Monday, October 30, 2006

This just in: New strategies needed!

This just in. IT solutions vendors and resellers targeting SMEs need different tactics and messages than those commonly used to sell to big business.

That’s the unsurprising (but always relevant) conclusion of a new report by, which recently published an article on the latest market research from London, Ont.-based Info-Tech Research Group.

After surveying how 4,000 companies buy technology, Info-Tech’s Indaba division found “a shift in the balance of power in terms of who is actually making the decisions," according to Ed Daugevietis, Information-Tech’s senior analyst for network technology.

The firm found that at companies with 200 or more employees, specialized IT executives made 55% of technology purchasing decisions. But below 200 employees, “there was a stark difference in behavior," said Daugevietis. In small firms with fewer than 40 employees, 80% of technology purchasing decisions were made by non-IT executives.

The proportion of decisions made by IT specialists rises with the number of employees. At companies with 41 to 100 employees, 30% of buying decisions are made by IT management; in companies with 101 to 200 employees, IT managers make 45% per cent of decisions to purchase.

At smaller firms, buying decisions tend to be made less by teams and more by individuals. "Not only is IT not making the decisions, but they are not even in the room," said Daugevietis. “They are frozen out.”

To read the whole article, click here.

Does your company know who makes the decisions to buy your product? If it’s an entrepreneur – not formally trained in your industry, and already making way too many decisions every day - are you communicating to them properly?

A few hints for vendors in this category:

* Drop the jargon now. Focus on benefits and problem-solving, not on technological bells and whistles.
* Do your own survey to find out who’s buying your products and services. Once you've analyzed the results, get them into the hands of your marketers, salesfolk and customer service reps fast.
* Invite end-users to a focus group. Get to know how they think. What language do they use to describe your product and the needs it serves? Again, share the results with your field staff, whose job it is to communicate with these people.

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