Welcome to the B2SMB Institute’s inaugural.
We hope our mission – to ensure that B2SMB Professionals like you – those whose job depends on reaching, engaging, winning, keeping and growing Small Business customers – succeed.
Back last year I wrote:
The idea of a forum to share best B2SMB sales & marketing practices, to review fresh SMB research & insights, to meet fellow B2SMB pros and even to find new, relevant partnerships (all of which we find ourselves at Hiveworks enabling every day) seems like a no-brainer.
What continues to take shape goes far beyond the events and community we formed in 2017. We are rapidly building a single destination for our B2SMB marketplace peers, a hub that champions Small-Business-centric thinking and practice, that ensures those who develop and deliver products and services to SMBs are prosperous.
As we learned last year, our fast-growing community is our foundation: from C-Suite to front lines, our network include B2SMB Marketers, Brand Managers, Product Developers, Sales Leaders and Investors. The B2SMB Institute will be a dynamic, year-round setting to find, meet and network with B2SMB decision-makers, all who share common needs, challenges, and goals.
As I’ve gotten to see up close the challenge to win and keep and grow SMB customers in places like Dell, American Express, Sprint, Microsoft, and more, I’ve encountered the same stories over and again – like Groundhog Day – smart people charged with SMB marketing, sales, product development and delivery who are struggling with common problems, like:
- increasingly unsustainable CPAs
- decreasingly effective media options
- lengthening sales cycles
- overwhelming & disruptive new competition
- growing cynicism & “unreachability” from SMBs
In a nutshell, Small Businesses are the toughest sell on Planet Earth.
That’s the basis of the why and the what and the how of the B2SMB Institute. Our cause, our offering and our blueprint are built on the following challenges and opportunities:
1 – Our B2SMB Peer community is enormous and eager to connect. More than 100,000 professionals identify themselves as having a job, career, or skill focus in the $500Bil Business-to-Small-Business marketplace, and that’s not surprising given 47% of Fortune 1000 companies sell to SMBs. Our community is in need of dedicated, B2SMB-centric, peer-to-peer exchanges – exchanges that make us all more effective. The B2SMB Institute will support our Member community with live and virtual events, a hub of powerful resources, and a wide variety of shared intelligence, expertise and best practices.
2 – Our B2SMB Peer community has much in common and can learn from each other. The pains of reaching, engaging, winning and keeping Small Business customers is acute and seems to cross EVERY enterprise that depends on SMB sales for success. And the challenges reach far beyond just marketing and sales, but into product development, delivery, and even internal communications and support. Addressing those challenges is not the domain of a single expert, but instead the genius of the collective. After all, there is hardly a more fragmented market in the world than the Small Business market. Sharing what works – and what doesn’t – in such a fragmented work is a key ingredient for success. Which leads to…
3 – Our B2SMB Peer community is willing to share a lot to get better at the jobs we must do. We saw it on full display in 2017: Erik Day gave insights into Dell’s SMB playbook that were both generous and riveting; Carrie Jacobson detailed a roadmap that didn’t just highlight Office Depot’s new destination, but the routes she and her team were going to take to get there; and Lem Lloyd took BuzzBoard’s research (historically directed at local media orgs) and re-fit it to an audience that were likely unfamiliar with the insights and the company providing them. The list of B2SMB Institute Members who have contributed is long. The list of who wants to contribute is far longer, and we’ve created a platform that greatly facilitates speaking, writing, presenting, casting and teaching for our entire community.
4 – Our B2SMB Community is wide open to new and innovative Partnerships. Sure, we’re all fighting the good fight under the flag of our own brand. But more B2SMB Leaders recognize that going it alone is indeed a lonely business. Synergies exist not just in service of co-marketing and co-promotion but in co-development and even co-delivery. These plays don’t just enhance efficiency and effectiveness, they even make more holistic sense to the SMB, who doesn’t want to address Cyber-security across 5 distinct vendors. I for one think we are witnessing an emerging age of creative, relevant and valuable B2SMB brand cooperation. That’s why the B2SMB Institute will focus so much of its efforts on providing both a place and a means for B2SMB Partnerships to thrive. That’s the central theme of our B2SMB Leaders’ League and Industry Councils, not just learning together, but doing together.
5 – Our B2SMB Community is just getting started. It’s a privilege to be in the middle of all of this because I get to hear the dozens of B2SMB Pros draw precisely the same conclusion from 2017: we want more. Not just a 2nd Annual event, but more meet-ups, live and virtual; more insights and more research and more validation; more networking and connectivity; and more of that magic captured within 2017. We agree. Over the coming weeks, we’ll take some of the ideas we already had and make them even better with your help. And we’re blessed to have ideas from you that we never even thought of! Keep it coming!
Be well, stay in touch and above all #sellmoresmall!