How much thought do vendors give before dividing up their salesforce into those targeting audiences such as Large Enterprise, Corporate, Medium Business and Small Business? And where do they place those division lines?
I was talking a couple of years ago to the Head of Strategy for one of the IT giants. He was explaining how their salesforce was organized. I can’t remember the exact numbers now but let’s say Medium Business was for companies with between 200-1000 employees, Corporate was 1000-5000 employees and Large Enterprise was anything above that. Each group had a very different approach to the sales process. When I asked what research they’d done to inform themselves that buyers bought equipment in one way up until say 5000 employees but in a different way beyond that, he admitted they’d done none. He said they’d simply copied Microsoft’s traditional approach. That’s Small Org, Medium Org and Large Org. Or SMORG, MORG & LORG!
I started to think about how companies morphed their buying process as they grew (or downsized). We analyzed as many buying structures as we could over the next twelve months (and still continue to). Companies do exhibit very different buying behavior as they change size and outlook. Also as they move along the centralized / distributed power axis.
But they don’t change buying behavior as they move from 4000 to 6000 employees, or from 100 to 300. The dividing lines salesforces make to carve up how they approach the market is perhaps two decades out of date. How strange that with all the changes in salesforce technology in the past few years, such a fundamental tenet of salesforce organisation has been left untouched. Is that because it’s still working, or because no-one has the data to prove it’s not working?