How to SMAC the Competition
B2B SMBs have seen a lot happen in their industry over the past decade. First, came the rise of social, then the invasion of mobile, followed by the arrival of cloud and ultimately the incorporation of analytics in all this.
For major Fortune 500 companies, this has been a boon for innovation. Hardware companies like Cisco are now able to integrate Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud (SMAC) into networking and the Internet of Things (IoT), while startups like Fitbit can cash in on the quantified self-movement where people can socially compete with others on fitness and measures of their progress. Even though automation seems to be taking root, there’s still quite a bit to be considered in terms of what the future may hold.
For the past couple of years, B2B SMBs have stood on the sidelines wondering what their role in all of this is. While solopreneurs and big companies get all the clout, they seem to have been left out, but the industry is now changing. If anything, given recent industry market changes, SMBs are the largest growing sector as Fortune 500s start fragmenting into smaller, leaner and more efficient teams.
Luckily for SMBs, there’s no need for a billion dollar budget to get in the game and stay there. In today’s blog post, we’ll take a look at how SMBs can stay agile and SMAC their competition into the wall.
Social and social media have been around for nearly 15 years now. Companies like Facebook and Twitter may not have started the party, but they have certainly made it so that the good times can keep on rolling. For B2Bs, social has become a part of the strategy in recent years as companies have discovered how it can be used to facilitate the beginning of the buyer’s journey at the top of the sales funnel.
For all businesses, good social media experience begins with content. Being able to create and curate content has always been the name of the game, whether it’s photography, the written word, video or audio. At the end of the day, a good B2B enterprise uses this content to build relationships and ultimately, the bottom line.
For SMBs, the entry to use social media is fairly inexpensive though tools like Buffer, HootSuite and others make the process of cutting through the noise and automating content much easier.
In recent years, the advent of smartphones has brought about attention to mobile as a prominent business strategy, leveraging such themes as applications, text messaging and location-based user interaction. For B2Bs, mobile has played a role at industry events where customized apps help attendees navigate the crowded and busy schedule as well as interact and network with other attendees.
On the customer level, mobile leverages applications and good search engine optimization since many customers explore purchasing decisions from the comforts of their phone or tablet. A mobile strategy for any business is a good thing as phones and tablets are slowly eating into desktop and laptop sales.
For SMBs, creating an app is not necessarily a requirement, but staying in touch with your customers through text message or even an occasional solicited phone call is a good idea.
Long considered the bellwether of business strategy, analytics is now going mainstream as a major way to measure customer interests and dictate business decisions. With software becoming a major business strategy, analytics has followed along and become a viable end solution.
For business leaders, analytics represents the gift they have been looking for this entire time in being able to understand what customers want without having to actually ask them for it. From competitive analysis tools like Radian 6 to searching for hashtags, there is an analytics solution for just about everyone.
For SMBs, measuring simple data like web traffic or following trends in a specific industry can be the great beginnings of business success. As many SMBs don’t know how to measure data or find it, being able to do this is a great first-mover competitive advantage.
Finally, the platform that supports this all and which research firm IDC calls the third wall — Cloud — is the newest comer into the world of SMAC. With cloud spending expected to hit the hundreds of billions in the coming years, the technology promises to give SMBs even more bargaining power at the table against Fortune 500s. What’s even better is that while most businesses don’t even know it, they are using the cloud.
For SMBs, the cloud represents the ultimate platform because it not only changes how technology is applied in business, but also changes the way to work by allowing everything to be stored in a centralized area. No longer do non-technical SMBs need to hire an IT person but rather they can have their technology vendor take care of it instead. No longer do workers have to show up and drive a commute, but the agilest businesses will see that employees can work from home in the comfort of their pajamas. And no longer will CFOs have to worry about a huge operational expense — the cost of doing business as a whole will go down, and no one will have to worry about owning depreciating hardware.
SMAC The Competition
The most successful SMBs will SMAC the competition and apply each of these four virtues of technology. Each takes the time to understand, digest and integrate into the business strategy, but mastery means vertical domination. As you go on your SMB journey, let us cut through the noise and tell you more about how each play a part in helping you get to the top.
Join us, and let us know how we can help!
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