At a recent presentation skills course I was tasked with giving a 5 minute presentation about a business subject close to my heart. I chose to present on a campaign which the SME (Small and Midsized Enterprises) marketing team had recently run in the UK market called ‘50 customers in 50 days’. During this presentation I talked about how the excellent marketing done by our large enterprise colleagues is translated in SME as SAP is too big, too expensive and not for customers like me. This is in fact one of the first objections which we have to deal with from customers and it is one that SAP’s SME team has done a lot of work on.
This sparked a conversation with one of the LE (Large Enterprise) sales people who asked if we were not insulting small and midsized companies by categorising them as such and treating them differently.
To my mind, when SAP engages the SME community we need to make sure that they understand how important this segment is to the SAP business and that they are being served by a part SAP which will live or die on their custom. This is the reason why we engage them with our dedicated partner network in the UK . SAP wants to make sure that it’s SME customers are big fish in a small pond rather than being small fish in a big pond. SAP’s channel partners can engage with SME customers at an eye level, they understand the SME audience because they are part of it.
78% of all SAPs customers are SMEs and SAP is working really hard to ensure that this remains the case, but SAP also know that the SME community really is looking for something different than their Large Enterprise counterparts, not better, not worse, just different. SMEs don’t want big and expensive software tailored exactly to their requirements, they don’t have an open chequebook and lots of resource to throw at the problem, they need sustainable results quickly and cost effectively and want to know about other SMEs who have done this before.
Part of the work which SAP is doing to improve reputation in the SME space is working with the Department of Trade and Industry on the Ingenious Britain programme and providing a forum for SMEs to talk money, innovation, technology and management. ( www.thinkbiggrowfast.net)
As part of the Think Bigger blog SAP has undertaken research into the state of SME in the UK and were delighted to find that far from the stagnation that was expected, the atmosphere is positive and 96% of UK SMEs are looking to grow.
Technology is the area which SMEs least associate with growth, however their reliance on technology is very high. The single biggest barrier to adopting the latest technologies in SME is cost.
This is why SAP is also investing heavily in cloud technology. SAP recognises that cloud technology is a great way to be able to deliver best in class software solutions based on a wealth of industry experience gained with our Large Enterprise customers, but for a fraction of the cost. By standing on the shoulders of giants (or in this case the Large Enterprise experience) SAP can provide a world class fully integrated business management system and bring it to you in the cloud.
Cloud also provides scalability so it can grow with your business, you can be safe in the knowledge that the solution will grow with you. All you need is an internet connection, everything else is taken care of including support, infrastructure, security, upgrades. Explore SAP Business ByDesign as an example of just such a Cloud based solution.
So are we insulting SMEs by calling them small? No, SAP is simply recognising what makes them different and treating them with the respect they deserve as the power house of the UK economy.