2.1 Segmenting the Market

The picture below depicts pricing in the form of deal size (ACV) vs. volume. In subscription sales you can start with a freemium user, who start to pay, (pro-user), is part of a small company (VSB) or a group in a company (SMB), or a division of a regional company (MidMarket), or a subsidiary of a national company (Enterprise). Some companies even add global conglomerates (F500) to the picture.The Figure 13  Market segmentation based on Deal Size (ACV)

2.2 The Importance of the SMB Segment


When companies start in SMB and move towards Enterprise this is referred to as moving Up-Stream.  Companies that sell to the enterprise and are wish to sell to the faster paced SMB market or Pro-User market is called going Down-Stream.

The most common problem is that companies see that moving UpStream or Downstream is primarily that this is only something the sales focuses on.  However, following segmentation, a company must identify the impact for every department.  Pursuing a new segment needs to be a company initiative.


A successful SaaS company is focused on the SMB market with an ACV of $12k. Soon enough they receive an inbound from a Mid Market opportunity with a $60-120k potential. Jamie the most successful SMB pro gets assigned. Jamie runs into all kind of new issues. Following months of work Jamie secures a Proof of Concept. No SMB revenue from Jamie, No Mid-Market revenue from Jamie, Jamie leaves the company. Different market – Different model – Different GTM

REFERENCE:  Blog post Going Upstream

 There are a few clear segments in which people sell B2B;

  • Enterprise/Company wide – selling a platform (CRM/ERP) using multi year contracts
  • Mid Market/Department – selling platforms and applications using annual contracts
  • SMB/Group like – selling applications using an annual/monthly/usage contract
  • Pro-user – selling a browser plug-in under a freemium/monthly/usage contract


Figure 14  The importance of the

Comparing spending flexibility you’ll find that Pro-user are cost-centric and max out at spending $1,000/yr. In the Mid-Market the value of a specific product is obscured by many other project and often you find yourself selling to only a small group or department at best. This Market uses lengthy RFP/RFQ purchasing procedures based on spending thresholds. SMB on the other end offers a greater flexibility, in spending anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000, and with shorter 30-90 day sales cycles.



An SMB with a $100k problem is willing to spend $12k on a solution. That same SMB is willing to spend 3x that for a $300k problem. 3x the problem – 3x the spend. An Enterprise with a $1M problem is willing to spend $100k, however it is hard to convince the enterprise to spend 3x the money for 3x the problem. Purchasing procedures and spending thresholds put in place over decades have flattened our spending flexibility. It explains why so many SaaS startups use SMB as a jumping board. This in comparison to Perpetual Software who uses the Enterprise market as their jumping board.

2.3 Different GTM Approaches

If you are selling at $5 a month – to – month Chrome plugin to a Pro – user it is foolish to expect a sales – person to travel across country for an in – person demonstration. Likewise you can’t expect an Enterprise client to commit to a $100,000 platform by simply surfing a website and entering their credit card. Each has a different Go To Market approach based on a different client acquisition cost (CAC).

Figure 15  Depiction of GTM Approaches as a function of Annual Contract Value

Below you will see the variety of GTM Approaches we know per today as a function of Annual Contract Volume and Volume of Deals/Month. Each of these approaches is modeled against the best customer experience. For Web-sales that may be optimized for speed (online), and for Local Sales for complexity (integration in existing infrastructure).

Figure 16 Depiction of GTM models as a function of Annual Contract Value



Clients sign up for a free service. Client gets hooked and has to pay for more premium services (e.g. more storage, personalization). A common strategy is to use Freemium clients as LeadGen. Transactions are processed online via credit card, questions are addressed through FAQ and Youtube videos. Think of a Google Chrome Plug-in/extension.



If multiple customers from the same domain name sign-up for a Freemium account a company can convince them of a “Corporate License” with “security” as a feature. This can be automated. This sales For example LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Subscription.



As a solution becomes more comprehensive clients have more questions as complexity increases for example signing up for a Zoom.us group license. Clients want to “talk” to someone instead of using the online FAQ. Online chat offers a solution where Inside Sales Rep (ISR) addressing the client’s questions. This is preferred over inbound phone calls to avoid any challenges with accents etc.



Inbound Centric – As the solution increases in complexity once again more questions arise and clients go through a purchasing procedure. They need assistance. Clients reach out to talk to an Expert (Account Executive). A Sales Development Rep picks up the phone and directs the call based on the qualification. This works well for growth organizations that leverage marketing to generate inbound.

Outbound Centric – The solution does not generate enough inbound, and/or the amount of inbound generated does not provide enough quality. A group of Sales Development Reps (SDRs) is used to identify and contact prospective clients and set up meetings with solution experts (AEs). This is one of the most common approaches to kick – start sales, and it is often based on a service that sits on a platform (CRM).



This applies more to platform sales such as an ERP or CRM. Clients demand integration with their database, workflow etc. Clients want to discuss their specific situation and their customized needs. A sales professional gets on an airplane and visits the customers. To identify these customers you need a more sophisticated approach with an Account Development Rep (ADR) who targets multiple people in the account with coherent messaging. This is often split by region to keep the travel cost low.



If you are targeting a small set of specific accounts with a platform, think of an Marketing Automation System that offers to overhaul the existing provider. You may wish to target AT&T Dallas and therefore use a local sales approach with a Dallas based Sales Executive. The local sales professional is expected to have in depth relationships within the account, to allow smooth navigation through the org-chart This the most costly approach but it also comes with the highest rewards. This approach is often reserved for million dollar deals, under a multi – year, wall – to – wall enterprise deal to warrant the cost associated with a dedicated resource.