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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Influencing the SMB non-IT C-level buyers requires careful marketing mix

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion in the number and types of information sources available to SMB IT and business decision makers. It is no longer the case that these ITDMs and BDMs can be moved predictably through a process that starts with an initial inquiry and progresses through education to qualification and to a sale. Instead, technology buyers are increasingly self-educated and make contact with a supplier, not with an initial inquiry, but with a fully-formed request.

Techaisle’s survey of 1120 US SMBs, 360 on Balance of Authority: decision cycle, shows that SMBs engage with IT supplier at 50% decision stage. In fact, worst still, the IT supplier’s and channel partner’s role begins in when price, deployment & support are the only points left to discuss.

Techaisle’s corresponding survey of 1246 US SMBs, Influencing the SMB buyers’ journey, shows that “Campaign marketing” has become a relic of an earlier age, replaced by a content marketing brew combining “thought leadership” (to engage new prospects) and ‘digital discovery’ (to ensure visibility for the thought leadership).

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Approaching the SMB with IoT solutions – internal primary deployment leaders

How should suppliers looking to target SMBs with IoT solutions set their strategies? Techaisle believes that strategy starts with the buyer, which in this case, means understanding who the buyer is, what factors are motivating purchase decisions, and how much is available for spend on IoT. From a deployment perspective, IoT straddles an interesting line: it is technically complex, which would argue for deep IT involvement, but it – at least, in more sophisticated solutions – addresses business process issues that are most important to business managers, which would argue for deep line of business (LOB) involvement. What do we see with today’s SMB IoT adopters?

Data collected from the Techaisle SMB IoT Adoption survey indicates that in these early days, responsibility for IoT deployment in small businesses is divided relatively equally between IT and LOB management, while in midmarket organizations, IoT is most often the responsibility of IT group.

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European SMBs experiencing rich business outcomes with mobility solutions

Techaisle’s survey of SMBs (1 to 999 employees) in Europe shows that mobility is addressing a clear business need and these firms are in turn responding with growing investments, especially in applications and solutions. 63% of small businesses (1-99 employees) & 74% of midmarket firms (100-999 employees) say that adoption of mobility solutions has contributed to business growth, up from 67% and 68% respectively from the previous year. Some SMBs have even experienced 2X growth as prior to mobility solutions deployment. Similarly, 37% of small businesses & 24% of midmarket firms say that adoption of mobility solutions has contributed to improved profitability.

39% of small businesses and 89% of midmarket firms have deployed one or mobility solutions and the average spend has increased by 29% for small businesses and 51% for midmarket firms. Survey data shows that service providers are becoming the top purchase channels of mobility solutions for both small and midmarket firms but there is also a distinct increasing influence of IT consultants.

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Which IT security supplier is top of mind for SMBs

The security vendor landscape is one of the most diffused in the IT industry. Within the past 6 months Techaisle has received press releases and briefing requests from more than 60 different suppliers. Despite the incredible diversity of prospective suppliers, though, small businesses and midmarket firms are largely focused on the same handful of security technology suppliers. Symantec, Trend Micro and McAfee rank among the top three security solution vendors in SMB segment. It appears that with security, brand leadership extends throughout the SMB market, with suppliers who are well-positioned in the small business or midmarket community tending to be strong in the other segment as well. This statement does not necessarily mean that overall leadership will extend into the myriad niches that are apparent in the market. What it does mean, though, is that suppliers addressing specific niches will need to develop convincing positioning statements explaining how their niche solutions extend and integrate with products available from the overall market leaders.

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