As B2B marketers, we're pretty good at segmenting by company size. The bigger the company, the bigger the budget, the bigger the requirement. It's pretty much about scale, right?
Our Buyersphere 2015 Report revealed a few personal differences that might add a little colour to the picture. We asked 211 B2B buyers about their behaviour during the buying cycle – what they did, what they felt, what information they sought, etc. The major findings have been published in a full report and discussed in a recent webinar– but we also thought this was an opportunity to separate responses from different types of buyer and ask the question: do the buyers from large companies differ from those in SMEs? And, if so, how?
We've summarised the differences in the infographic below (or a 'personagraphic' as we've taken to calling it), which you can also download here for better legibility.
As with all data, you can interpret however you please, but we think It highlights a few clear differences that could be very useful, for example:
1. With SMEs, you’re more likely to deal with the boss.
96% of buying decisions are made at board level or with the involvement of the CEO. In the research, 66% of SME respondents were the ultimate decision maker – only 44% of enterprise respondents had the same authority.
2. SMEs are more cost-conscious.
45% of SMEs in the research described their perfect supplier as “offering best price”, compared to only 34% of enterprise buyers. A reasonable conclusion is that senior buyers in smaller companies are more likely to be business owners – and therefore effectively playing with their own money. Also note that SMEs cared less about non-cost-related characteristics such as “honesty” and “trustworthiness”.
3. Buyers in larger companies need more justification.
Enterprise buyers appear to place greater value on external input to the sales process – statistics show they are more likely to read reports by external analysts, involve external parties in the process and to source advice from colleagues/friends. Maybe larger companies simply have a longer, more formal process – or maybe enterprise buyers need more evidence to justify a decision.
4. SMEs are more likely to search online and access supplier websites.
45% of SMEs used search engines compared to 32% of enterprise buyers. Without the external support mentioned above, perhaps SMEs are bound to turn to Google…
What can we take from this?
Again, it is tempting – but unwise – to leap to conclusions. We must remember that the Buyersphere research surveyed 211 B2B buyers in the UK. It didn't survey YOUR customers (probably). But it is very possible that your own research might yield similar insight. How do you adapt your messaging, your offers, your web pages, your tone of voice when talking to the different types of buyer? It's worth looking into it – and if this research snapshot has helped prompt you, then it's been worthwhile