What is Enterprise Sales? Difference from SMB Selling

Next, I’ll cover the differences between enterprise, small business, and mid-market sales. 

For instance, some ways these sales processes differ include: 

  • Sales cycle length 
  • Ease of purchase 
  • Decision makers 
  • Pain points 
  • Impulsiveness 
  • Finding leads 
  • Buyer personas 
  • CAC to LTV ratio 

Sales Cycle Length

Companies track sales cycle length because it does the following things:

  • Provides crucial insights into the sales process 
  • Helps teams identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement 
  • Helps businesses optimize their sales efforts

Small Business 

The sales cycle for small businesses is typically shorter, often due to the following factors: 

  • Fewer decision-makers 
  • A more streamlined purchasing process


For mid-market companies, the sales cycle is usually longer than that for small businesses but shorter than enterprise sales.

The mid-market sales cycle balances the number of decision-makers and the complexity of the purchase!


The enterprise sales cycle is typically the longest due to: 

  • Higher transaction value
  • Sales involve multiple stakeholders and decision-makers
  • The complexity of the customized solutions

Ease of Purchase

Whether small business or enterprise deals, clients want the purchasing process to be as simple as possible. 

Small Business 

The purchasing process is typically more straightforward for small businesses due to fewer decision-makers and a simpler, less bureaucratic procurement system.


For mid-market companies, the purchasing process usually involves more complexity than small businesses due to more decision-makers and a moderate level of bureaucracy.

However, the mid-market purchasing process is still less complicated than the enterprise sales process.


For enterprise-level sales, the purchasing process tends to be more complex and lengthy due to:

  • Multiple decision-makers
  • A higher level of bureaucracy 
  • The need for customized solutions
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Decision Makers

Understanding the decision makers involved in a purchase is pivotal because it allows the sales team to tailor their approach to the needs of those individuals!

Small Business 

In small businesses, decision-making involves one or two individuals directly influencing purchasing decisions.


In mid-market sales, the decision-making process typically involves a small group of individuals, such as department heads and executives. 


In enterprise sales, the decision-making process involves a larger group of stakeholders, including: 

  • Senior executives
  • Department heads
  • Board members

Pain Points 

Every sales process has specific pain points employees must understand and adapt to. 

Small Business 

In small business sales, the main pain points often include: 

  • Limited budgets
  • Lack of dedicated buying teams for procurement
  • A need for solutions that offer immediate value 
  • Harder to scale than other sales methods


In mid-market sales, the pain points revolve around the following things: 

  • Balancing budget constraints with the need for more sophisticated solutions
  • Managing a moderate level of bureaucracy
  • Ensuring the products can scale with company growth


In an enterprise sales strategy, the pain points involve: 

  • Navigating a high level of bureaucracy
  • Managing multiple stakeholders
  • Dealing with lengthy decision-making processes 
  • Ensuring solutions are customizable to fit the complex needs of the enterprise clients


Next, I’ll review the differences in buyer impulsiveness between small business, mid-market, and enterprise selling. 

Small Business 

In small business sales, buyers are often more impulsive due to: 

  • Fewer decision-makers
  • Simpler procurement processes 
  • A greater need for immediate solutions


In mid-market sales, impulsiveness is slower than small business sales because deals involve more decision-makers. 

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Still, impulsiveness is more present than in enterprise sales due to a need to balance budget constraints and immediate growth demands! 


In enterprise sales, impulsiveness is generally low due to the following things: 

  • High transaction values
  • Complex procurement processes
  • Several decision-makers
  • The necessity for thorough evaluation and customization of solutions

Finding Leads

The way various sales processes find leads differs. 

Small Business 

In small business sales, a sales team finds leads through direct outreach methods such as: 

  • Cold calling
  • Networking events 
  • Targeted social media advertising


In mid-market sales, sales reps source leads using various direct outreach methods and targeted advertising. 

Usually, teams are also more strategic when using marketing analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.


In enterprise sales, teams identify leads through high-level strategic methods, such as: 

  • Sophisticated marketing analytics
  • Industry events
  • Strategic partnerships 
  • Referrals

Buyer Personas

Small business, mid-market, and enterprise clients also differ because of the varying products and services. 

Small Business 

Typically, small business buyer personas represent owners or managers who value cost-effective, straightforward solutions that deliver immediate value. 


Mid-market buyer personas often represent department heads or executives who seek scalable, efficient solutions that balance cost-effectiveness with a level of sophistication. 


Enterprise buyer personas are represented by high-ranking decision-makers who seek comprehensive, customizable, and scalable solutions to integrate into complex systems. 

CAC to LTV Ratio

The customer acquisition cost (CAC) to lifetime value (LTV) ratio measures the cost of acquiring a customer against the total revenue they’re expected to bring during their lifetime. 

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Small Business 

In small business sales, the CAC to LTV ratio often leans towards higher acquisition costs relative to lifetime value. 


In mid-market sales, the CAC to LTV ratio tends to balance out, with moderate acquisition costs offset by larger deal sizes and a longer customer lifespan. 


In enterprise sales deals, the CAC to LTV ratio reflects lower acquisition costs relative to lifetime value due to larger deal sizes and longer customer lifespans.

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