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The Difference Between Enterprise Sales, SMB, And Mid-Market Sales

You might think the only difference between sales roles is what product you’re selling. However, enterprise and self-service, SMB (small-medium businesses), or mid-market sales are vastly different in their approach to customer engagement within a sales cycle. If you don’t take care to adjust your process for each type of client, it may be difficult for them to trust that you can serve all their requirements without compromising on any front. Learn from team Digitally Global, the true differentiators amongst these various sales processes.

Research suggests only 3% of buyers trust sales reps. Cultivating a healthy relationship from the start of the sales cycle is important for establishing relationships and business opportunities.

Understanding Enterprise Sales

Enterprise sales involve selling large-scale contracts, with multiple decision-makers, a high level of risk, and a much longer sales cycle.

Enterprise sales are the most lucrative, and also the hardest. They have complex contracts with more touchpoints than any other type of sale- even mid-market or SMB sales. It’s not just about getting a customer to sign on for your product; it requires patience from both parties as well as strategic planning to attain a mutually beneficial end goal.

Without a mature product to sell or an established client base for your company’s products, it might not be worth the investment in time (and money) required to build out sophisticated enterprise sales processes just yet.


Enterprise Sales Differs From SMB And Mid-Market Sales

SMBs are typically defined by the number of employees within a company and the business’s revenue. They distinguish small businesses as having fewer than 100 employees or less than $50 million in revenue, and midsize companies as being between 100-999 employees and between $50 million to 1 billion in revenues. If you’re selling for larger entities with more staff, then an Enterprise Sales Strategy may be necessary to achieve your goals; however other types of sales that can be useful depending on how to spread out demographics across buyers might not apply here. Here’s what they could look like:

Self-Service Sales

It is one of the best ways to sell a product and keep a low customer acquisition cost (CAC).

A lot of companies like Dropbox, Facebook, and some retail spaces utilize self-service. It incorporates strategies such as in-context documentation, easy-to-use pricing pages, or chatbots integrated into websites for an easier process. Self-service is quite a high volume which helps customers move through quickly; it’s also pretty great at keeping CAC low because they don’t need any help from employees who would then be paid hourly rates rather than commissions on items sold.

Self-service is an excellent strategy for low-cost products with little technical knowledge needed. It also doubles as a great addition to your sales mix on top of mid-market and enterprise strategies because it can be done by the customer without any additional help from any salesperson.

SMB And Mid-Market Sales

For sales teams, SMB and mid-market transactional can be a bit of heaven. You can decide how many contacts you want per lead as well as what steps in your process are involved based on contract value or product type.

The typical strategy of transactional sales is much more costly and time-consuming than a self-service process. Good marketers drive qualified leads to the sales team, who engages them in the conversation for an extended period before closing the deal through this type of sale.

You will be able to charge more when you use the transaction sales strategy than if your customers are finding and engaging with products themselves. The only downside is that it can take a lot longer for this process of making deals to happen, which means not as many transactions happening in quick succession.


8 Crucial Differences Amongst SMB Sales, Mid-Market Sales, And Enterprise Sales

Here are the key differences between SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise Sales:

Time Taken

The length of time spent on the sales process is usually longer, the more valuable the deal is. The customer dictates self-service sales cycle lengths; transactional sales are slightly longer and more complex, and enterprise deals can be many months to a year in production.

Purchasing Ease

The customer can likely purchase by themselves for both self-service and SMB/mid-market sales, but they need to use a purchase order if it is an enterprise deal.

Decision Makers

The larger the deal, the more decision-makers it will take to close.


A glance at the price point can make purchasing decisions seem more impulsive, but a closer look reveals that enterprise levels require much deliberation.

Pain Points

The customer’s pain is different depending on what company they are buying from. At the self-service, SMB, and mid-market levels their concern will be around immediate needs or individual issues; at the enterprise level, the issue of potential future needs of a company arises more frequently.


Getting Leads

Finding leads is more of a waiting game than an active hunt, especially at the enterprise level. Sales reps find their dream prospect and spend lots of time nurturing them for purchase. The strategy changes in lower-tier sales cycles: instead of creating prospects, they discover them.

Type Of Buyer

Enterprise salespeople have the toughest job because they need to know their market deeply, and understand competitive pricing and account needs. They also need to adapt quickly in a time of change. Sales for small business or mid-market accounts only need to focus on one stage at a time, unlike pressure from all sides with enterprise customers.

CAC: LTV Ratio

When it comes to enterprise sales, your customer’s lifetime value justifies a more resource-intensive process with higher CAC. With small or mid-market customers, automation and less intensive processes are important as the average customer has lower LTVs.

Different products and customer groups need different types of strategies. If you’re selling a product that is easy to use, offers monthly low-cost pricing options, or just has lower price points in general then self-service sales might be the way for you. However, if your customers are more complex with higher ticket deals on their minds an enterprise strategy may suit them best because it drives more incoming revenue than most other models.

The design of your sales process should be customized around the types of customers you hope to meet. Understand their needs and fears, and cater to them with a strategy that makes it easy for them to see how they can benefit from purchasing your product as soon as possible! Your sales strategy mix doesn’t need to be all-or-nothing; in fact, you can include self-service options alongside more traditional enterprise strategies so long as you are aware of who makes up your target customer base.

Sales teams should be educated on the differences between customer types, and how to differentiate their strategy. They need to make sure that everyone feels like they are given a custom-fit experience with each individual being different when it comes down to sales strategies. To know the right target audience for your products/services, for a better conversion rate and overall business growth, click here.

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