The Elusive Small Business Owner – 8 Tips to Find, Connect and Convert

Small and medium size businesses are considered the backbone of the US economy and represent a disproportional chunk of all businesses. In fact, 99% of all businesses have fewer than 500 employees and 90% have fewer than 20 employees.  When your ideal customer profile is made up of companies that fall into this SMB space, the business owners themselves, in most instances, are the decision makers.

This makes finding, connecting and converting these prospects vital to the success of your sales team.  When you’re building out your prospecting list, use these 8 tips to help target SMB decision makers:

1)     Identify the owner

LinkedIn is theLinkedIn is the go to for most sales development teams, yet many small businesses are not on it. A google search may turn out unproductive too, with over 52% of SMBs being home based companies. To help your chances, focus your search on the secretary of state, the company’s website, sites like Manta, Facebook and local chamber of commerce’s to determine who owns a particular small local business.

2)     Find the prospect’s email

34% of small businesses owners still use their personal email 1 year after starting their business. To increase your chances of connecting ensure you add all available emails to your outreach, including;

·       Personal emails that may be found on website and searches –

·       Generic emails that connect back the owner  - /

·       Corporate email –

1)     Prioritize phone numbers

Since most SMB’s have fewer than 20 employees, the company phone number is a great resource, as the owner will often answer directly. When they don’t, you often end up dealing with a gatekeeper. Make sure you build a relationship, take down names and ask for the prospect’s cell number. If you take the time to build rapport with a gatekeeper they will often happily give you the cell number of the owner increasing your chances and opening the door to a sale.


4)     Don’t be afraid of weekend prospecting

SMB prospects are always on the move servicing customers, buying inventory or hopping between locations. It can be hard to get a meeting during the week but Saturdays are a great time to connect or set a meeting. Many owners will come in on a Saturday morning and often have time available.


5)     Diversify your outbound cadence

When reaching out to SMB owners it is imperative to take an all-of-the-above approach and not limit yourself to email and phone. Adding the following channels to your sales outreach will increase your chances of connecting by 46%:

·       Email – All email addresses found

·       Phone – All numbers found

·       Text – Primarily as a followup technique

·       Facebook  & Instagram – Direct messaging

·       Contact Form – Located on website

·       LinkedIn Message

·       Yelp


6)     Increase prospecting touch points

Most sales development strategies focus on 4-8 touch points to generate the best response results. This is not the case with SMBs, as the average small business owner needs 8+ touches before converting to an appointment. Do not hesitate to increase the touch points in your outbound strategy.


7)     Personalize your sales message

Considering the outreach volumes, going super-personal may not be worth the time.  However, personalizing your messaging to the vertical (example: restaurants) and sub-vertical (Italian Restaurants) can improve response rates by 21% to 29%. Also, mentioning the owner and gatekeeper by name can improve conversions by 10% we’ve seen.


8)     Local approach

Although SMBs vary greatly, they generally have some common values. They see themselves as part of their communities, are aware of their local competition and see national brands as encroaching. If your messaging touches on the community they are in, their local competition and is positioned in a way that gives the SMB a leg up against national brands you will see higher and more positive responses. 

9)     It's a volume game

Over 500k new businesses incorporate each and every month so exhausting a vertical is unlikely. That being said, just as many SMBs close their doors each and every month with 95% of small businesses failing within their first 3 years. Thus, the key to success is building and continuously updating a large database of SMBs that you are targeting to allow for the law of averages to work in your favor. To have any chance of success, a sales development rep should be adding 80-120 new SMBs to their pipeline each and every day.

Kevin Warner
Co-Founder & CEO @Leadium
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