IT vendors are failing to meet the needs of mid-market companies, new research warns.
IDC rates the mid-market as the fastest growing segment of the IT industry, but warned that these companies are being "poorly served".
"The standard assumptions regarding mid-market buyer engagements are no longer valid," said Lee Levitt, director of IDC's Sales Advisory Service.
"These buyers are more savvy, more technical and more impatient than most sales organisations realise.
"They want a shorter sales cycle and they want more contact with technical resources, not more time with sales reps."
To profitably serve this segment, vendors must balance investments between outbound sales reps and phone-based and online resources, according to the analyst.
But they must do this without giving up the relationship management that reps and marketing automation systems can provide.
"The good news is that this strategy will support better territory and individual account coverage," he said.
An IDC survey of more than 4,500 members of its business-to-business panel shows that many of the shortcomings identified by mid-market buyers involve poor communication, which can be corrected easily with "training, coaching and effort ".
"The reality is that mid-market buyers see sales too frequently with incomplete information and a general lack of technical skills," said Levitt.
"In looking for strengths, buyers are very clear about what they want. Many of those desires are based on simply having sales take responsibility for providing not just any answer, but the right answer that meets the buyer's needs.
"Building sales representative skills is paramount in achieving better performance in the mid-market, and these skills transfer readily to the pursuit of enterprise customers as well."
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