Thursday 16 September 2010

Enterprise vs. SMB sales

I'm hearing a lot of startups dreaming of selling to enterprises. That's fine if they can pull it off, however not very likely to be able to do it fast.

When deciding to sell to enterprises consider the following:
- long sell cycles: be prepared to work long time to secure a deal. Decisons are almost never made by just one person in large companies.
- custom made: enterprises won't adapt to your solution, you will have to do it, which will increase your cost and more importantly take the developees away from their code activities
- almost no repeatability
- lawyers!
- great for branding: big names are great for name dropping
- lucrative, if successful

On the other hand selling to small and midsized business:
- scalable: if you hit it right
- painful feedback: customers vote with their feet
- short sales cycles
- repetability designing once, deploying many times
- cheaper sales, for lower price

They are both valid approaches, however one has to be careful when setting the product and sales strategy. Enterprises and SMBs are different beasts.

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