Shawn is the VP of Marketing for PandaDoc overseeing all intertwined marketing efforts to scale the company to its next inflection point.
Getting the midmarket right is so important from a broader business perspective. If you can do midmarket right, you have a much better chance at getting into enterprise and SMB. But the midmarket can be tricky, and a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is often a recipe for disaster. What works well for small businesses or large enterprises will not necessarily be successful for midmarket companies. Midmarket companies are at the sweet spot in their growth where autonomy meets accountability, where activity (what gets done) and impact (how well it worked) perform in perfect unison together.
Enterprise companies often value activity regardless of the tangible business impact. They’ll spend a lot of money on resources and manpower, but the day-to-day impact often gets lost. Many people in enterprise companies long for the days when things were less complicated and actually “moved the needle,” so the potential to bring that back to their work life can be personally rewarding. Conversely, small businesses typically focus sharply on immediate impact. They don’t have the budget or manpower to waste, so if they don’t see ROI immediately, it’s generally not worth their time or money. Many small businesses want to be more sophisticated like larger companies, so figuring out how to do more, do it quickly and still drive results is very attractive.
For marketers, these differences speak volumes about how we can target the midmarket — they aren’t just growing SMBs or slightly less advanced enterprises. They really are a different beast and should be targeted as such. In my experience, the key for messaging to the midmarket is articulating a solution that allows them to move quickly, understand if the results are what they expected and then be able to take action. Outlined below are a few key characteristics of midmarket customers and strategies marketers can employ to reach them.
Market The Problem
If they have a problem, many midmarket companies aren’t afraid to seek and spend money on the right solution. They’ll do their homework, they’ll scour the internet, they’ll search review sites and they’ll read blogs to find a solution that addresses their problem at a price point they are comfortable with. When it comes to solving a problem, midmarket companies can typically see the value in short- and long-term investments without losing sight of impact.
This is why striking the right balance between inbound and outbound strategies is so important. Typically, outbound strategies take your product to your prospects, while inbound strategies bring your prospects to you. When marketing to the midmarket, take your outbound strategy a step further by creating a halo effect around the problem — not just your offering — and make sure your inbound efforts support that.
For example, if your product is a workflow solution, you should market workflow as a problem. Your SEO, your paid ads, your content marketing and even your presence on review sites should all be focused on the problem. That way, when your prospects start their research, they’re sure to find you. Then empower your sales team to close the gap between problem and solution. Events are a great way to market a problem that allows sales to showcase a solution to a captive audience.
Another great example of this is account-based marketing platform Terminus. The company created an entire community around the problem, and according to its website, its Flip My Funnel community includes hundreds of thousands of leading professionals in sales, marketing and customer success.
Hitch Your Wagon To A Bigger Horse
Midmarket companies often go with what’s known to them. For example, if they are using a CRM or project management solution that they know and trust, they are likely receiving emails from those solutions, following them on LinkedIn or tuning into their podcasts. So if they are looking for new solutions, they may look for a product that is similar to, or even integrated with, solutions they are already using.
To reach the midmarket, align yourself with companies that are already well-known. Co-marketing partnerships are a great example of this strategy. There may be a more established or bigger company in your field — not a competitor, but a company that has a similar audience as yours — that is trusted among its customer cohort. Find out how to collaborate with them: Co-sponsor a webinar, cross-promote on social media, contribute to their blog and treat them like an influencer in your space so that their audience naturally becomes familiar with your product.
Dangle A Carrot With Tangible Assets
Midmarket companies often want to move fast to get things done. They don’t need to recreate the wheel every time. Instead, they may prefer to find effective shortcuts that pay off. So give them a running start to reach their objective.
For a document workflow company like mine, templates are a great example of a tangible asset that give midmarket companies a running start. They may not need a fully customized proposal or presentation, but they could use help getting started so they can customize the template to their needs. This is a great way for companies to become familiar with your brand.
Everyone likes free stuff, so be generous. That’s not to say you should give your product or service away for free indefinitely, but find a tangible asset that you could provide to make prospects’ lives easier. It could be a free sample or a trial period, but it should be something meaningful to your audience. (For that matter, you could also give them your audience — have them on your podcast or have them write a guest post for your blog.)
In many ways, the midmarket is like Goldilocks, so your marketing strategy for these companies needs to hit “just right.” It shouldn’t be overly complicated but also shouldn’t be watered down. Hopefully, these strategies will help you stay in the sweet spot with your midmarket audience.