A new Yankee Group survey of small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) revealed that solution providersócompanies that offer technology, legal, accounting or financial assistanceówill play an increasingly larger role in the success of SMBs.
Commenting on the survey, Russell Morgan, president of the Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance (ITSPA), said that although it’s critical for equipment manufacturers to generate brand awareness and keep prices low, “even more important is the fact that SMB decision makers are looking for viable solutions to their most pressing business challenges.” ITSPA is a national, non-profit group established to help the nation’s 22 million SMBs understand how local technology providers help them grow.
“Price and quality simply aren’t enough,” Morgan said. “Unless you’re a manufacturer that openly and aggressively supports the IT solution provider channel, your chances of long-term success are reduced.”
Michael Lauricella, program manager for the Yankee Group’s Small and Medium Business Strategies advisory service, added: “Although SMB decision makers readily turn to equipment manufacturers that are price and quality leaders, they also place great importance on whether these companies effectively service the solution provider channel.
“As SMBs require more complete solutions to be successful, channel partners will play an increasingly critical role as trusted advisors. Manufacturers that neglect the channel will be hindered in their ability to service this very competitive market,” Lauricella added.
ASDBC: Vendors ëMoving Downstream’
Don Wilson, president and CEO of the Association of Small Business Development Centers headquartered in Burke, VA, pointed out that most technology equipment vendors and software manufacturers “now recognize the enormous importance of working with IT solution providers as they beef up their marketing efforts in the SMB marketplace.
“Small business accounts for 99 percent of all U.S. businesses, employs 53 percent of the private work force and contributes more than half of the nation’s private gross domestic product,” Wilson said. “Increasingly, the solution provider channel is being recognized by vendors as one of the best ways to not only sell products but to play a strong role in building solutions and applications that help small businesses be more profitable and grow.
“Small business is the engine of economic growth, and IT solution providers are the fuel that can help SMB companies sustain present and new growth as the economy improves,” Wilson added. “Vendors that recognize, work with and support the solution provider channel will be the most successful in their marketing efforts to SMBs.”
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