5 Pitfalls Startups in SMB Market Should Avoid

Types of customers

  • Single person. B2C
  • SMB. B2B
  • Enterprise. B2B
  B2B and B2C, as everyone knows, needs a completely different approach. Selling to B2B, both in SMB and Entreprises gets harder as time passes on.  

Here's a Scenario

Imagine that you have experience with Account-Based Marketing. You have been working with its principles for years now. And, you are aware that only Enterprise level companies could finance the operation. Now you plan to create a SaaS startup, to make it easier for SMB Salespeople to practice ABM. Relevant: What is Account-Based Marketing When a startup starts, they have one goal. In this case, the goal was to make it easy for salespeople, working within SMB, to get leads using your service. You hire a few developers, explain the product need. With Salespeople as your primary stakeholders, you start to make your SaaS product. But as you continue, you realise there are more than one stakeholders. Even though your primary stakeholder is the Salespeople. You have to spend time and resources to convenience other stakeholders to buy from you. These other stakeholders could be, Sales Managers, Finance Officers, or Purchase Team. At this point, most startups fail, because of the shift in the primary stakeholder.

Here's what happens

Customer success team start taking feedback. The Managers, CEOs and such become higher in priority while neglecting Salespeople. Because at this point in your journey, keeping the Y-o-Y Growth is more important. And if you don't listen to the people who pay your bills, you lose. Some startups fail stuck between a tug-of-war of stakeholders. How do you ensure growth is certain?

Identify your true Stakeholder

Niche Down and serve very specific customers. This still holds true in 2020, and like be a much stronger principle for the years to come. Starting out, spend time on finding who your Stakeholder Persona is. Once you identify this persona, Stick to it, till the end. The job of your customer success team is to ensure the Stakeholder persona should be catered to at all ends. Ideally, Stakeholder persona should be in the centre of your company. All the new updates should help solve your Stakeholder's need. All marketing efforts should for the people who fall into your stakeholder persona.
The focus of customer success, predicts the direction of your company growth.

Sell to the Targeted Stakeholder

Selling products to SMBs is a whole different game. Be it a Sales Automation Tool, Marketing Integration Platform, or even good old CRMs. Usually, the people who will end up using your product will have no say in the purchasing decision. So to get to your end customer, you will have to show how valuable your product is to your end customer. Things get complicated. Continuing with our previous example for Account-Based Marketing tool. Designed for the Sales and Marketing Team, the Purchasing Head or HR might fail to see the value. You will spend resources and time to explain to HR how the Sales and Marketing team will get value from this tool. When you come across a client, with a different chain of command, things will start to get complicated. For example, these are the few popular types of Company Structures out there:

Founders > Sales Team Founders > Sales Manager > Sales Team Founders > Purchasing Team > Sales Manager > Sales Team


The Pitfall

This is the pitfall. There will be many SMBs out there with unique layouts. It would be a huge waste of resource to focus on all the layouts out there.  


Pick any metric. It could be the company size, number of Salespeople, Annual Revenue, or any other metric. Work with only the customers who fall in your selected persona.