On November 7, LSA hosted the second Tech Adoption Summit in San Francisco. It was an exclusive, c-level event focused on the future of SMB technology adoption and the implications for technology providers and sales channels. The following are summaries and links to individual session posts.

SMB Panel: The Demand for Service and the Problem of Scale

“After another successful SMB digital marketing bootcamp yesterday at Yelp’s San Francisco office, we kicked off the Tech Adoption Summit, which continues today, with a presentation of new data on small business technology adoption. That was followed by a panel discussion of small business owners.

The panel included the owner of a multiple office dental practice, the owner of a 39-person termite control company, a plumber, a mortgage broker and an executive from a small but rapidly growing accounting firm. It was a great cross-section of business owners. With the exception of the plumber these were relatively sophisticated businesses that had multiple employees.”

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After 20 Years of Hard SAAS Lessons, Verizon-Owned Yahoo Small Business Primed for Growth

“Responding to session interviewer Greg Sterling during a fireside chat at the Tech Adoption Summit today, Kushagra Shrivastava, Managing Director for Yahoo Small Business, talked about how Yahoo Small Business has evolved over the past 20 years.

While giving a nod to competitive pressures brought by new products coming to market, he added that there is also the need to always be sure that product development is keeping pace with customer needs and ensuring that pricing remains competitive. Yahoo Small Business has also been able to build on its brand, even after two decades in the space. “Yahoo thankfully still enjoys incredible brand value,” he explained at the morning session.”

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Tech Adoption Summit: What Does the C in CRM Stand For?

“Enterprise companies manage relationships. Small and local businesses have relationships — and they hinge on being able to track and understand conversations. That was a key point of Broadly CEO and Co-founder Josh Melick’s Headline Talk during LSA’s Tech Adoption Summit 2018.

Melick went on to say that innovators often forget that small businesses are unique, with their own set of requirements and problems to solve, and skinnying down enterprise-scale solutions are likely to fail. Why? Forgetting to design for difference inevitably results in product issues (like the Apple Watch’s heart sensor, which didn’t interact as effectively with darker skin tones or wrist tattoos).

Nowhere is this seen as clearly as with CRM systems, said Melick. If it’s a Fortune 500 company, it makes sense to have a CRM that’s essentially a database to track the thousands of customers they have. But a small business owner likely knows most — if not all — of her customers because they live in the community too.” Click here to read more.

Tech Adoption Summit 2018: Some New Perspective on the SMB Landscape

What makes building and selling innovation to small, local businesses so challenging?

Bob Yakominich – Broadly’s Vice President of Sales and a veteran of American Express, Zip and CitySearch, among others – joined the Tech Adoption Summit to share some perspective.

Unlike enterprise companies, SMB owners wear many different hats – they work both in the business and on the business, Yakominich said. That has three key implications for those trying to sell to them:

  • First, it’s much harder to break through the clutter of all they’re dealing with to connect in a meaningful (and productive) way.
  • Second, more companies are excited by the prospect of working directly with the decision maker and a theoretical faster path to close, increasing competition of late, particularly for marketing dollar spend.
  • Third, SMB owners are agile and decisive – but while they may quickly sign with you, they’ll just as quickly look to others if the promises you made in your sales pitch don’t match the reality of working with your product.

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POV: SMB Telesales Don’t Work, Need ‘Product-First’ Approach

One of the highlights of last week’s Tech Adoption Summit in San Francisco was ThriveHive CMO Adam Blake’s thought-provoking discussion of SMB customer acquisition. The presentation was called, “Product First Go to Market Strategy.”

To lead off Blake talked about how, according to third-party data, SMB customer acquisition costs have gone up 50% in the past five years. While there are multiple reasons for this, it probably argues for new sales and marketing strategies and tactics.

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