Knowing Challenges & Needs of Midsize Companies in Minutes


Become a ‘mind reader’ of the midmarket

If you are selling to a midsize company, you can try to sell them what you have, ask them about their industry and company or engage them in a discussion (from a position of knowing the industry, the midsize company and your own company and products/services).  Obviously, the last option is the best one.  Such a discussion requires you to be knowledgeable about the challenges of the prospect company/industry. You can visit the company’s website but it doesn’t tell you what their challenges are.  How will you know what their needs and challenges might be?


 Experienced sales people know a particular industry well, know typical needs and challenges in the industry, have wide ranging discussions, and close a range of deals.  What if you are not one of those experienced sales people or don’t know the particular industry you are after?  How do you figure out possible problems and needs?  Obviously, if you use clichés and demonstrate a lack of understanding of their issues, you will lose credibility and probably never get another meeting.


You may not be psychic but close…

You can’t possibly know their problem unless it is spelt out for you, or you have intelligence about their issues.  However, you do know what kind of company the prospect is – family owned, manufacturing, high growth, regional, etc.  If you know that, you can figure out some of the typical challenges of a high growth family owned business that is seeking to hire more talent. Have you explored how you can then get such a list of their typical needs and challenges and understand them?


Typical Issues of Certain Types of Midsize/SMB Companies: Another issue with sales people is that they know their product and functional area, say software or HR, very well. But, the decision usually extends beyond the functional area.  Perhaps the company is a family-owned high growth company, in which case, the family dynamics influence decision-making, or the biggest challenges of managing high growth are an important consideration.  If you simply looked at the prospect from the software or HR lens (yours), you won’t make the sale.  But, how can you figure out the different issues they might be facing?


If you are a banker trying to get a midsize company to switch to your bank, why would they consider your bank?  As an operating business, every midsize company has a current banking relationship and most banks offer similar services. What do you think will set your bank apart?  For you to be actively considered, the single biggest factor is understanding and empathy for the company’s needs and challenges.  That requires you to know the typical challenges (knowledge) a company like that faces.   What if you are new to the industry or still early in your career?  If you know some basic things about the company such as type of ownership, what kind of growth they are experiencing, etc., you can figure out their typical challenges. 


If you are able to name a few of their typical challenges or needs, it will enhance your credibility.  If you knew a range of needs and challenges of such a company, you could engage them in a discussion and narrow it down to the ones that are most pressing for them.


Challenge Finder Tool: The Midmarket Institute has developed a unique tool which can provide the typical challenges faced by midsize companies if you identify the different characteristics of the company such as how they sell to, type of ownership, kind of growth, etc.   Pick just one criterion to find the list of typical challenges for companies that meet that criterion.  The intention is not to be comprehensive but rather identify the most common, repeating and important needs and challenges of midsize companies with that characteristic. The Midmarket Institute has identified over 850 needs and challenges of midsize companies thus far.  When you see the list of needs and challenges, you simply click on one of them to see a list of articles, presentation, videos of expert interviews, whitepapers, etc. on that particular challenge.  If all you have is 30 minutes before a meeting with a client or prospect, you can quickly use the Challenge Finder Tool and get a ‘crash course’ on a few challenges before your meeting.  If you are wondering how the Challenge Finder tool works – watch this short video:


Using the tool to your advantage: Let’s say you are going to meet the CEO or CFO of a family owned company that is in high growth mode and sells to large companies.  Using the Challenge Finder Tool, you’ve seen the list of their typical challenges and read through a few pieces of content (you can listen to videos or podcasts, or read presentations, articles or whitepapers).  You can start the conversation with something like: “So, how is the family business going?  I see that you are in high growth mode.  Are you able to find the right kinds of talent to support your growth?”.  After a while, you can also say something like: “I gathered you are a b2b company selling to large companies -  Are you able to find enough relationship managers to manage the biggest accounts?”  While these may not be the exact thing you say, knowing the range of challenges and needs a company like this has will enable you to sound knowledgeable and discuss a range of topics.  As the discussion progresses, you can tie the services of your company or bank to their specific needs, further cementing your credibility and engaging them in a discussion of how you can help them solve their problems or meet their needs. 


How might you use a tool like this?  Just before every meeting with a prospect or client, go check out the challenges companies like theirs typically face.  Become educated about the need or challenge, and some approaches to solving them.  Walk into your meeting with confidence and insights that increase the odds of making the sale. 


If you are a vendor to the midmarket (middle market/SMB/SME/midsize enterprise) and want to explore becoming a midmarket ‘mind reader’ and increasing sales, click here ( ;  

If you are a Capital Provider to the midmarket (middle market/SMB/SME/midsize enterprise) and want to explore becoming a midmarket ‘mind reader’, making more informed loan decisions and getting more customers, click here (


- Ram V. Iyer


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