IT suppliers targeting small businesses have to optimize their go-to-market strategy to survive. In the past, IT suppliers used the traditional IT sales channel of distributors and IT resellers. The continuing growth of cloud products, such as Salesforce, has recently changed a lot of supplier’s go-to-market strategy. Many suppliers decide to skip the traditional channel and sell directly to the end customer. With the unprecedented growth of cloud services brokers, a whole new channel is created which can’t be ignored.

Many IT Suppliers develop powerful solutions for small businesses. However, they do not always take into account the situation of an average small business. It is important because you are as a supplier skip the channel and want to sell directly to the end customer. Gartner has made a number of observations in small business:

–          Small businesses rarely pay for expensive technical solutions. They are very price sensitive and pay only for that kind of solutions if the added value is clear.

–          Only a small percentage of small businesses have a full-timet IT staff. Therefore they have high expectations before and after purchasing, and they want good service, support and training.

Many IT suppliers have difficulty namely the tension between providing good services and profitability. For this reason the profitability is often under pressure.

With the emergence grow of many non-traditional “cloud service brokers” we see a new channel arise with a central role for cloud products. The ancient scrolls of resellers and distributors as a channel makes a comeback. The big advantage of this channel is that the tension between good services and profitability is missing. Gartner identifies four rapidly emerging non-traditional channels to reach small businesses and the potential impact for the IT supplier.

  1. Unprecedented Growth of Cloud Services Brokers and E-Markets
    A. Determine whether you are better served working with an existing CSB or creating your own.
    B. Position the CSB channel against other traditional paths to market; do not create unnecessary conflict.
  1. Retail: Transformation of the Traditional Office Supplier Storefront
    A. Target OSSs to reach small businesses and complement traditional channels.
    B. Ensure retailers are committed to mutual accountability and share (via Web-enabled partner portals or others) timely customer.
  1. Banks: One-Stop Shop for More Than Financial Products
    A. Market benefits to banks that go beyond new sources of bank revenue.
    B. Engineer the solution to be simple to access and automatically populate with data from the bank, wherever possible.
  1. Telco & Cable: Tomorrow’s Small- Business Technology and Information Utilities
    A. Target CSPs with brokerages that have revenue-sharing, applications-support, and who-does-what guidelines when sharing support responsibility with partners.
    B. Develop industry-specific and machine-to-machine applications for small business and general business applications.

IT suppliers should begin measuring the impact nontraditional channels will have on their business, also they should immediately plan to introduce new product, bundles, prices, etc. in order to optimize and broaden their channel mix.