Marketing to Enterprise versus Small Business

Knowing who you are “talking” to is essential to creating a marketing strategy that works. Creating personas, breaking down the industry you are targeting, and knowing how to get your message in front of the right people are all important. The size of the business also has an impact. In this episode of the SMA Marketing Minute, we are going to talk about the differences between marketing to enterprise-level companies and smaller businesses and solopreneurs.

This week’s question comes from Jason Weeks.

I’m interested to hear marketers’ views on marketing to large scale enterprise versus small business and sole practitioner users.

Great question! Check out the video below to hear my answer, or read the transcript.

Can’t see the video?  Click here. 

Video Transcript:

Hey, what’s up everybody? In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about the difference between marketing to an enterprise-level business or a smaller business or solopreneur. When you’re talking to an enterprise business, usually you have different point people and you’ve got to kind of figure out who is that decision maker in the corporation, because it’s the decision maker who is going to really be the one to pull the final trigger and say, “yes, let’s go with it.”

There are a couple ways you can do that. You can either try to target the decision maker as a whole or maybe you can target some of the influencers underneath that decision maker and above that decision maker to kind of put some pressure on them to make that decision. Price isn’t as big of an issue a lot of times when you’re talking to enterprise companies, but what is a big issue is effectiveness, return on investment and making sure that it’s going to get the company towards their goals in the long run.

For me, as an agency, when I’m positioning something to a larger business, I’m trying to talk about business growth and revenue over time and how this is going to bring more talent to the company and how what we do is going to just build the brand as a whole. I also want to make sure that I’m having that conversation with a decision maker because the decision maker is the one who is going to be able to actually say yes. A lot of times we market to the people underneath and we do a really good job, but we haven’t convinced the decision maker. If you don’t convince the decision maker, especially when you’re talking about enterprise level businesses, you’re not really going to go anywhere. You’re going to get a lot of following but you may not really get those sales that you want.

On the flip side, when you’re talking to a small business owner or a solopreneur, they usually are the decision maker. Their biggest issue is getting their money back and seeing a return and actually growing their business. For them, it’s a much bigger risk to buy something new, to try something new, because if it fails, it could really impact the health and the longevity of their business. When we’re talking to smaller businesses we want to make sure that we can connect with them on an emotional level and help them see that what we’re presenting to them, what we’re selling to them is actually going to make their life better. In order to do this well, your product actually has to do that, otherwise you’re just manipulating people and we don’t want to go there because that doesn’t help you. It doesn’t help anybody in the long run. If you have a product that you believe in and know that’s going to work really, really well, you just need to make sure that your story aligns with them.

You can have the same product and sell at an enterprise level, you can sell at a small business level, but your story is going to be different. Enterprise level, you’re talking to gatekeepers, decision makers. You’re trying to align with their needs and their pain points: how this is going to impact their job, help them move up the ladder and help them grow their business in their part of the company. For small business owners, you want to connect with them on an emotional level and show that, yes this is a costly investment, but this investment is going to help you grow your business. It’s going to help you make your business what you want it to be. Tell them a story that resonates with their dreams.

Those are kind of the two biggest differences I see when marketing at an enterprise level and a small business level. The difference between gatekeepers, the difference in pricing and the impacts on the companies big and small, are definitely different because of the cash flow and the capital.

I hope you like this episode of the SMA Marketing Minute. We’ll be back soon with another one. Thanks a lot for watching. Stay tuned.

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SMA Marketing Global Digital Marketing Agency Ryan Shelley Founder and CEO Headshot
Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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