In this edition of The Executive Corner, we speak with Michael Coscetta, Global Head of Sales – Square.
The Executive Corner is a series with B2SMB marketers and sales leaders.
What do you find most interesting about your role? What is most challenging?
SMBs make up a major plurality of our economy, and they employ the lion-share of employees in the United States. This is a crucial business segment to support, but SMBs tend to be elusive. Because the decision maker (often the owner) is often busy running the business, it can be challenging to reach him/her. Given the daily pressures of running a business, it may be hard for the decision maker to find time, and given the scarcity of time they often aren’t able to keep up with all of the latest trends and innovations. Many of the companies who have cracked this code have taken consumer-acquisition approaches to B2SMB selling. If the product can be adopted through self-service and without the need for complicated installation or training, then the market share should grow organically.
SMB owners are human beings, and they tend to respond more positively to transparency, education, and fairness.
How is your approach to marketing to SMBs different than it would be marketing to consumers or to enterprise companies?
Most businesses, small and large, purchase a product or solution for one of three reasons: 1. To increase revenue, 2. To decrease costs, 3. To increase efficiency. The reasons consumers adopt new products run the spectrum: some are looking for a practical solution to solve a specific problem; some are looking for new ways of doing an existing behavior (think social media for communication); some are just interested in adopting whatever is “cool.” Viral adoption is much more common in the consumer space because of the exponential adoption that typically comes from reason 3 listed above. There is often a halo effect at work with b2b sales as well. If SMBs see an enterprise size company using a product, it’s very common for the SMB to investigate if that product would also be suitable for his/her business. Rarely does this effect work in reverse: very few enterprise companies are looking to SMBs for cues directing them to their next business solution.
What are 2-3 SMB insights have you learned that were game changing for you?
- SMB owners are human beings, and they tend to respond more positively to transparency, education, and fairness. When purchasing something for their business, the owner is often spending his/her OWN money, so there is an extra level of scrutiny. Similarly when building a sales team targeting SMBs, it’s crucial for salespeople to embrace these ideas of transparency and patience to educate.
- Very clearly defining the ideal customer profile (ICP) for an SMB prospect is critical. Given that SMBs are harder to find and often hard to reach, it’s crucial to not waste time in the prospecting and outreach phases of a sales cycle. 3. Optimize for speed and transaction velocity when building an SMB sales team. That way you can quickly test the ICP assumptions and iterate as needed to hone the sales cycle efficiency.
What is one thing you would like to do better in marketing or selling to the SMB market?
I’d like to see SMBs treated as more sophisticated than many presume them to be. Because most product-related information is publicly available on the internet, along with customer reviews and feedback, it’s easy to forget that many buyers are already educated on the basics of a product before they ever engage with a sales person.