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  • Clare Tweed

List of SMEs (UK) – choosing the right list for marketing your products and services

Are you looking for a list of UK SMEs to promote your products and services towards your target markets?

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

With so many competing SME lists available online, it’s important to know:

  • which questions you should be asking any potential supplier about their databases as well as

  • knowing in advance the marketing methods you’re going to use so that you can maximise your return on investment.

In this articles, we’ll examine:

what the official definition of a UK SME is

which companies’ details we hold on our SME database

the information about each company contained on our list of UK SMEs

the products and services our customers sell to firms with the database

the contact methods on our list that you can use in your marketing campaigns to SMEs,

why you should be thinking twelve months ahead,

choosing between DIY versus managed marketing services, and

customers’ most frequently asked questions when buying business data lists

Do you have questions you’d like to speak with one of our account managers about?

Please give us a call on 0330 010 8300 or email clare@morethanwordsuk.co.uk.


The official UK SME definition

There are two main differences between SMEs and large companies – turnover and number of staff.

Measured by number of employees

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

But there are three 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%)

Measured by turnover and number of staff

When classified by turnover and number of staff, the standard UK definition (a remnant of our former EU membership) of business sizes 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 SME database?

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

More Than Words’ extensive, continually-updated, and GDPR-compliant B2B email database contains over 350,000 UK business decision makers within limited companies.

The vast majority of the businesses contained on our database are SME companies.

We have an even greater number of postal addresses and telephone numbers of limited company business decision makers with budgetary and purchasing responsibility for your products and services.


What information you get with each record on your list of SMEs in the UK

On each record, there are fields for:

Contact name

Contact telephone number

Company name

Line of business

Email address

Postal address

Telephone number (normally main switchboard number)

Website address

Information on size (turnover, number of employees, and so on)

Please note that not each field is populated in every record.


Do you sell contact details of sole trader and partnership SMEs?

No.

We used to but we don’t now because of the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in 2018.

Prior to that, marketing to sole traders and partners with business promotion was permitted by email, phone, and postal mailing.

Before GDPR, company owners wanted to buy the email addresses of sole traders and partners to market their products and services to them.

That hasn’t changed but GDPR now meant that sole traders’ and partnerships’ business-related email addresses were now considered personal information.

This reclassification meant that compiling B2B marketing lists to sole traders and partnerships, in essence and practice, became impossible.

Being unable to sell email addresses for sole traders and partnerships has meant that there is not enough commercial return in compiling marketing databases for companies.

That’s because, while there is still interest in telemarketing and postal marketing lists, the demand is not great enough to cover the costs of compiling and updating a sole trader and partnership database.


Do I have to buy the entire database?

No – in fact, we’d rather you didn’t.

Why is that? With our UK SME list, you can choose to contact decision makers by email, over the telephone, and by post.

The most important aspect of our service is that YOU choose which companies and decision makers you target based upon your assessment of how likely they are to need your products and services.


How do you select or profile data from our SME list?

For example, let’s say that you are a wholesale potato supplier.

You might want to target restaurants, hotels, caterers, and more because they use potatoes regularly in the course of their work and you want them to choose your company over their current supplier.

However, there is no commercial value to you in selecting accountants, solicitors, or vets from our database because they do not bulk buy potatoes for their businesses.

When you speak with an account manager at More Than Words, their job is to go through line by line with you the most relevant categories on our database to make sure you only select targets of use to you.

The amount you spend on data and marketing affects the level of return you make.

Our job is to make sure your targets are completely relevant so that we keep your costs down.


Products and services our customers sell to firms on our SME company list for the UK

Our clients sell a variety of different products and services to the companies on our SME data list.

One of the biggest selling points about using our service is that, when you speak with an account manager to choose your targets, they’re often able to suggest other categories or sub-categories of business which you might not have considered before.

We want to make sure that you’re seen by the most relevant audience possible and our team of account managers have worked with over 17,000 businesses across 400 different sectors. They have a lot of experience they can bring to your direct marketing campaigns.

There are three main types of products and service we help clients sell:

fixed cost products and services

sales cost products and services, and

specialist products and services.

When you speak to us, we’ll make sure that we fully understand the type of product and service you sell and that we only choose the decision makers likely to benefit the most from your products and services.


Fixed cost products and services

Fixed costs are those costs which businesses must meet 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 (gas and electric), and so on.

These types of products have the widest audience and lower profit margins so 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 cost you to fulfil those orders.

Can you reduce your target clients’ sales costs?

For example, if you are food and drink supplier, could you reduce the sales costs of hospitality 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 or which 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, an auditor is needed for companies whose turnover is higher.

For a big industrial company working on tight margins, a specialist utility broker with experience in the sector is of more use than a general utility broker whose experience may be better for smaller office and retail units.

For companies offering specialist products and services, we can specify decision-makers with specific responsibilities like for facilities, finance, fleet, HR, marketing, operations, purchasing, and telecommunications.


How can I approach the businesses whose details are listed on your SME companies list?

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 negligible.

Postal mail marketing

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

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 anymore

For every £1 you spend on postal mail marketing, you can expect a £5 return if the quality of the inserts contained in the envelope are well-written and of high quality.

Telephone marketing

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

Unlike with email and postal marketing, you get the chance to start a two-way conversation with the budget-holding decision makers within the business sectors most likely to buy your products and services.

Many More Than Words’ clients believe that the type of client they receive as a result of telemarketing campaigns spend more and more often with them than clients found by email or postal marketing.


Using your SME list over the course of a year

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

By marketing to 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.

Remember that, even if yours was the best-known and most-trusted brand name in your industry, that only 5% of the people you contact by email, phone, or post at any given time are in the market – or in the right part of the buying cycle.

By being seen every month for a year, you’re far more likely to be seen when the decision makers 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:

database-only service – 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.


Frequently asked questions when buying business data lists

Is your database a list of all UK companies?

Yes, but as we mentioned earlier, we don’t want you to buy the entire database.

We only want you to buy those records which make commercial sense to you – those companies with a need for your products and service.


Can I select UK companies by employee size with your SME business database?

Yes – we have the following employee bands available:

No employees

1-5 employees

6-10 employees

11-19 employees

20-49 employees

50-99 employees

100-249 employees

250+ employees

Hasn’t there been substantial growth in the number of small businesses in recent years?

There has been a huge growth in the number of small businesses in the last 15 years.

Most of the new businesses created are personal service businesses – in other words, the type of company structure a business person chooses to save tax when they become an independent contractor.

This sector has grown by 89% between 2000 and 2019.

The number of micro businesses has grown 26% in the same time period, small companies by 30%, and medium sized businesses between 33%.

Do you sell a list of companies with turnover information?

Yes although not every record we have for each company on our database contains the level of turnover.

If this is of particular importance to you, please let your account manager know when you speak with him or her.

If the number of staff a potential target business has is of importance to you, ask us about selecting your audience from our list of UK companies by employee size instead.

Can you provide me with a list of UK company websites?

Yes. Please let your account manager know that each record we supply you of the companies you’re targeting must have the addresses of their websites.

Could I not just do a director search on Companies House to find out decision maker names?

Yes however the Companies House database does not contain telephone numbers, email addresses, or more nuanced business category descriptions.

Does your list contained newly registered companies in the UK?

Yes although there is a time lag between the creation of new limited companies and our ability to collect their contact, trading, and financial information from them.

The companies which appear as new on our database may be 18 months old or more.

Do you sell a medium-sized companies list?

Yes. Please ask your account manager to supply you with a count of companies you’re targeting which have been 50 and 250 employees.


Getting in touch with More Than Words

We’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your marketing and revenue goals for selling to UK small-to-medium sized enterprises.

You’ll find our team friendly, knowledgeable, and informative – they’re determined to help you achieve your commercial and sales targets when you work with them.

To speak with an account manager to select the SMEs most likely to want to buy from you and the type of message you should send them to provoke a positive and immediate response, please call us on 0330 010 8300 or email clare@morethanwordsuk.co.uk.

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Unit 21, Albion House, West Percy Street,

North Shields, Tyne & Wear NE29 0DW

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