Small businesses might be deemed small but their impact on the economy is anything but. Making up over 90% of businesses and over 50% of employment globally, there is no reason why small businesses should be overlooked when it comes to building business relationships.

As they make up such a large portion of the workforce, servicing their needs requires a different approach than that of working with bigger businesses. When one thinks of B2B sales and client retention, SMBs might not be in that train of thought. It is because of this that they are less understood and therefore, not properly catered to.  

What can you do to better serve your SMB clients? Though it differs from business model to business model, here are four easily implementable strategies that will help your business build and retain better relationships with your SMB clients.

How to build and retain relationships with SMBs

Understand your clients

The first step might sound obvious, but it’s too important to miss. Understanding your clients’ needs will set the stage for long-term, successful business relationships. With small businesses, it’s not just enough to just understand the job your clients are doing, but you also need to understand their industry. 

Small businesses aren’t like the big ones, they tend to be a bit more demanding and their needs are constantly changing. Keeping up with these changes will only help towards nurturing your business relationships with these SMBs. In addition, knowing their industry, pain points, needs, etc. will help you approach them in the right way. Rather than a broad approach, you can more specifically reach them where they are and ultimately, keep them.

Why not work on your website to offer a more personalized experience? Having a customer journey that asks the right questions and recommends products and services that cater directly to their needs is a surefire way to impress them and keep them coming back for more.

In addition to your website and customer journey, improve the content you put out to answer their questions and support their actual needs. Notice where their bottlenecks are and create content that supports them in improving their small business and getting closer to their goals. Helping them achieve their goals is a great way to build trust and stickiness.

Finally, listen to your customer service representatives. They are on the front lines of your business directly interacting with your clients. Their wisdom and insights on your clients’ needs and aspirations should be one of your first stops when trying to retain and nurture your SMB clients.

Help them help themselves

Thirty five percent of entrepreneurs and small business owners say that admin work is a major obstacle for their business. Admin work takes up much of a business owners’ time and causes major headaches. Easing this pain by offering tools and techniques that reduce administrative tasks and help free up SMB owners’ time can cement your relationship with them and place you in a strong position to continue to work with them for the foreseeable future.

In fact, a recent vcita survey found that over 92% of respondents who are small business owners, are using between 1 and 6 different digital tools to run their business. Getting these tools to communicate with each other and work together seamlessly can be painful. For this reason, developing a one-stop-shop solution, like vcita’s all-in-one business management solution, creates a bond between you and your SMB clients that becomes virtually unbreakable.

With the proper digital tools that help SMBs better manage their time, money, clients and marketing, vcita’s solution takes away the burden of administrative overhead and streamlines operations for the SMB.

For you there are options: you can either develop your own suite of digital solutions that answer your SMBs’ needs, acquire a company that has the tools or partner with a leader in the industry, like vcita, that has the experience and the know-how to cater to your SMB audience. Through a partnership with vcita, you get your own branded app that encompasses your existing tools along with vcita’s comprehensive suite, combining them to create a winning solution to service the needs of your SMB clients. This raises your brand awareness and makes you the go-to for your clients’ everyday business operations.

Keep digitalization top of mind

In that same vcita survey, 96% of those surveyed said they had adopted new digital tools in the past year alone. This shows the extreme importance of digital transformation among SMBs and proves even further that enabling your SMB clients to access and implement digital tools to help them run their businesses will help you build better and stronger relationships with them.

By offering a variety of tools you are not only showing your SMB clients that you stand behind digitalization but also that you stand behind them. Consumers are demanding more digital experiences and small business owners are looking for digital solutions to help future-proof their business and better engage with their clients. By driving digital transformation you are building trust with your SMBs and providing them with all the tools and resources they need to succeed and achieve their goals.

Further to building trust, you are also building a rapport with these SMBs. They will recognize you as their sole partner and entrust you with the entire operations of their business. For example, by offering a digital CRM where your clients can better manage their own clients, you are taking part in a huge transformation and crucial aspect of their business. Imagine helping a small business go from a phone book to a CRM, the chances of that small business going elsewhere for digital tools is slim because all their most important information is with you, stored safely and securely. These digital tools you offer give you a competitive advantage and reduce the chances your SMB clients will go looking for solutions to their needs with others.

Personalize interactions

Where there is much competition out there, beat it out by keeping things personal with your SMB clients. Don’t treat all small businesses the same; growth might not be top of mind for some small businesses, for example, who want to remain small. As mentioned above, knowing your clients is important, but not just on the whole, knowing them individually also really helps build and nurture strong and long-lasting relationships.

Many small business owners have admitted to preferring a supplier that visits them monthly to one that carries out the transactions over the phone only. Small business owners are more likely to buy and build relationships based off of trust and personalizing your interactions with them can help propel that trust.

A great way to keep it personal is to segment your clients based on their pain points. Instead of addressing them as a whole, use their pain points to make them feel seen and heard. Knowing their pain points and delivering solutions to support them not only makes your SMB clients feel heard, but it also further proves your ability to support them as well as why you’re the right fit for them.

Start building and nurturing your relationships with your SMB clients

With digital transformation on the rise and SMBs on the lookout for organizations to partner with, now is a great time to join the wave of change and learn how to leverage digital tools for your SMB clients. Offering the proper tools, personalizing your interactions, helping SMBs help themselves and truly understanding their needs are the four main pillars of building and nurturing relationships with the SMB community. Drive digital transformation, know your clients well enough to properly segment them, use the resources you have at hand such as your customer service team and do all that you can to support your SMB clients in their journey to achieve their goals.