By Ian Hunter, Journalist & former editor of Comms Business Magazine
In the business world, mid-market organisations are not so precisely defined. Never the less, they display characteristics that are frequently found to be common and traits that need to be recognised and understood by channel resellers.
Size alone does not entirely define mid-market companies. These organisations are generally considered to have between 100 and 999 employees. Of the 5.7 million businesses in the UK, the Office for National Statistics (December 2018) reported there to be approximately 24,000 organisations that fall in to this mid-market category.
Positioning products and services to this sector needs different strategies to be considered when compared smaller businesses, with say 20 to 40 employees. Within smaller firms, the decision makers are frequently multi-tasking business owners. In the mid-market, hierarchical structures require wider consultation.
The goal for IT resellers at the bottom of the funnel is to get people over the finish line — dealing with questions and objections that come up at the end. At the middle of the funnel, the goals are to nurture prospects, gain a broader consensus and accelerate their journey toward the close.
Growing mid-market organisations are more likely to have an in-house IT team focused deriving a competitive advantage from their business applications. Generally, but by no means exclusively, IT managers here have an informed opinion and are looking for more sophisticated capabilities that will deliver the differentiation their board craves.
The task for the reseller is therefore one of firstly, understanding what the company is trying to achieve, its goals for the future and how it intends to reach those objectives. Secondly, the reseller needs to show how they can manage big challenges without the wider range of resources that larger companies have. In other words, how to get noticed in the market.
The mid-market IT leader can’t be aware of all available solutions. They simply don’t have the bandwidth; their job is to primarily keep the lights on, to liaise with the business leaders and to understand the business imperatives.
Therefore, the reseller role is to also understand those business imperatives.
I attend many trade shows but when I observe exhibitor companies in action, they’re always pitching their product, and when I walk around the booths at a conference and I see dozens of them with niche product solutions. That’s not the mid-market deal-making process. You have to engage the prospective buying company in a conversation, and that conversation needs to start by asking: ‘What are your key issues and your key aspirations in this business?’
And then the reseller should not try to be all things to all people.
What I mean by this is that one of the key factors in marketing to mid-market organisations is understanding both what you are capable of doing yourselves and what aspects of the sales process you can’t. There’s little point kidding yourself either way as you’ll soon get found out.
For resellers that get this, one solution is to work with vendor partners that can help them deliver that whole solution…
Ian Bevington says…
Typically, mid-market requirements extend across multiple teams, departments or sites. Organisations should begin by getting to grips with their full range of requirements. This may be completed using internal resource, or with the help of a specialist partner, depending on the complexity and level of internal expertise.
In addition, mid-market organisations are more likely to take a structured approach to IT deployment. It’s important to choose applications and services that fit with your chosen deployment model and IT frameworks, both now and in the future. How quickly is your business growing? Are you likely to swap out key infrastructure elements, for example, an aging legacy telephone system? Is digital transformation likely to drive integrated systems? The answer to these questions will help you define your requirements more accurately.
As provider of communication management solutions, we work hard to fit with the end user’s chosen deployment models and IT frameworks. We include the features and capabilities necessary to assist with compliance, ensure adherence to policy, improve customer experience and simplify administration.