Moving Upmarket: SMB to Enterprise—What Does Your Marketing Plan Need?
July 10, 2019
By Sarah Mead
At the heart of every inbound marketing strategy, the intent is the same: we’re looking to reach best-fit personas for our brand and nurture them with helpful content until they are shouting our brand name from the rooftops. In the B2B world, however, it is important to remember the size of the organization you are trying to reach because it can have many implications for the success of your outreach.
Some strategies are very well suited to reach SMBs, but those same strategies just may not carry the same weight when you’re going after Fortune 500 companies. If your team is heading upmarket and looking to reach more enterprise customers, there are a few key considerations you should make when assessing and reconstructing your marketing plan.
Three Considerations to Inform Your Marketing Action Plan
1. Longer sales process
In most situations when seeking out enterprise clients, you should expect a longer sales cycle—especially when you’re talking about a larger potential deal size. This is crucial for your sales/marketing teams to anticipate so you can plan your touch points and develop properly timed lead nurture workflows.
2. Different personas and decision-making team
At an SMB level, there may be one decision maker who has a budget and can quickly sign on with your product or service. At an enterprise level, however, there are likely multiple departments who will weigh in on the decision-making process—and, depending on the financial investment, the decision may need to go through legal, as well.
3. Type of content
In inbound marketing, we talk a lot about sharing “helpful content.” In this instance, the content will only be helpful if it applies to the buying process at hand. At an enterprise level, you may need more documents to help gain buy-in from other team members, even though that may be completely unnecessary at an SMB level.
Enterprise clients also tend to ask the question, “Who else is using your software/service/product?” When this comes up, it’s helpful to have a few case studies in your back pocket.
If you keep these three considerations in mind, you’ll have no problem revamping your marketing strategy and action plan to better attract enterprise-level clients.
Rethink Your Marketing Plan to Reach Enterprises
Prove Your Credibility
At the enterprise level, prospects will want to know that you have credibility in the space. Prove this through strong partnerships with other companies and brands in your industry. Do what you can to get out there and establish your team as thought leaders early on, so the brand name will carry itself.
Additionally, identify your champions—they’re the ones who will gladly play a role in increasing awareness so other companies see your value, too. A steady investment in PR is another way to carry this credibility and tell your brand’s story. The more frequently you can get bloggers and outlets talking about your brand, the better.
HubSpot Academy "Prof Tip"
"The average B2B purchase today requires 6.8 stakeholders on the buyer’s side, and that number is expected to grow. That’s a lot of complexity for your prospects to handle, so a big part of the B2B sellers job today is to simplify the process as much as possible. If your marketing and sales teams aren’t well aligned, you will only add more complexity to your buyers’ already complex organization. The secret to winning is being organized enough on your own side that you can orchestrate unity and harmony among the members of the buying committee."
- Kyle Jepson, Senior Inbound Sales Professor
Develop Tons of Content
One easy way to show your credibility to enterprise clients is through the content you create. Make sure that you are regularly producing blog content and premium offers, then share the heck out of them on social. Additionally, invite experts from your industry to contribute content through blogs, webinars, social-exclusive content, and podcasts.
Your enterprise audience will be happy to see that these prestigious voices are tied to your brand, and may have an easier time buying in. As mentioned previously, another easy win is focusing on creating case studies and success stories about your product that demonstrate ROI. These materials have the potential to speak volumes about your brand and are crucial in the consideration stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
Expand Your Reach
Further building on your credibility and brand awareness, think about how you’re leveraging those partnerships digitally to drive strong backlinks to your site. Guest blog posts go a long way in terms of link building, but even more importantly, they show your prospective enterprise customers that you are an expert in this field. Pursuing opportunities to speak at industry-specific conferences and trade shows will perpetuate this expertise, as well.
Consider Account-Based Marketing
It’s not always easy to determine who the decision makers and champions are at an enterprise level. If you find that your team is running into trouble with this, it may be worth thinking about adding account-based marketing to your marketing mix. This can help you expand your prospect outreach while also gleaning better insight about your target audience that can inform your marketing in the future.
Remap Your Sales Process
Knowing that you are (most likely) dealing with a longer sales cycle, marketing and sales will need to put their heads together to create a robust process that works for your enterprise buyers. If you are using a CRM such as HubSpot to track your deals, consider adding in any additional stages needed, such as “With Committee” and “Legal Review,” to account for the entire decision-making process. From there, you can start to reverse engineer and allocate your touch points so you are staying helpful and top of mind during the entire decision-making process.
The shift to attract more enterprise-level leads is certainly within reach—you’ll just want to be intentional about how you access this new market. Once you get the right action plan in place and your team is on the same page, you’ll be on the right path to head upmarket.
About the author
Sarah Mead is the Associate VP of Client Services at SmartBug and plays a key role in building and maintaining excellent client experiences that result in happy customers. She is tirelessly passionate about leading her team members to achieve personal growth and success. Outside of work, you'll find Sarah teaching yoga, enjoying the outdoors, taking care of her plant collection, traveling far and wide, and grooving to the latest independent radio hits. Read more articles by Sarah Mead.
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