Helping small and medium sized business grow

SMBs really matter to enterprises. And for two main reasons. The first as customers, the second as partners in enterprises' value chains. But enterprises are falling short of making the most of the opportunities that SMBs present. In our series of essays, based on extensive in-depth research, we explore some of the reasons for that and examine the actions that enterprises can take to raise their SMB game.

Our first essay, Don’t Tell Me, Show Me, digs into why there's a fundamental disconnect between what enterprises believe and SMBs perceive. Closing that gap is essential for enterprises to engage more effectively with SMBs. Essay two, If Enterprises Build Trust, SMBs Will Spend, examines the correlation between the extent to which SMBs trust enterprises and their willingness to spend with them. Bottom line? Higher trust means higher spend. In our third essay, Tell Me All About Yourself, we explore why developing a real understanding of each type of SMBs' needs is so critical and how enterprises can do a better job of segmenting SMBs to offer more relevant and personalized engagement. And in essay four, The Power to Influence, we take a look at the importance to SMBs of engagement with their trusted peers, and the value that enterprises can generate by enabling SMBs to connect with the networks that they value and trust the most.

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Meet the team

Frequently asked questions

At Accenture, we define Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) as companies with up to 500 employees and annual revenues of up to $1 billion.

  • Micro-SMBs: 2-19 FTEs
  • Small-to-medium SMBs: 20-99 FTEs
  • Larger SMBs: 100-499 FTEs

SMB’s play a central role throughout the global economy and represent a massive untapped opportunity for global enterprise (software and platform) growth. According to the World Economic Forum, “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which represent around 90% of all firms globally, provide roughly 70% of all employment and, by some estimates, contribute to up to 70% of global GDP.”

“SMBs just behave like consumers / enterprises”: SMBs lie at a nuanced intersection between consumers and businesses (‘pro-sumers’) so enterprises cannot fall back on either of these standard approaches when addressing SMBs.

“All SMBs are the same”: SMB buying behaviors, needs, and preferences vary wildly (especially along key vectors like digital maturity and company size), so enterprises need to invest in segmentation to build out the right treatments and strategies.

“Enterprises understand SMB needs”: SMBs consistently voice concerns that enterprises don’t understand them and instead care more about sales than SMB success, and the majority of enterprises do not have dedicated SMB functions.

“SMBs trust Enterprise solution partners”: There is a significant trust gap between SMBs and the enterprises they buy products from. In fact, most enterprises vastly overestimate the degree to which SMBs trust them.

  1. SMBs need help to digitize their businesses: SMBs are looking to learn and adopt new technologies. While newer SMBs show greater digital confidence, most SMBs are not overly digitally mature and need help navigating their digital journey.
  2. SMB decision-makers are time constrained: Many SMB buyers wear multiple hats in their organization. As a result, they often do not have time to muddle through a massive array of enterprise content.
  3. SMBs lean on their peers when discovering and evaluating digital solutions: Whether they are searching for new solutions or looking for advice during the purchase journey, SMBs rely heavily on their network of peers.
  4. SMBs want SMB-specific treatment: SMBs want to see solutions that are built for them, not rebranded consumer or enterprise products. They expect the same fast and high-quality experiences they have with brands they use in their personal lives, but with the account-level support and sophistication their business needs.

These are the most important actions enterprises can take to win more SMB business:

  • Price affordability
  • Provide better customer service
  • Customize products for SMB needs
  • Understand SMBs better
  • Build quality products
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