A B2B Channel Mid-Market Reality: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
While some B2B organizations struggle penetrating these markets, others have found that fine-tuning their approach and understanding what motivates smaller companies to purchase, and how they do so, not only helps them communicate value they offer mid-market prospects but also helps them recruit and target the partners who serve them.
Lately, our clients have shared which approaches are working and which aren’t when marketing to mid-market prospects through channel partners. While some B2B organizations struggle penetrating these markets, others have found that fine-tuning their approach and understanding what motivates smaller companies to purchase, and how they do so, not only helps them communicate value they offer mid-market prospects but also helps them recruit and target the partners who serve them.
Although most companies define mid-market targets by size (e.g., number of employees or revenue), we challenge them to look further and segment these companies by industry in order to better understand what motivates them to buy. Targeting mid-market prospects by either of these two criteria offers no insight into why they would buy in the first place. Sure, one can begin to point out similarities such as their lack of budgets or limited resources, but that only addresses whether they are pre-disposed to purchase, not what would motivate them to do so. Looking at the differences by verticals (e.g., regional hospitals in healthcare who buy technology solutions to comply with regulatory standards such as HPAA or professional services firms who buy to become more competitive) help suppliers understand what motivates them to advance to the next stage in their buyer’s journey.
Channel partners have also learned that it pays to specialize in certain market segments. For example, by serving the needs of companies in healthcare, education or service industries, they add value to their customers and become trusted advisors. Knowing where the pain is and how to fix it improves their ability to sell solutions and, as they continue doing so, builds a strong set of references they can point to when helping new prospects commit to a solution. Additionally, when a supplier is targeting a mid-market company, knowing how they purchase (through RFP, as a service provided by a third party, etc.) helps them create relevant messaging and enables better response rates — both by customers and partners alike — for their marketing campaigns whether they are looking to recruit new partners or drive leads within a market segment.
“Verticalization” is not the only answer to penetrating mid-market opportunities. However, failing to act on common trends within a vertical hinders companies and makes their offers resonate less with prospects. Our research validates this when we track converted leads at the top of the demand waterfall. Those that do pay attention to the industry issues that compel customers to purchase and identify how they do so using channel partners see better performance in their channel marketing campaigns — and have the performance data to prove it.