I Get the Message: Target SMBs

By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO

In a week this was a sampling of the telecom headlines:

RIM Targets SMBs With …

Cisco Targets SMBs With UC Offers

Intelliverse Steps Up SMB UC With …

At VON, Nortel Unveils SMB VoIP Offerings Survey Sez: Watch For More SMB Tech Investment

We get it: Target SMBs. But, when you say SMB, what do you mean? SMB stands for small to medium business, which is defined as one to 500 employees. That’s a wide range. Businesses from 250 to 500 employees are a different class of business with separate needs and solutions (and regulations) from a business with 25 or less (which has different needs from 26-100 employees).

The SMB space has the most business targets. (The Fortune 1000 is only, um, 1000). The Census ( says that there are 86,538 firms with 100 to 499 employees and 17,000 with more than 500. There are more than 500,000 businesses with 20 to 99 employees. That’s the sweet spot.

Very small business is under 20 employees and even that is stratified (see table at About 4.3 million firms with payroll. But the segmentation is 1 to 4; 5 to 9; 10 to 19. And the sales pitch, needs, solutions and customer care for each of these segments is different.

So when I see that every company is targeting the SMB space, I laugh. It’s true PR. How many companies know the segment of the industry that they are truly targeting? Does a medium size business really want hosted VoIP?

One rule of marketing is to have a clear, concise message – and repeat it over and over.

One rule of sales is to pre-qualify and disqualify. Spend your time and effort on companies that qualify to most benefit from your offering and are able to pay for it.

One of the things about SmoothStone is that they know exactly what they sell, to who and why. Just as important (and maybe more important) is that they know what they don’t sell.

Progress Telecom, before Level 3 bought them, was just as focused. Here’s the lit building list. If it isn’t on there (and they aren’t buying a OC-x), then we can’t touch it.

Focus. Pre-quality. Know what you are selling and to whom.

Now to end with a funny headline: “Managed Services Go Competitive, Continue To Target Large Enterprises, SMBs”

Peter Radizeski is president of


. He can be reached at


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