Small.Business.Marketing

New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Making software accessible to SMEs in India

All the recent surveys on the Indian software market I have read point to its enormous growth potential. The Zinnov Study commissioned by Nasscom on the software products market and the more recent on the opportunities in the SAAS market both forecast huge numbers in domestic sales. Where is this going to come from?

A disproportionate amount of this growth needs to come from SMEs; manufacturers, retailers, exporters, healthcare services, law-firms: many of them almost first time users of IT beyond the obvious MS-Office.

What needs to happen to make the adoption faster? As someone who runs a SME in the software products domain, here’s what I think.

First, the sellers’ perspective. In order to make a successful enterprise software sale, the pre-sales and post-sales processes are as, if not more crucial than the sales process itself. Especially if the customer is an SME. A lot of hand-holding and confidence boosting is required to convince the small business owner about the need of the solution in the first place before even getting to the sales process itself.

And, after the sale is made, a successful installation is one that finds enthusiastic adoption in the customer premise. Here, you need the continued involvement of the top management who bought the solution who need to continue to champion the process.

Most enterprise sales are successful because of partners. Most enterprise softwares need customization, help with adoption, migration of data (from existing applications and so on. The most successful software product from India, the eponymous accounting and ERP software from Tally Solutions, know this well. Tally works with thousands of channel partners (many of them Chartered Accountants) whose domain knowledge is invaluable to, first convince the customers that it is a good recommendation and then handle the post sales customization and training that all Tally installations need.

Partners bring a lot to the table. They bring local presence, technical and domain knowledge and many times, even knowledge about the customers’ unique business needs. The customer also takes comfort from the presence of a “local” partner; someone he can hold to account if things turn sour.

Okay, so. Three sets of people here. Sellers – that’s us, buyers (hopefully) and then partners., bringing in technical knowledge for requirement definition, training, customization etc, programming skills and domain knowledge.

Questions: If you are a seller, how do you find an appropriate partner for a local market? If you are a small vendor, based -let’s say- in Mumbai; how can you find customers in Delhi or Chandigarh or even in Pune?

Question: How do you select the right software product/ solution or service vendor for solving your business issues? If you are a buyer, how do you find a trustworthy partner for a product that you have purchased or are considering to buy?

Question: If you are a potential partner (call you a skills vendor) who can programme, train or customize a solution, how can you find buyers and/ or sellers who are looking for you?

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