Because of some developments in our company, we have recently been involved in meetings with other ERP VARs (value added resellers), and it seems not one has much nice to say about their vendor.
In the case of Microsoft, the consensus is that in South Africa they are fairly clueless about ERP marketing or the ERP market, especially the mid-market. No one relies on them for leads, and only take a Microsoft person to a prospect to provide some confidence to the prospectee.
For SAP, the Business One lead generation logging procedure is rigid and anti-competitive, and customers are dictated to by SAP on which VAR they can use.
Makes me wonder if Syspro isn’t a better choice for the mid-market as they have been there for so long.
In recent engagements with prospective customers, I have come to the conclusion that many decision makers in small and medium businesses (SMB) have very little idea about the issues, questions and implications of ERP and CRM applications. Most of the bloggers in the ERP/CRM arena seem to have a focus on larger organisations which have more knowledgeable resources; Jyoti Banerjee’s KiteBlue is an exception.
The problem is that SMB people are focused on the operational issues of their business, and as far as IT is concerned it is mainly around Internet, security and the accounting package. So when they start to look at ERP or CRM solutions, they have very little idea what to look for and what to ask. Which means they either make a decision based purely on price, or they take ages to make a decision because the learning process takes time.
I therefore I am beginning to feel quite critical about the vendor community (SAP, Microsoft etc) who claim the SMB sector is an important market for ERP and CRM, but whose marketing is all about positioning and messaging, and are not trying to educate the SMB market.
I got an invitation recently from Microsoft to attend a marketing workshop, but I am noted terribly impressed recently with Microsoft’s marketing. My feeling is echoed in a posting on the MSFTextrememakover blog – If they sold sashimi, they’d call it cold dead fish.
I don’t know whether Microsoft’s marketing team have changed, or whether their team hasn’t realised that the world has changed, but somehow they need to start realising that the message styles they used in the past don’t work anymore.