Every customer differs from another. While a bunch of customers may be using the same product, the internal goal for each is different. Similarly, enterprises and SMBs have different strategies and goals. Though there are several common key characteristics, there are specific differences one needs to keep in mind while dealing with small, medium-sized, or enterprise businesses.
Every business has customers who fit into the following categories-
- Small businesses are ones that have a lesser number of employees and lower annual revenue ($5 to $10 million)
- Mid-market medium businesses are those companies with less than 500 employees whose annual revenue is less than $1 billion
- Large enterprises are those with over 1000 employees and more than $1 billion in revenue annually
Enterprise customers are the big players in the market. These enterprise customers have longer sales cycles, bigger contracts, advanced security requirements, and more policies. There are also greater deletions and stringent plans. They usually have multiple stakeholders who need to be convinced about the product or company.
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Small-sized companies are still getting up processes and do not have stringent procedures for taking on new partners. SMBs look for immediate results and want to grow towards achieving a profitable business. They typically have shorter buying cycles, up to 90 days. SMBs also want short ‘time to value’ slots. There are a lesser number of stakeholders in the process since the CEO takes a majority of the decisions.
Here are how large enterprises differ from small and medium businesses in terms of-
- Product presentation or demo
- Customer success
- Buyer understanding
The major consideration for this premise is how the selling process is different for SMBs, enterprises, and mid-markets. Let us look at the different companies from different segments.
|Enterprise||Small and Medium Businesses|
|Enterprises and large-scale companies look to check if the product can scale and be efficient.||SMBs will choose companies that grow rapidly and meet their changing needs.|
|Enterprises need well-defined solutions that have strategic fits.||Small and medium businesses have shorter, less stringent policies|
|A single person does not make purchase decisions||A single person makes most purchase decisions|
|Enterprise buyers look at the content to gain information about the product||SMBs search online review sites and confirm with known circles before buying.|
|Longer buying cycles are a definitive feature of enterprise buyers||The buying cycles are shorter since there are limited stakeholders involved|
|Usually have large budgets allocated||Usually possess limited resources|
Presentation or demo process
Pitching to every customer category is difficult. It requires teams to take up a calculated process that gives the desired results. Small businesses need to act based on the choices they have. In some cases, they may not have a lot of budgets associated with a product. This leads to pitching in terms of cost-effectiveness. Another aspect is how in small businesses they get to schedule a call or reply since they will have limited resources and time. They would probably choose a product after careful consideration. Enterprises expect a polished demo and presentation, which will take multiple calls and meetings to finalize.
Enterprise sales are ones that involve higher ticket sizes, risks, and longer sales cycles. SMBs mostly purchase for self-usage, slightly smaller sales cycles, and transactions. The number of decision-makers involved with SMBs and enterprises is also different. There are usually more decision-makers if the deal is large. At other levels, the purchasing decisions are guided by price and the need of the individuals. Sales reps need to find relevant spots and strategic aspects to improve aspects of the purchase. SMBs will be facing lesser pressure as compared to enterprise companies. Enterprise sales can even take up to a year to see the light. Sales for enterprises have multiple processes and involve high-level buyer and seller involvement. There is a lot of involvement and engagement at various levels from SMB reps.
Every company differs in terms of what content formats they would prefer or consume. SMBs and mid-sized businesses use word of mouth, recommendations, and trust as the primary factors in choosing a product. For example: If one SMB has a friend or peer who is using a product, they will probably settle for the same product. Enterprises pick blogs, case studies, pitch decks, and more so that they can make a choice. When sales reps in enterprises choose to present the company to their seniors, they expect to add in facts, stories, and presentations. Content is necessary to spruce a brand and establish a rapport with the reader. Creating the right content based on buyer segments and niches will help close the deal faster.
SMBs and enterprises have different pain points. This is why understanding their journey and problems is specifically important. Enterprises and large companies have set buying processes that are established and different from SMBs. Larger companies have more concerns because of the scale of usage. SMBs have more reservations due to decreased budgets and customized requirements. Some companies prefer stable products where innovation happens frequently.
Every company needs to identify what stage the buyer is in their journey. This means how they are handling profits, growth, and revenue. SMBs and enterprises also work based on their contribution, existing accounts, and competition. Knowing this will help reach out to prospects based on those aspects to close a deal.
Enterprises and SMBs differ in terms of how their customers reach success. Small and medium businesses have a lower LTV (lifetime value) for customers as compared to enterprises. Enterprises or large companies have more resources and processes. They can afford a higher custom acquisition cost and are willing to spend more. For customer success, enterprises have a lot more processes and necessary adherence making it tough to meet all the requirements. SMEs have smaller account sizes; thus, helping them in a focused manner is possible.
There is a vast difference in how something needs to be marketed to enterprises as compared to SMEs. The core ethos is more than just the number of employees or the revenues. It is the audience and employees in question. Enterprises are more geographically spread and diverse. There is more variety in the audience. Small businesses need more of a narrowing down when it comes to marketing. They would prefer niche marketing. This is in contrast with how larger enterprise-scale companies want broader marketing by segmenting commonalities. Multichannel marketing or Omnichannel marketing will prove more effective in these processes.
Serve Each Segment in a Driven Way
For any company, it is important to consider the buyer or prospect while devising a strategy. For larger deals, it is crucial to expect more incoming revenue and hence different strategies. For smaller companies, you need to offer low-touch tech models that have self-service or are easy to use. This allows you to segment and serves accordingly. Keeping all processes centered around the buyer will enhance overall success rates and streamline the process.18
Companies must keep the buyer at the core of all processes so that all customer types have their queries answered. Understanding buyer needs and wishes to ensure the product fits in is important. Improving the education of employees in sales, customer success, marketing, product, and HR about customer types is essential to creating custom-fit processes.
Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of experience. He loves tech products and book reading. He writes on philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.
Published September 09, 2022, Updated March 02, 2023