SME’s Prefer Local Presence for ERP Sales & Service

April 11, 2010

Having clocked up more than 20 years of working in the ERP industry targeting small to medium enterprises (SMEs), I can now state confidently that there are some truths to this business that will probably never change.

Some of those truths are as follows…

  • Small and medium-sized businesses prefer to buy from and deal with local people, when it comes to ERP and accounting software. They want to eyeball and have face to face access with the people they are dealing with.
  • However, those businesses have no problem with using a centralized help desk function which is accessed by toll-free phone or the Internet – if it is offered in conjunction with localized representation.
  • SME focused resellers and service agents with only one geographic location therefore tend to be very generalist and opportunist about what type of solutions they sell and the customers they sell to. In other words they resist specialization because they only have a limited market of customers in their locality. This is obviously not the case for resellers that have wide regional coverage – as they have a larger accessible market and can afford to build up expertise in particular vertical markets.

For the above reasons, from the perspective of Enprise Software we are now seeing a consolidation of our SAP Business One ERP resellers that sell Enprise Job Costing, evident everywhere, but particularly in North America. The result is fewer reseller organisations, but with a much more spread-out branch structure and centralized customer support functions.

One of our best Enprise Job Costing partners that has been particularly successful in its geographic expansion with centralized support, is Vision-33 which now has regional offices in Irvine CA, Los Angeles CA, San Francisco CA, Salt Lake City UT, Seattle WA, Portland OR, Houston TX, Austin TX, Dallas TX, Fort Lauderdale FL and St Johns NL Canada.

Locally in New Zealand, Enprise New Zealand has been following the same strategy of building up a network of regional sales & implementation offices, with centralized support to claim the mantle of a “Nationwide” presence. Enprise NZ has offices & representation in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Christchurch (further regional expansion is planned for this year) . Centralized support is offered through toll-free 0800 numbers and Internet support web site.

I believe this is the best model for SME ERP sales and service. This is evidenced by the stellar sales success currently being enjoyed by both Vision-33 and Enprise New Zealand as they expand their presence in their respective markets. They can specialize in the types of solutions they offer to the market, building up specialized expertise, rather than needing to be all things to all people. It should also be said that specialized expertise and the quantities of scale achieved by these larger organizations leads to more successful outcomes for customers and greater profitability for the reseller…and that must be a good thing.

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