Most B2B companies will market their products and services typically by targeting the largest firms first and the smallest ones last. The logic obviously is to generate the highest return on the investment under the assumption that it is equal between large and small companies.
In reality, the opportunity is far greater with small businesses of 20 or fewer employees. This group represents approximately 90 percent of all employees in the United States. So the challenge is how to efficiently provide a high touch, profitable, personalized experience to these small businesses in a manner which resonates with how they want to conduct themselves. Ultimately, by developing the proper tools and processes to personally interact with these small businesses, you can generate a far higher return on the investment while generating larger overall sales that are spread across a much larger group of customers. In addition, you will find the potential for profitability with smaller businesses is greater due to the significant reduction in overall competitive pressure as a result of the challenge in efficiently interacting with them.
It's an area of work that we've been collaborating with our strategic marketing partners in for some time. What's more, we've shown that it can be done, and done profitably. Here are five ways to make that happen:
Know them by name
Develop a database of current and prospective customers that can capture as much information as possible, including name, title, address, email, and past activities. There is an abundance of good, cloud-based services that can help practically any company and with short implementation times. The key is getting everyone to use it and correctly. The time it takes to implement a new database will only be temporary and the decision to do so will be well worth it when it becomes an inherent part of the daily marketing activities.
Determine how they want to be contacted
It's not just enough to know your current and prospective customers by name, but also how they like to be contacted. Does an individual prefer to be contacted by email, phone, or mail? If via email or phone, what time of day works best for the individual? How detailed do you need to be? What kind of interests do they have? The more you can find out, the better you can connect with them and the more profitable the relationship will become.
Be personable in your communications
Once you have the information, the next step is to communicate on a one-to-one level. Send something customized to each person with his or her name and company information. Provide the same level of personalization in your email outreach. Both are surprisingly small expenses that pay big dividends and significantly increase response rates.
Be local, even if you're global
In the days of global telecommunications, it's easy and understandable to set up a 24-hour customer service call center in another part of the world. On the surface, it might even be cheaper. I'm here to tell you that the strategy is laced with issues. Anyone who has ever called a help line at night and had difficulty effectively communicating an issue due to signal delay or a language barrier knows what I mean. Be sure to set up your customer service areas in the same region as your customer base. If that means multiple call centers then so be it; but you might attract individuals with solid talent, who are highly proficient and multilingual.
Don't send your issues elsewhere
Marketing a company's brand doesn't end when a new customer makes a purchase. Repeat business is the backbone of any thriving organization and it is as critical to recognize the importance of handling any complaint a customer has about a firm's brand equity. Be sure your support staff is as accessible, friendly, and committed to offering the same personalized attention to those patrons who have an issue as those involved in the sale. It can be the difference between success and failure.