Sales Challenges for SMBs

Small and medium-sized businesses are faced with a unique set of challenges.  Over our history of working with over 400 clients, we’ve seen them all – everything from the macro level, like quickly scaling, capturing major accounts, or understanding your place in the market, to the micro level, like choosing outbound tools, defining internal processes and understanding.  Exacerbating the situation is that SMBs don’t have the resources to create or follow an optimized sales model.

Below is a sneak-peak of our upcoming white-paper on our SMB-focused solution.  The excerpt goes into detail on the unique challenges that SMBs face.  This was the impetus for our solution, to provide optimized sales models that, in larger business, operations teams would be creating, by providing a framework for SMB’s on both the macro and micro level.

SMB Challenges

Functions crucial to SMB revenue creation and growth are new customer acquisition and scaling. Not only is effective execution of these operations impactful, but also incredibly difficult, and as such, SMBs require aid within these realms. Most SMBs rate new customer acquisition as their greatest challenge – in 2016, a survey showed 72% of SMBs planning to devote a majority of their company’s marketing budget to new customer acquisition in 2017, despite it being incredibly costly. Many SMBs, restricted by tight budgets, struggle with deciding whether to devote resources to customer acquisition or to retention, though acquisition is more crucial for growth. Other challenges include managing costs, increasing productivity, and cultivating social media presence.

SMB growth involves intense focus on creating repeatable and scalable processes, and companies that are flexible and Agile are most likely to succeed in doing so. However, scaling sales poses a major challenge for most SMBs, as this stage places sales models under immense pressure, and models under pressure tend to deteriorate. Scaling is only becoming more difficult, as one study reports, “Only one in a thousand small businesses are able to grow past 100 employees, a decline of 40 percent since 2001. Globally, only 5 percent to 10 percent of all companies are able to scale up to become large.” 

Successful sales scaling is a balancing act – expanding too quickly can be overwhelming, while doing so too slowly means losing momentum. Several blogs offer insight on easing the growing pains of scaling, converging on the idea that strong leadership throughout the process is crucial: “you want someone who is process oriented, and who has already done this multiple times.” But many SMBs attempting to scale do not enjoy the luxury of an experienced leader, thus robust and reliable sales processes are all the more crucial. A model that portrays growth as a four-stage process – inception, testing, sales acceleration, revenue acceleration/scaling – describes the last stage as the most difficult and where “executives need to embed expertise into the company’s processes and structure to lessen its reliance on a few key people,” further highlighting the importance of a process that is strong independent of the experience level of those managing it.

The functions most essential to an SMB’s success are also the most difficult to execute, especially under lackluster leadership. Thus, a company in this position would largely benefit from employing an easily scalable sales framework oriented toward bolstering new customer acquisition.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *