Quebec City, Quebec (Aug. 25, 2003) -- The small to midsized business market may be the most attractive target out there, but resellers who go after them the wrong way and do not understand their specific needs will lose big, according to an industry expert.

Everyone is clamoring for the SMB market, and even large vendors now claim they are in the space, warned Gartner Inc. research director Robert Anderson during a speech to Accpac Interneational Inc. resellers at the company’s Partnership 2003 Conference. This could be a big opportunity for Accpac and it may seem easy, but those who think that way are not trying.

Anderson said the biggest mistake resellers can make is trying to sell SMBs what they do not need. Another common pitfall, he said, is assuming that SMBs are one market.

You can’t take a shotgun approach; use a pee shooter, offer truly integrated packaging and use bundled offerings with discounts, Anderson said.

Anderson noted that SMBs are under a lot of pressure to invest in IT and his firm’s research indicates that 76 percent of the SMB market will hold or increase their spending this year with even more expected next year. Gartner research also indicates that SMBs will account for 57 percent of all IT service expenditures by 2005. This is primarily due to customer expectations, as well as SMBs needing to find new revenue streams, lower operating costs, and comply with current regulations.

Another big opportunity for Accpac resellers, he said, was the fact that SBMs more than ever need a trusted advisor as they have the relationships and want to expand into specific verticals.

Finally, Anderson warned that selling products like customer relationship management is not about return on investment anymore. He suggested focusing on first-mover advantages, cost of avoidance, innovation and legal requirements.

He added that what resonates most with SMBs when it comes to technology is:

  • Products that address a specific problem;
  • Emphasis on vertical and SMB-specific features;
  • No jargon or slang; and,
  • Ease of integration.

--Seth Fineberg

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