With some 2 million Canadian small and medium B2Bs and another 20 million or so in the US the lure for marketers is great. Despite the numbers though, cracking the SMB2B (yes I made this up, no I won't use it again) lead generation code is tough sledding. Even other SMBs have trouble creating engagement with their brethren.
On the surface small and medium B2Bs aren't that much of a mystery. They want to buy products and services that solve their problems. They want personalized service and they want to like the person they buy from. Dig a little deeper though and things quickly can get rocky; SMBs are notoriously hard to reach, resistant to change, and tough to segment in a meaningful way.
So what to do? There aren't any silver bullets but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Pick your segments.
While it is tough to come up with meaningful segments for small and medium B2Bs, to treat the entire SMB landscape as a single segment is a recipe for disaster. Consider industry or possibly how your target sells. Are they direct to business sellers or do they have channel distribution? More importantly does this seem like a factor that might influence how they buy? Even try developing your own multi-factor segment that combines a few attributes that make sense for your business.
Get to know your audience.
This shouldn't be a newsflash to anyone but knowing your audience makes it easier to market to them. For small and medium B2Bs this means truly understanding their lives. Read the blogs they read, follow their experts and get to know their customers.
Differentiate your message.
It is amazing how many businesses have reduced their marketing message to: we help you save time and money or we help you make money. It isn't that these aren't important messages or relevant; it's just that those messages describe the minimum table stakes for working with SMB. The real value is in how you do these things.
Once you spend some getting to know your SMB target, you should be able to develop unique messaging for use in all your lead generation and content marketing efforts.
Supress the urge to sell right away.
It may seem like you should get sales out to meet your SMB prospects right away, hold off a little. SMBs want time to assess their options and understand your services. Instead generate some great content and nurture your SMBs over time. In the process of doing so make sure that if a prospect does want to contact you, its easy for them.
So there you have it. No - not the code for SMB lead gen because there really is no one code. Rather I hope these tips help you develop your own method for SMB B2B lead generation and marketing success.