Size Matters?

Did you know that SMBs account for 54% of all sales in the USA? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the majority of sales that occur within this country benefit small or midsize businesses. When you hear “SMB”, you might think of local mom-and-pop shops.

Do you also think of new technology, rapid employment growth, and innovation within the world’s emerging markets?

If not, it’s time to overhaul how you view small or midsize businesses. If you’re a company that targets small or midsize businesses, it’s important to understand how to message and sell in ways that differ from big brand marketing.

In this article, we’ll explore a few of the main differences, and how they impact the ways you go to market.

“Rethink the ways you go to market”

Large companies have different budgets, resources, concerns, challenges, and successes than smaller businesses. Understanding these differences and leveraging them to message the right people at the right time can change your ability to get results.

Pain points are different

In large companies, you’re likely to find a focus on increasing revenue, improving efficiency, and decreasing budgets. According to Gartner, many large companies stagnate in decision making due to having to reach a consensus among several shareholders.

Often, the lowest common denominator everyone can agree on is saving the company money.

For this reason, you might find larger companies are more attracted to addressing the pain point that promises increased revenue for the lowest spending. On the other hand, SMBs might have a smaller sphere to influence to make a decision, and their key pain points are likely achieving stability, scaling, or saving money over the long-term. For self-funded SMBs in particular, growth is not just a target, but a measure without which the company cannot remain profitable. Keep these pain points in mind when communicating with decision-makers.

The paths to the sale are not consistent

In larger companies, you’re likely to find an established path to sale — that is, there is a buying process in place or at least a precedent for how these decisions get made. SMBs are less likely to have this buying process in place, and in many cases operate more like a B2C customer. For example, 48% of larger business buyers will look at varying pieces of content before making a tech purchase. For SMBs, the focus is more likely to be on searching for the right vendors and paying special attention to referrals. Word-of-mouth plays a more important role, and companies who want to be noticed by SMBs should focus on SEO, referral programs, and other ways of getting “found”.

The decision-making process is more nimble in SMBs

This one may sound like common-sense, but it’s important to keep in mind as you move through the sales process. Enterprise-level sales might require consensus at an executive level or buy-in from multiple groups. Smaller companies are usually able to make faster, more agile decisions. Another consideration is that for larger companies, a final decision might need to be made by an executive who is not the final user, whereas at smaller companies the person who is deciding to make the purchase is also likely the end user, or at least an influencer. Identify these targets ahead of time and craft your messaging accordingly.

There are a few tactical differences in marketing or selling to SMBs rather than enterprise companies. Take a look at our reference chart below for a quick breakdown.

The demands and ways of meeting those demands are different depending on the size of a company.

Size does matter, whether you’re marketing or selling!



Ro Bhatia is the COO at; a subscription billing and e-commerce platform. He has also held leadership roles at Yahoo, eBay, Homedepot.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store