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List of SMEs in the UK for sales and marketing teams
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More Than Words Marketing's comprehensive, up-to-date list of SMES in the UK for sales and marketing teams

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Feb 15, 2024

Need a list of SMEs in the UK to promote your products and services towards your target markets?

With the right UK SME business directory, you can send your marketing and sales messages to the business owners and decision makers most likely to need your products and services.

The official UK SME definition

SMEs are an important part of UK business.

According to Angela Eagle, MP, writing for the London Stock Exchange Group,

“The dynamism of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is critical to the success of the UK economy. Representing over 99% of UK businesses, they provide 60% of private sector jobs and account for almost 50% of all private sector turnover.”

In fact, so important are SMEs to the British economy that they were named in 2018’s UK government digital service industrial strategy document.

Since then SMEs have received significant investment in the form of grants and business loans. 

Companies House and HMRC define two main features that differentiate SMEs and large companies – turnover and employee numbers.

1. Number of employees

Any business with up to 250 employees is categorised as an SME (small- to medium-sized enterprise).

But there are four sub-categories within that definition:

  • sole-person businesses have no employees (and they account for 57% of total UK companies
  • micro-businesses have between 0 and 9 employees (and they account for 38% of total UK companies)
  • small businesses have between 10 and 49 employees (4%), and
  • medium-sized businesses have between 50 and 259 employees (0.6%)

2. Turnover

When classified by turnover, the standard UK definition of business sizes (for both public and private sector businesses) are:

  • Micro business – 10 employees and less with sub-£2m turnover
  • Small business – less than 49 employees and sub-£10m turnover
  • Medium business – less than 250 employees and sub-£50m turnover

Which companies are on your list of SME’s in the UK?

Our SME database is part of our larger UK business database.

More Than Words’ extensive, continually-updated, and GDPR-compliant B2B email database contains over 350,000 business decision makers within limited companies. The vast majority of the UK private sector businesses contained on our database are SME companies.

Sole trader and partnership SMEs

We no longer sell email address details for sole trader and partnership SMEs because of the introduction of GDPR. Prior to that, marketing to sole traders and partners with business promotion was permitted by email.

GDPR now means that sole traders’ and partnerships’ business-related email addresses are considered personal information. This means they cannot be used in email marketing without consent.

How do you select or profile data from our UK small business directory?

For example, let’s say that you are a wholesale potato supplier. You might want to target any UK company that uses potatoes regularly in the course of their work (such as restaurants, hotels, caterers etc).

Our account managers can go through the database line by line to identify the most relevant categories. This ensures you only select those that are suitable for your target market.

What types products and services do we help our customers to find buyers for?

There are three main types of products and service we help clients sell to the SME sector:

  • fixed cost products and services
  • sales cost products and services, and
  • specialist products and services.

Fixed cost products and services

Fixed costs are those that any smaller business must meet. This is regardless of their level of sales or the type of product and service they sell. 

For this, think of general accountancy services, general office cleaning contractor services, payroll services, utilities costs, and so on.

These types of products have the widest audience and lower profit margins. Your account manager is more likely to suggest companies it’s easier for you to sell to – for example, businesses based in your local area.

Sales cost products and services

Sales costs are costs related to what you sell and what it costs~ you to fulfil those orders.

Can you reduce your target clients’ sales costs?

For example, if you are a food and drink supplier, could you reduce the sales costs for businesses, schools, and so on? 

If your clients use couriers or parcel delivery services to fulfil their orders, could using you save your clients money?

Specialist products and services

More specialist products and services tend to be those products and services which affect a company’s performance. It would also include those that are needed for legal and regulatory compliance.

For example, whereas a general accountant is fine for companies turning over up to £6.5m turnover a year. For companies with a higher turnover an auditor is needed. If a big industrial company works on tight margins, a specialist utility broker with experience in the sector is of more use.

How to approach the list of SME’s in the UK

You can approach the contacts you choose from our SME list in three ways – email, telephone, and post.

Email marketing

For over a decade now, email marketing has been the most popular method for businesses trying to sell to each other. 

Email marketing, on average, returns £42 of turnover for every £1 invested in it. In addition, once you’ve bought the data, the cost of using it again and again is minimal.

Postal mail marketing

The amount of postal mailing has recently gone up significantly because marketers have realised that:

  • local business decision makers enjoy receiving something tangible through the post, and
  • response rates are high because there are so few companies using the Royal Mail to market their products and services.

Telephone marketing

B2B telemarketing (or telesales) to the SME business decision makers on your list returns, on average, an £11 return for every £1 invested

Unlike other channels, you get the chance to start a two-way conversation with decision makers from your target business sectors.

Many clients believe that customers secured from telemarketing campaigns spend more than clients found by email or postal marketing.

Using your list of SME’s in the UK over the course of a year

When we sell you SME contact data, we do so on a 12-month licence.

By marketing to small business decision makers over 12 months, you:

  • build trust and confidence in your brand and company,
  • demonstrate your expertise over this time to your target audience, and
  • have a much better chance of catching them at the right part of the buying cycle.

Even for the most-trusted brand names in your industry, only 5% of the people you contact at any given time are in the market. Or the right part of the buying cycle.

By being seen every month you’re far more likely to be seen when the companies you’re targeting are at or near the point of purchase.

DIY versus managed marketing services if you’re interested in email marketing

If you’re interested in email marketing to the recipients you select, we can offer you our:

  • UK B2B email database only – your company is responsible for sending emails to the companies you’ve chosen for your SME list or
  • managed B2B email marketing service – we design and write your email, send it to the decision makers on your bespoke list of SMEs, and send you follow-up reports.

Please speak with our account manager about which would be the better option for your business.

DIY versus managed marketing services if you’re interested in telemarketing

We offer two services for companies wishing to market by phone to UK SMEs:

Again, please speak with our account manager about how you’d like to proceed.

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Find out more

We’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your marketing goals. You’ll find our team friendly, knowledgeable, and informative. 

To select the small UK businesses most likely to want to buy from you call us on 0330 010 8300 or click here to email us.

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