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November 1st: Torsten Jacobi, CEO of Creative Weblogging, joins host Anita Campbell. Sponsored by Six Disciplines. Show details.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Selling IT to Small Businesses
Tim Reynolds, President of Tribute Inc., revealed what it takes to successfully sell IT to small businesses at today's NEOSA forum on Trends in Information Technology. Tribute sells enterprise software mostly to small manufacturers with under $10 Million (USD) in revenues. The session was adeptly moderated by John Soat, Senior Executive Editor of Information Week:

  • On the small business marketplace: "...we're seeing solid steady growth in IT spending by small manufacturers since the fourth quarter of 2003." "They're looking for shorter-horizon projects...IT solutions to solve very specific issues... they expect a one-year payback period."

  • On the sales process: "...small businesses today are more educated about IT than a few years ago...they ask more questions and better questions...we've changed our sales model over the past 2 - 3 years to focus on consultative selling rather than feature selling."

  • On establishing ROI: "...we don't typically try to justify ROI based on cutting personnel costs...in small businesses the person running the server may also be the Controller, and even if they install new software, the person's position as Controller isn't going away." "We usually justify the ROI based on how the software can help them run the business better, such as getting a better handle on accounts receivable turnover."

  • On offshore outsourcing: "Customers don't give a hoot whether you are outsourcing...what they care about is what your company can do for them." (Note: Tribute does not outsource.)

  • On data mining: "We're seeing more interest by small businesses in mining their data than we did 2 or 3 years ago...now that they have systems to collect all this data they want to use it."

  • Up-to-the-minute insights into the behaviors and attitudes of small business customers....
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