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    2019 Top 10 SMB Business Issues, IT Priorities, IT Challenges
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    SMB Path to Digitalization - Prologue and Epilogue
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    SMB & Midmarket Analytics & Artificial Intelligence Adoption
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    Transformation or Consolidation
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  • CLOUD RESEARCH

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    SMB & Midmarket Cloud Adoption
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    Influence map & care-abouts
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  • DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

    Delivering Connected Business
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    SAAS RESEARCH

    US SMB & Midmarket SaaS Adoption
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    IT MATURITY SEGMENTS RESEARCH

    Technology adoption trends by IT sophistication
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    SMB & Midmarket Security Adoption Trends
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    SMB & Midmarket IoT Adoption Trends
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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.

Practical guidance for navigating digital transformation with customers

Digital transformation success requires that channel partners respond to a diverse set of challenges: the channel organization needs to be able to balance extensive consulting and executive customer management with product transactions, ongoing management services and tangible contribution to customer business success. Those that are able to align their capabilities with digital transformation requirements will be positioned for long-term success in IT’s highest-growth market. Techaisle’s digital transformation (DX) framework highlights six ways that channel partners can profitably connect with customers in their initial stages of the DX journey. At the beginning of the DX journey, channel partners should plan to deliver billable services in foundational technology areas:

  1. Deployment of discrete foundation technologies needed to enable pursuit of DX business objectives: The requirement for these technologies should be clearly associated with capabilities needed within the DX roadmap; the systems themselves should be prioritized in accordance with the benefits that they deliver.
  2. Provision of management/support for technology tied to the DX roadmap: In this step it is essential for channel partners to increase customer communication so that they understand the value associated with ongoing support and integration that maintains the currency of the DX platform by managing its discrete IT components.
  3. Development and delivery of incremental feature/function objectives: Some of the technologies deployed within the DX framework may provide all needed functionality ‘out of the box,’ while others may benefit from ongoing enhancements. In these latter cases, both channel partners and their customers will benefit from the addition of features that provide incremental benefit to users/organizations that have absorbed current capability and who are ready for, and have need for, additional functionality.

Interwork technologies

Once the foundational level is in place and immediate benefits of the technology have been identified and communicated as ‘success stories’ within the customer organization, the channel partner should help the customer move on to the next DX level: establishment of connected ‘Interwork’ systems. Here, channel partner opportunities expand to include higher-value activities:

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Buyer journey marketing framework – SMB and Midmarket

Today, there are several different frameworks that are being used. One of the most common is a six-step process from awareness to purchase. Techaisle’s view is that a buyer-centric marketing framework should consist of four stages which can be easily understood and actionable. Techaisle’s four-stage framework begins from the stage when a business need is generated within a firm and search begins for a technology solution. These four stages are:

  1. Identification of business requirements / needs,
  2. Determination of technology requirements to meet business needs,
  3. Identification of potential solutions and suppliers,
  4. Selection of solution and supplier

In each of the above stages it is important for the marketer to understand the decision-making unit, the decision makers and their care-abouts.

Consider these facts from Techaisle’s SMB and midmarket buyer’s journey research:

  • 275% increase in number of decision makers in the last decade
  • 87% of firms search for partners to help simplify technology
  • 74% of IT purchases are triggered by an acute business pain point
  • 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before first meaningful contact with a potential supplier
  • 56% of buyers are millennials and Gen-Zs are not far behind
  • 24% of firms use six or more information sources
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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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