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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.

Marketing Automation – SMBs See Impressive Results

Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and their channel partners are benefiting from adoption of Marketing Automation tools and applications, according to one of our recent surveys. SMBs have embraced Cloud-based Services, including Marketing Automation, in large numbers to control costs and stay competitive. The ability to leverage robust offsite infrastructure, systems software, applications software licenses, upgrades and maintenance services as a monthly subscription bundle allows companies, and especially SMBs, to tackle much more complex competitive challenges than in the past.

What are SMBs doing with Marketing Automation?

With Marketing Automation point solutions and add-on modules, SMBs are able to add very powerful communications, filtering, data management and workflow components to the base CRM system; enabling more efficient sales process management. For many SMBs, especially at the lower end of the spectrum, sales lead management is done on spreadsheets with a move to a CRM system when the firm gets to the point where there are three or more staff working sales and marketing roles. Ultimately the core functions of lead generation, opportunity conversion and lifecycle customer relationship management remain at the center of marketing objectives and are the focus of automation. Substantial improvements of any of these areas can offer big dividends to companies in terms of ROMI.

Eighty Percent Satisfaction Level



Our survey revealed consistent praise from the ~80% of “satisfied and very satisfied” SMBs, who reported better demand generation, lead management, improved ROMI, better customer targeting and communication and several other benefits that help bring more structure and better capabilities to small organizations.

Benefits Differ by Company Size

As companies deployed Marketing Automation solutions, the benefits they realized were slightly different: all saw a broad variety of benefits but both small and medium businesses reported relatively more benefit in specific areas. For example, as seen in the chart below that Small Business reported “More Leads” by 18%, and “Shorter Sales Cycles” 12% respectively, compared to what medium companies stated. Small companies also reported relatively “Better Lead Quality”, “Lower Sales Costs”, and “Improved Personalization and Targeted Messaging”. Medium Businesses said they saw better productivity through identification of “Sales-Ready Leads”, “better understanding of prospect behavior”, “Better Campaign Reporting”, etc.



Generally it appears the results reported by the Small Business are more likely to cover basic issues involved in getting a sales process up and running, while the Medium Business results seem to revolve around improving an existing process, improving collaboration and process integration.

The important takeaways here are that 1) there is an increasingly high level of adoption of Cloud Services by SMBs, 2) the Cloud model is working for them, and 3) the benefits are tangible and supported by an ~80% level of satisfaction.

We will continue to share results from recent surveys covering several important topics for SMBs and Channel partners.

Davis Blair
Techaisle

 

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SMBs would like to have Android Apps on Ultrabooks

A Techaisle survey of 810 SMBs in the US shows that SMBs would ideally like to see Android applications running on Ultrabooks. Nearly 60% of SMBs that use smartphones have Android based smartphones. On an average, a small business has three Android based smartphones and a mid-market business has 26 Android based smartphones. These SMBs have become used to Android apps and would desire to have the same type of capability within Ultrabook.

 


Similar desire does not exist for iPhone apps because they do feel strongly that iPhone is a closed environment, whereas Android is open-sourced, hence, a higher likelihood of Android apps becoming available on a PC platform.

Anurag Agrawal
Techaisle

 

 

 
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IT Channel Complexities in India

Mature markets are just around the corner in India.

  • A lot has changed in the last 10-15 years and channels feel that in next 4-6 years by 2013-2014, about 20% of Indian market is predicted as a MATURE MARKET. Ten years ago the awareness for IT was created, PC was becoming a necessity. In last 6 yrs market has really picked up.

  • The India IT market is growing and are looking for big changes. Most of the partners for various MNC brands have recognized the changes and are moving from being mere VARs or System Integrators to solution providers, getting into more of services than selling boxes.

  • A dealer who has been selling software for a long time is now thinking of giving the whole solution. In the hardware market the margins are thinning, so the question is - how to make money?

  • Money comes from services so channels are moving towards better markets like the Managed Services, Infrastructure software implementation, maintaining the hardware as well as the software. This has already happened in the mature markets outside India.

  • One may also witness partnerships here - two big partners merging or two small partners merging forming the equation of 1+1=11 and not 2. Consolidations of various services are happening and some channels are emerging as leaders in the market.

  • Business models are also heading towards a big change. The today’s scenario allows any partner to be ‘single vendor dedicated’. As an example if one is HP partner he is still selling & setting up solutions for Cisco/ IBM/ Mac. Channels opine they have to position themselves as multi brand and multi solution provider. Whatever the demand they should be able to supply it.

  • The customer is negotiating or dealing with one single partner rather than trying multi service providers. This is one big change that has happened among channels keeping in view the changing perspective of the customers. These changes will help India emerge as a mature market.


Challenges in SMB (1-250 employees) segment for IT Vendors:

  • It is a very disorganized segment.

  • The IT maturity level is very low.

  • A lot of patience is required while dealing with this segment.

  • The volume business has always been a key concern.

  • The principles / vendors only interested in managing bigger accounts as more money/ revenue and less effort involved.


Advice in Partner selection criteria:

  • Instead of choosing many partners, vendors should focus on the selection of partners.

  • The partners who are capable should only qualify the selection.

  • They should then be trained and most importantly be supported by the vendor to grow and become a bigger partner of that small town or city.

  •  The corporate clients of a smaller city always lack confidence in the local partners and their capabilities and deliverables. Therefore, a partner from a nearby big city may not be working efficiently but is always looked upon with confidence because of it partnerships & technological capabilities.

  • If the vendors succeed in doing the same with the channels of smaller cities, this will surely be an advantage to ALL.

  • The small city partners have the best of contacts to explore more business. The only challenge they face is the Bandwidth and proper guidance. The Channel partners feel that the vendor should fully support them.


New Technologies:

  • There is and is not awareness about the new technologies among the channels. For example many partners may have only heard about Cloud Computing.

  • Channels feel that the vendors themselves should come forward to promote the new / emerging technologies among their partners as well the users.

  • There is always a demand for the new technologies and the channels are gearing up themselves for this.

  • Channels also feel that today’s customer is obviously more knowledgeable. To cope up with the knowledgeable customers channels have to upgrade their skills and knowledge base. And that is the key to a partner’s growth.

  •  All the big organizations the ITES/ IT companies and large corporate have their own in-house resources. They have a fully fledged IT department which takes care of all their IT needs.

  •  Here, the channels only work as suppliers for the hardware and software.


Takeaway:

The government departments are also in the process of implementing various IT related program primarily for the SMB segment(1-250 employees) especially. This is being considered as the most potential segment in terms of IT growth and expansion.

The grey areas are the SMB and the government. Here the implementation has just begun and it will take another 4-5 years. Today SMB is the very large and the most potential segment and challenge lies in how to deal with them and their needs. The knowledge level of these companies/ this segment is very low as compared to the International markets and standards. The IT deployment in terms of products and human resource is very low and they are dependent on the IT vendors. A lot of knowledge has to go in educating these segments.

Channel partners are investing heavily in Data Centers but it will take time to develop as all the technologies are new.

The channel partners who are at the local level at Tier III & IV cities overall do not have much knowledge base as the bigger partners in the Tier I & II cities, so  they ultimately end up in Box selling. Even the customers of Tier II, III & IV are not well-educated and their understanding level for IT is low. A lot of education has to happen in these cities.

THE IT VENDOR MUST KNOW ITS AUDIENCE FIRST…

Gitika Bajaj
Techaisle
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Empower Me! - The Coming Change in SMB IT Priorities

Download Techaisle SMB PerspectivesOver the last two decades, the global small and mid-market businesses, SMB (1-999 employee size) market has been the growth engine for the IT industry at large. The reason is quite simply that SMBs account for over 80 percent of businesses in any country – developed or developing. For much of those two decades, SMBs have primarily focused on building core infrastructure with the bulk of their investment allotted towards buying PCs and desktop applications such as Office, desktop publishing and other industry specific software.  This initial phase was followed by a longer continuing phase wherein SMBs shifted their investments to Networking technologies. However, this was still part of core infrastructure investments made by SMBs.

The reason for this lengthy investment cycle was that investments occurred at different times for different SMBs depending upon firm size and geographies. SMBs form the essential thread of the economic fabric of any country and to a great extent their fortunes and investment capabilities are dependent on the economic situations and policies of the countries they represent. So as the fortunes of the emerging world turned favorable, so did the investment capacity of these SMBs. Conversely, as economies have stalled in recent times, investment capacity of SMBs has been deeply affected. 

Tough economic times bring investment decisions into sharp focus. The result is typically lower investment levels. It also sharpens medium and longer term priorities. That leads to smart investments. But also investments made at this time become longer term drivers of investment for adjacent areas. We at Techaisle believe that the recent economic implosion acts as a catalyst for such action and change among SMBs.

The New SMB Imperative: SMBs are sharpening their medium and longer term priorities leading to smart investments.
Value Shift: SMBs are now looking beyond infrastructure investments as their respective countries slowly emerge from the global downturn.
Enablement v/s Empowerment: SMBs are being driven towards empowerment technologies that are outside of normal technology adoption curve.
Empowerment Technologies: SMBs in emerging market countries show greater intentions of investing in these new priorities than SMBs in mature markets.
Implications for Channel Partners: Shift to newer priorities is and will impact channels the most in next five years.
Conclusion: New priorities bring to light new opportunities for vendors and channel partners to positively impact the success of SMBs on a global basis.

Download Techaisle SMB POV DocumentDownload Detailed Techaisle SMB Point-of-View Document
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