Whenever I am in a discussion with CEO of a Startup or a smaller technology service provider, the most frequently question asked is “how a startup can compete with established Enterprise as a competitor?” The question here is valid but if we talk about facts, they might get disappointed. Let’s talk about Enterprises having substantially more resources like experienced sales teams, well established mature technology and vast marketing and financial budgets, both cannot be equivalent but by standing firm and focusing on your strengths and their weaknesses you must compete and try to win as much as you can.
In large enterprises, all the recurring operational, sales and marketing costs are much higher and drains over 50% of the new generating revenues every year, out of which a prodigious ratio is wasted on the areas with no return on investment (ROI). Most oftenly, there is one simple question that can boost morals of these startups and that is you obviously know who are your large competitors but can you name their top solutions? And most of the time the answer is No.
An interesting phenomenal fact about large enterprises is that they spend every year Millions of their Marketing budgets and HR efforts on Branding their Name as a ‘Vendor’ rather than developing the credibility we associate with a trusted advisor. Their key sales resources are rushing into the market to simply looking for the next deal or another customer and that is not included in their roadmap to invest in people or at clients who are not spending at the moment to develop/earn trusted technology advisors and that’s how they will be unable to meet their sales targets, resulting in no bonus.
Keeping in view the above points, there are many other areas where startups should focus and through their technical experience and exposure they can use these areas into a kick-start for competing with these white
Now let’s talk about the key weaknesses of an Enterprise? Generally, large enterprises wangled a high-level of complexity in their sales strategy that they have already lost their sight of the fact that they operate in what is
effectively a Niche Market, a market with a perceptible and practicable space of conventional clients.
A vital fact is that most of the large firms only develop relationships with few hundred targeted organizations leaving a huge space for startups to explore the unobserved areas. They are simply preparing themselves to
compete with the enterprises in their confined targeted clients. Their marketing departments are whipping out campaign after campaign, most of which misses the main targets. Talking about their sales team and strategies
which are getting even worse with their growth flight, they have already lost their vision of how they started at first, what were the essentials and cores of their business, their initial small to mid-scale clients and the
upmost having relationships with the market.
Such weaknesses by enterprises is the actual strength of Startups, Don’t try to compete with them – Play differently.
First thing first, identify your market by shortlisting clients with a simple qualifying criteria i.e. their location, firm size, industry and their current suppliers. Once you have listed down all these parameters, you would be
able to get a smaller and more manageable number of firms and market on which you can focus & invest precisely. Secondly, start recognizing decision makers in each client specially those who are the initiators and
have strong influence on the buying processes. It’s feasible to expect that the list of key people within these firms would result into a manageable list – probably a few hundred people but this effort will save spending of
thousands on the PR, events or exhibitions to generate prospective sales.
In the beginning you don’t need to build a large Sales team with high-paid resources to identify the opportunities in the today’s buyers just to lose the deals against large enterprises. The best winning strategy here is to on-board few proficient and wise people from your team who can identify and qualify the decision makers in the segmented market and then cost effectively building and maintaining a healthy relationship with them which then consequently position you as a trusted partner / specialist. The distinct advantage – when they come out to buy – they should know their first preference would be you and you.