try instead using Tarci to define a list of life-cycle triggers and get real-time notifications about relevant companies.

Our system scans millions of small to medium-sized businesses and notifies you when they become a relevant ICP for you.

For example, whether their commitments to a service provider is close to expiring.

Here is an example of some typical event-based and change triggers for growing e-commerce:

Typical eCommerce's life cycle's growth phase: 1. formation 2. local expansion 3. selling internationally 4. physical global presence 5. Global powerhouse

Step 3 - Finding your Potential Client’s contact information

Ok, so now you should have some candidate businesses to target.

You can start and reach out to them, but to whom?

Naturally, it should be someone senior, either owner, CEO, or director. 

Finding their contact information is a time-consuming task.

You have two ways to do it:

  1. Do it manually – this approach means you need to look again at their websites, search engines, social media, etc. Always with the hope that the information is up-to-date
  2. Buy a list from a lead provider – however, you lose your competitive edge, as all your opponents have the same access to that list.
    In addition, because it’s a static list, it is not based on changes in the business life cycle.

Step 4 - Identifying the channels where you can find your ICP

Where can we grab the attention of our ICP?

How do they behave online so we can interact with them?

With the help of the marketing department, we will identify what the channels they use are.

Answer what channel had the best engagement rate with prospects that became clients.

It can be that they’re most responsive in the mail, cold calling, or LinkedIn, for example.

Then, it would be best if you doubled down our efforts there, with organic and paid advertising.

Step 5 - Reach out to your target SMBs

We’ve researched their business, learned about it, who you are writing to is, and how to reach them.

You know all you can learn about your prospect, now write to them.

There are sales templates online for every channel you use. 

However, we recommend making it more personal.

To make the message to a business owner you approach for the first time compelling, consider the following tips:

  1. Keep it short – under 150 words.
  2. Create a connection – use some contextual information you found about them online in your research.
  3. Think “what’s in it for me” – Make it clear why you are approaching them. Don’t talk about features, but what they gain from your service or product.
    Seth Godin describes it extensively in his books.
  4. Open End – End with an open-ended question like “How” and “What”. It encourages a conversation, as discussed by Chris Voss in “Never Split the Difference”.

There are many tips and tricks, but the main idea is to make it personal. 

Remember to write it from their point of view, and make it about them.

Tarci identifies target SMBs for you

We showed in this article the necessary steps to find the right small business to target and offer our services or products.

This 5 steps process is challenging when working in the diverse and dispersed SMB market.

It takes a lot of time, effort, and money to build a list of relevant businesses to target.

And it’s almost impossible to know if you are targeting the right business at the right time.

Instead, rely on real-time dynamic SMB data from Tarci to find ICP candidates that are ready for your offering.

And it’s so easy to operate:

  1. Define the vertical you want to target (restaurants, eCommerce, hospitality and others)
  2. Select the triggers that indicate the target SMB’s lifecycle
  3. Get the results to in your inbox every week

Payment, eCommerce, Insuratech, Hospitality – we can find relevant SMBs for companies selling to those markets.

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