Many SMB businesses try to battle against their enterprise competitors on their own playing fields. I have a contrarian strategy for you. Rather than try to compete against larger businesses on their own strengths, why not use some business jiu-jitsu and exploit their weaknesses? If it worked for David against Goliath, why can't it work for you?
After all, in order to be successful, you need to show the buyer that you are the best of all of the alternatives available to them, including doing nothing. Here are three ways to differentiate your company in your SMB business development process.
Differentiate with service
You don't have to look much farther than the airline industry for an example of enterprise-level customer service. Many Fortune 500 companies operate on a level of arrogance not too far removed from the airline industry. While most industries aren't as bad as the airline industry, you can bet that many of them are just as consumed with internal politics and gamesmanship than they are with providing a great customer service experience.
This creates an opportunity for SMB companies to differentiate with great customer service. American Express found that 59% of Americans would try a new brand or company for a better customer service experience.
The simple fact is that SMBs can't afford to be arrogant. If we lose an inordinate amount of customers, we will go out of business. Period. The first part of using differentiation is to provide an excellent customer service experience and deliver measurable results. If you do this, you will generate testimonials that you can use in your business development process as well as referrals that can be converted into customers.
Differentiate with specialization
Most enterprise-level businesses can't afford to specialize - they simply can't generate enough business to survive in a single industry or market segment. This is not the case with SMB companies. Rather than be the best employee benefit consultant, think about being the best employee benefit consultant for technology companies.
Most SMB companies have expertise in a single (or a few) market segments. It could be an industry, company size or geographic region. Whatever your target market segment is, leverage your experience and knowledge of the market segment to provide a customized service experience that can't be found with your enterprise level competitors.
Your unique knowledge of the market segment can be used to create content that will resonate with buyers from your target segment. Case studies will demonstrate your ability to deliver results in that segment.
Differentiate with innovation
For enterprise businesses, a change in business strategy is like turning a battleship. Nimble SMBs can react to markets and technologies much faster.
Find a new way to solve a problem or find an unique way to use an existing technology. This is where SMBs can use their creativity to provide new approaches to solve customer problems. In our case, we try to innovate as an extension of our specialization strategy.
We provide inbound marketing strategies to professional services firms and technology companies delivered on the HubSpot software platform. We differentiate by showing our customers innovative ways to use HubSpot that they haven't seen before.
Innovation for technology companies is standard operating procedure - if they don't innovate, someone will replace them in the marketplace. Regardless of your industry, you should always be thinking about new and better ways to solve problems or take advantage of opportunities.
SMB business leaders should constantly evaluate how they are different from the competition and why their target buyers buy from them. This differentiation should be embedded in their messaging and all aspects of their business development process. The good news is that buyers are open to better service experiences, which creates great opportunities for SMBs. Use these three techniques to separate yourself from the pack.