A youth bank enabling young people to finance start-ups, different tax rates based on company size, a tax credit for innovation ... During the election, numerous proposals benefiting VSEs emerged along with measures penalizing CAC 40 groups including an increase in the effective tax rate for large groups to 35%, restrictions on directors' pay, etc. It appears that the days of 'bigger is better' are over. Nowadays, we hear much of the virtues of small companies as production units (flexibility, adaptability, efficiency, etc.) but how are they viewed as customers?
In a period of crisis and faced with private market saturation, small companies offer major opportunities. Indeed 94% of all French companies are 'professionals' or companies with 0 to 9 employees %. The potential of this target group lies both in its size and behaviour, which is similar to that exhibited by the public, although combined with significantly higher revenue.
This customer group mid-way between the traditional segments of the 'public' and 'companies' includes a multitude of professions (craftsmen, traders, the professions, etc.) and a wide variety of industries (hospitality, health, building and civil engineering, transport, etc.). Due to this diversity, professional customers are difficult to access and potentially expensive to approach. Although companies have already identified this market segment as one that needs to be addressed in a specific way, their strategies still appear experimental.
Who are 'professional' customers and what marketing and sales strategies have companies adopted to target these customers? In response to this question, we used a benchmark of multi-sector practices with respect to this population and ten years' experience of these target customers to identify the two main strategies currently implemented and consider the key factors for success needed to create the optimal marketing mix for this segment.