Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The 5 Myths of Selling to Small Business

Instead of telling you HOW to do research, today, I'm going to give you the results from some research.

Ivy Worldwide conducted a survey of small- and medium-sized business owners/operators this year through a network of independent bloggers to determine what factors influence their purchasing decisions.

The survey has identified five misconceptions that most marketers have when selling their product or services to SMBs.  The goal is to help marketers make their messages more effective so they can tap the viable market that is SMB.

Ivy worldwide ~ SMB purchasing decisions survey[slideshare id=8307762&w=425&h=355&sc=no]

Myth 1: Communication on the C-Level is effective.

Though positioning, sales relationships and ROI is important, most SMBs still give more importance on reviews from trusted sources, quality promises and enhanced features.

Based on the survey, businesses said a detailed review from a trusted source that illustrated the pros and cons of the product/service is they highest factor they consider before getting on board.

Marketers should, therefore, make use of the correct channels that SMBs find to be a reliable source of information.  Reliable sources can be third party organizations, news source or key opinion leaders in the industry.

Myth 2: It's always good to go green.

The truth is environmentally friendly messages is not really that important for SMBs.  In fact, they ranked being green second to the last among factors that will affect their purchase of a product/service.

Unless your product has specific and discrete environmental benefits, don’t jump on this trend green trend.  Since being green is not top-of-mind for SMB purchasers, there is really no point to put too much effort in the trend.

Myth 3: Tried and tested marketing efforts should be employed.

The survey showed that advertising and other traditional media sources ranked far below web forums and independent bloggers as key sources of product and service information.

The trick here is to ensure that you’re engaging your audiences via the communications channels that they actually use.   New marketing can be coursed through niche blogs or social networking sites.  Not only are they popular these generation, but they are also more cost-effective the traditional advertising.

Myth 4: All sales should be treated the same.

For smaller purchase amounts, less effort is required from the seller as they are generally made on a need basis and are rather immediate.  Large purchases, on the other hand, require more research (i.e. comparing prices, test -driving the product, reading reviews and asking for recommendations)

Also, for small purchases, SMBs prefer that products that they can be picked up from a nearby location to allow person-to-person support on the product.

The key is that marketers know how your customers are buying and which channels they prefer.

Myth 5: Transactions are done after payments are received.

For SMB purchasers, service and support terms are more important than payment terms. In fact, service and support are key to the final decision and should be marketed as assertively as product benefits themselves.

SMBs would like to be assured that they can rely on someone in case there is product/service defect.  Be a smart marketer and don’t miss the opportunity to tout service and support terms to your customers.

The Real Deal

It’s always easy to get complacent and put undue confidence in trends, buzzwords and mass-marketing techniques.  Marketers should fight complacency and instead strive for a true understanding of what compels SMB owner/operators to purchase their product.

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