What is the SMB Channel and why do so many corporate managers use the term today? The term SMB is short for Small Medium Businesses. The term channel is corporate speak for a market, sub-market, or grouping of customers. Thus, the term SMB Channel really refers to a target group of small to medium sized businesses that a large company may desire to market its products and service to. Most people would describe the channel in plain, straightforward language but every corporation has a knack for acronyms and making things sound more complicated than they really are.
The SMB Channel and its respective definitions will vary from one company to another. No two companies really seem to look at the term in the same exact way. If we were to generalize, it is safe to say that small businesses can be viewed as companies that have fewer than ten employees and perhaps less than ten million in annual sales. When broadly defining medium sized businesses, it can be said that they are companies which have fewer than one hundred employees and perhaps less than fifty million in annual revenues. Again, these definitions will vary from industry to industry and even across companies within the same sector.
The SMB Channel matters because most Fortune 1000 and large companies have properly focused their energy and efforts on marketing to other sales channels. Typically, larger companies have a well-established presence in government sales, large enterprise sales, retail sales, internet sales, original equipment manufacturer (oem) sales, and others. This small to medium business customer has been an elusive target for most corporations. When most company executives realize how large this market can be and it’s potential impact, they view the group as a gold mine.
It is not uncommon to see large companies shift resources to the task of selling more products and services to the SMB Channel. In fact, the companies that decide it is part of their core strategy will systematically allocate money, people, and assets to the channel. Money is an obvious and necessary component to drive efforts across the board. With people, it is now very common to have an executive team dedicated to the small to medium business channel. The organization will be aligned with corporate goals, but will pull resources from product, marketing, and other key functions within a company. It is the SMB executives task to make sure that they see growing revenues and profits as a result of small to medium businesses purchasing more and more of their products and services.
In a perfect scenario, companies will capture their market share from the SMB channel. However, that is typically not the case and the process is more of a journey than a project. Many times new partnerships are announced, new initiatives are created and they all seem to end in a lack of results. It is during these difficult times that an SMB strategic consultant will be engaged to help and assist the large company executive team. Together, they try to determine the potential points of concern that need to be addressed.