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3 Steps to Rethinking Small and Medium-Sized Businesses as Speed-Maximizing Businesses

What’s an SMB?

There’s the standard definition for SMB, of course. The term, which stands for “small and medium-sized business,” is a useful one for analysts and researchers tasked with defining the difference between the IT needs at large enterprises and the challenges faced by smaller companies. To draw the distinction, these analyst groups focus on employee size and revenue—two great metrics for simply measuring the size of a company. Hence, where the term “small and medium-sized business” came from.

So SMBs are small by headcount and revenue. And yet, according to Gartner, SMBs also constitute 44 percent of global IT spend. That type of pull means that SMBs collectively have the power to shift entire industries, define new requirements for enterprise software, and essentially change the way all of us work.

Where do these super powers come from?

Gartner again predicted that SMB IT spending should hit the trillion-dollar mark in 2015. MBAs and economists will tell you that their power comes from the fact that the economy can only support a limited number of large enterprises, creating a long tail market for SMBs. That market is made up of many, many small and medium-sized businesses that (in aggregate) carry almost as much market power as the bigger players.

But here at RelateIQ, we know there’s something else about SMBs that’s special, and it’s something that is hard for an economist to quantify: passion.

Large enterprises have room for fluff—they swell, they bloat, and they slow down if they aren’t careful. SMBs don’t have that luxury, and as a result, they are built for speed. As we well know, the only way to thrive as a fast-paced organization is to fill your team with people with heart, then feed their passion for what you do.

We propose that all of the B2B brands hoping to sell into the bustling SMB market shift their understanding of the term to a new acronym that fits their unique profile better. SMBs are not just small and medium-sized businesses. They are Speed-Maximizing Businesses.

SMB = Speed-Maximizing Businesses

Under this new definition, anyone hoping to land the business of an SMB needs to understand three core tenets of the way they work.

1. SMBs Have a Need for Speed. They need to move quickly, and can’t stomach your request for a six-month deployment. They want you to move fast or get out of the way. If you don’t, they’ll drop you—fast.

2. Motivations Vary for SMBs. If they wanted to be pencil-pushers or cogs in a wheel, SMB personnel would have joined large enterprises. Consider what motivates your prospects before you make introductions. When you do, you’ll spark more interesting and highly motivated conversations.

3. Different SMBs Are Different. Shocking, right? But you’d be surprised by how many sales reps try to run the same play against vastly different companies. Each SMB is unique, so take the time to learn about your prospect’s business before making sale-stalling assumptions.

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