Market researchers SMB Group is reporting that it sees a distinct category of SMEs emerging, a category that the company is terming “Progressive.” Despite economic uncertainties, these Progressive companies plan to increase IT spending.

These companies see technology as a vital tool for business transformation, a mechanism to create market advantage and a way to level the playing field against bigger companies.

Although price is still a key factor for these Progressives, they are more likely to rate other factors—such as ease of customisation, strong reputation and brand, and ability to provide local service and support—higher than price when making technology decisions.

But how do you find these key prospects? INCo, whose business is finding and qualifying sales leads for IT and Consulting firms, claim that there is no susbstitute for detailed market knowledge.

According to INCo’s managing director, Neil Ritchie, “Shotgun marketing is no longer going to get results. What’s needed today is precise targeting, and you only get that from intensive contact with the market. Market intelligence and insight - such as that supplied by INCo - is the key to developing successful sales in this fragmented market.”

SMB Group say that Progressive companies invest more in technology and expect to see the results in terms of higher revenue expectations. (SMB Group has found that 73% of medium businesses that are investing more in technology anticipate revenue increases in 2012, compared to just 17% among those decreasing IT spending).

Technology vendors need to develop different sales campaigns and more sophisticated solutions and target Progressives if they are to win in this very important segment.