13 Tips for SMB Sales: How to Strike It Big Selling to Small and Medium Businesses

Everyone wants to land those big-budget accounts – but trying to catch the biggest fish in the sea isn’t always a sustainable route to success.

So, even if you’re already an expert in the world of enterprise sales, you should consider stepping up your SMB sales game.

Why You Should Invest in SMB Sales

SMBs represent a valuable, vast, and fiercely loyal customer base. You almost always have an opportunity to connect with the primary decision-maker, because it’s often the business owner themselves.

Selling to small and medium size businesses doesn’t mean smaller opportunities – it means sustainable growth, loyal customers, and a huge market potential.

Interested in tapping into the massive and growing value of SMB sales? These tips and tricks will help you do just that by perfecting your sales strategy for SMB customers.

13 Tips for More Effective SMB Sales

1. Connect Early in the Process

With SMB sales, it’s important to engage with potential clients before you even thinking about pitching to establish trust. So, begin building relationships with SMB leads before they’re 100% ready to make a purchase.

By making yourself available at the start of the decision-making process – and maintaining contact and providing value throughout – you’ll be top-of-mind when the time comes for them to buy.

2. Refine Your Qualification Framework

Sometimes, your offering simply isn’t a good fit for a particular lead’s needs, doesn’t match their budget, or they’re not interested in switching from your competitor.

The good news? With over 30 million small businesses in the US, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. In fact, there are so many opportunities that you can’t really afford to waste time on leads that won’t go anywhere.

That’s why it’s crucial that you develop a lead-scoring model for your ideal SMB customer. If a lead doesn’t score high enough based on your criteria, free yourself up to focus on more valuable leads. By using a framework that helps you know when it’s time to put an opportunity on pause and when to walk away, you’ll save yourself tons of energy, time, and frustration.

lead scoring funnel

3. Prioritize High-Quality Leads

Once you have a reliable lead-qualification process in place, you can use it to sort viable leads into priority buckets. Although you want to build and maintain relationships with leads at various stages of the decision process, you should focus the majority of your resources on those who are most likely to make a purchase in the near future.

Aside from qualifying leads using your lead-scoring model, you can also look at lead source to identify which have the greatest potential to become customers. For instance, you might find that referrals have a higher probability of closing than leads found via cold calling and outreach.

4. Niche Down

Regardless of what you’re selling, it’s not right for everyone – which is why lead-scoring and prioritizing your list is so critical. It’s also more efficient to sell to one specific target persona at a time.

So, once you home in on an ideal customer type (i.e. someone who wants and needs your product or service and plans to buy in a reasonable timeframe), you can make your job even easier by focusing in on a smaller cohort.

For instance, rather than simply targeting restaurants of certain size, target those that cater to a specific demographic or that opened a second location within the past year. The more specific, the better, because learning everything you can about a particular persona allows you to sell to them more effectively. This means you can put your resources to better use and close more deals in less time by focusing on one type of customer.

5. Know Your Audience

Since SMB owners and team members tend to wear more hats than their enterprise counterparts, you’ll likely encounter situations where the buyer is also the end-user - and they’ll expect you to understand their needs and pain points before they’ll consider buying from you.

In fact, for 74% of SMBs (those with up to 500 employees), the business owner researches new products or services themselves.

In fact, for 74% of SMBs (those with up to 500 employees), the business owner researches new products or services themselves.

Whoever the decision-maker is, it’s crucial that you tailor your outreach and pitch to show that you understand the challenges faced in their day-to-day activities.

So, before you reach out to a contact, do your research and figure out exactly who you’ll be speaking to. What’s their role (or roles) in the company? What are their priorities? What information is more relevant to them?

6. Keep Things Simple

When you’re fighting to break into a new market like SMB sales, it can be easy to get caught up in the details. But an ridiculously in-depth sales pitch isn’t what SMBs want to hear.

Your pitch doesn’t need to be complicated to be impressive. In fact, delivering a simple, straightforward pitch (with touches of personalization, of course) is often more effective in SMB sales.

If possible, present information in an easy-to-digest, bite-sized format. Come prepared with a quote and a basic demo that highlights the features your lead cares about – and save showing off all the bells and whistles for another time.

7. Offer a Turnkey Solution

SMB customers want a solution that will be up and running quickly, with little to no effort on their part. That’s why you need to make it clear that your solution will meet their current needs without investing extra time or money building out new features. Save the customizations for bigger clients with bigger budgets and longer sales cycles.

Whatever your SMB sales offering is, implementation should be fast and easy. Emphasizing that you understand their need for a turnkey solution shows that you value their time. Plus, it also ensures your pitch only includes highly relevant information related to their decision-making.

8. Focus on Results

SMBs don’t have room in their budget for products or services that don’t provide real, tangible results quickly. They can’t invest in something that won’t quickly and directly contribute to their success.

This means you need to sell them on the value of your offering, rather than the product or service itself. Highlight how your services or products will improve their margins and grow their business in a real, measurable way.

If possible, discuss both the short- and long-term benefits of buying from you. The immediate benefits can make it easier for them to justify the purchase and dive right in, while the long-term benefits will position the deal as an investment and give them a reason to stick around.

9. Minimize Potential Risk

Smaller businesses tend to be risk averse - and who can blame them? Generally speaking, they likely have a smaller pool of resources to draw from than bigger organizations. They have less tolerance for risk by design, because a few bad spending decisions can sink the entire ship.

SMBs might be hesitant to lock themselves into a long-term contract and are more comfortable starting out with a short trial period and flexible purchasing options. You can build trust by sharing case studies and testimonials that highlight the success your product or service has brought to other SMBs.

10. Listen Before Your Pitch

When it comes to SMB sales, you’re better off having a conversation than delivering a hard sales pitch. Listening to what an SMB prospect wants not only allows you to confirm that they’re a high-quality lead, but it also makes it easier for you to sell to them. So, take the time to talk about to their goals, concerns, ideas, and requests.

The more you know about their business and their priorities, the more closely you can tailor your pitch to match. This allows you to highlight the most relevant features and benefits that align with their needs.

11. Incentivize Referrals

Referrals are such a valuable source of high-quality leads, especially if you’re looking to break into the world of SMB sales. After all, trust is one of the most important elements in any sales relationship – and SMB owners trust their friends and peers more than sponsored content, cold calls, and pitches from strangers.

Once you have a few good SMB customers in your rolodex, you can tap into their network to reach an even wider net of potential SMB clients. The key is to incentivize referrals by providing added value – whether in the form of a referral discount, a free upgrade, or some other perk that motivates customers to bring you more business.

12. Stick to Your Game Plan

For the sake of efficiency, you should come up with a repeatable sales process designed specifically for SMB sales. Of course, every client is different, but you should still define your sales cycle and identify the steps required to qualify, pitch, and close a sale successfully.

define your sales cycle

Create the steps as stages in your CRM to help visualize the whole process. This also makes it easier to measure how effective your sales tactics are at each stage and set benchmarks for how long a typical SMB sales cycle should last. You can use this data to figure out what speeds the process up and what slows it down. More importantly, you can determine what actions must be taken (or criteria met) to move from one stage to the next.

13. Cultivate Loyalty

Long-term customer loyalty comes with a slew of benefits. Not only is customer acquisition exponentially more expensive than customer retention, but repeat business can generate valuable referrals.

How can you inspire long-term customer loyalty from your SMB clients? By investing in maintaining and strengthening existing relationships.

This starts with treating your customers as valued individuals. Go above and beyond to personalize their experience with your sales team. Be patient, stay human, and offer good advice at every stage of the sales process. Every interaction (pre- and post-sale), should be guided by a commitment to providing exceptional customer service.

Make SMB Sales Your Bread and Butter

Want to spend less time on data entry and more time wooing your next SMB customers? Propeller CRM is designed to help you generate new leads and manage customer relationships, so you can focus on perfecting your SMB sales process. Start your free trial today to see how Propeller can boost your sales team’s productivity.

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