Tech Target has a new blog, My Educated Guess, that has a brief article on marketing to the mid-market. I’ve been the mid-market route in a couple of companies, and I’ve found that it’s exceedingly difficult to get discipline around it. I remember explaining my rule of thumb to one sales guy: If you’ve heard of the company, they’re probably not right for us. The CEO was a big proponent of focusing on the mid-market. “It takes a mid-market company to sell to a mid-market company.” At first blush, this didn’t really make all that much sense, but did have a logic of its own if you thought about it. Since they might not be that large an account to the “big guys”, mid-market companies might get lost in the support shuffle. With a company more their size, they could (theoretically, at least) get better support, the personal touch, a call from the CEO, etc.
At least that’s what we tried for. In reality, even with the CEO touting the brilliance of our mid-market strategy, sales just never got in line. Sales guys wanted bragging rights to the big deal, bagging rights to the big logo. “We’re hunting elephants,” they’d say, “Not squirrels.” Naturally, the company closed enough big logo (big buck) deals to have everyone in the sales force salivating after the big commissions. Despite all the do-or-die effort we’d put in on proposals we stood scant change of winning, we didn’t win many of these big logo deals. Maybe it was just as well. When we did win the logo deals, we had usually been squeezed so hard on price, product changes, and support that we actually lost money on the account.