There are a number of factors that will contribute to breaking the status quo and engaging with SMBs. Some of the factors include, value-based pricing; integrating technology with services to provide a holistic solution; use of cloud-based platforms; changing cultural mindsets, and so on. While these all play a role, I submit that the ability to reach and engage with prospective buyers from anywhere across the globe is every bit as important as how we deliver value. Test
Digital marketing and leveraging social media channels can be effectively integrated into any service provider’s business development & marketing mix to more effectively reach decision-makers faster, and at lower costs than ever before. The trends that are changing the way business is won for enterprise players across the US also hold the keys for service providers to finally reach their target markets anywhere in the world. Digital marketing and social media channels effectively flatten the world and help overcome three of the most common barriers to winning with SMEs – time zones, cultural differences and trust.
Three common barriers to winning with SMBs are time zones, cultural differences and trust.
Distance and time zones can be effectively managed by any size company with a clear communications strategy and the right mix of digital collaboration and communication tools. However, to be effective, buyers and providers must share accountability and agree that they are in it together. Applying the classic RACI model (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) and implementing a cloud-based shared management & operating platform, with the right processes, can provide the foundation to manage across time zones efficiently. Finally, the time zones can be leveraged to the project’s/operation’s advantage by leveraging the 24-hour work day to radically improve turn around times, which can go a long way in accelerating growth and improving end customer experience.
The collaboration platform is especially important to help SMBs transition into the realm of global outsourcing and enjoy the same benefits as larger enterprise organizations.
Unfortunately cultural differences are often a barrier to winning new business rather than being leveraged as an advantage. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of service providers in India and have learned first hand that they are great innovators and possess a tremendous entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, Professor Nirmalya Kumar of the London Business School makes a very strong argument that innovation is a significant export from India in his TED Talk titled, “India’s invisible innovation” (http://goo.gl/IfzRJx). Yet service providers continue to emphasize cost savings rather than promoting the value of bringing fresh perspectives to the challenges facing business. While I’m a firm believer that effectively working across cultures can be a catalyst for innovation, it is also important the team leaders have experience and demonstrated skill working within the country and culture of their clients.
Establishing trust is essential to winning new business, but doing so often requires an internal cultural mind-shift for service providers. In today’s world, where the customer controls the conversation, regardless of B2C or B2B, you must be authentic in your desire to provide value to your customers. According to a recent Horses for Sources article, “Time for outsourcing service providers to tone down the sales BS” (http://goo.gl/4xwJwc); 39% of enterprise service buyers are irritated with their service provider because they focus more on increasing sales than on attention to delivery and 35% because of failure to of their provider to deliver on promises made during the sale.
If your cultural mindset is to drive your top line rather than focus on improving your customer’s bottom line you will have a very difficult time building trust. Again, we continue to see service providers take very traditional approach to sales and marketing. They attempt to compete with the same outdated message; “we have the highest quality at the lowest price”. This type of message does not connect with today’s buyers. Buyers want to know that you understand their business and that you can make their lives better. It’s time for providers to change the way they engage with the market and be authentically customer-centric. This is most certainly a mindset change and it must start with the CEO.
Businesses need to be more agile, scalable & have a global perspective to survive and prosper.
While there are those that argue winning mid-market business is a fantasy, we see mounting evidence that there has never been a better time to align the benefits of shared services and outsourcing to empower and accelerate growth for SMBs. The need seems clear; enterprises of all sizes face growing competition, faster & faster shift in the marketplace and pressure to control costs. If as service providers we leverage the speed of digital marketing, the influence of social media channels and embrace a truly customer-centric mindset, we will see the value delivered by shared services and outsourcing will align with SMB business challenges and result in mutually rewarding partnerships.
By Tom Zbaren, from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/outsourcing-smbs-tom-zbaren