Is Small too Small?

November 23, 2010 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

By Diane Krakora – CEO

Most high technology companies lump their small business model in with their medium business route-to-market approach, creating an SMB strategy, team and channel framework. Until recently, Cisco had bucked this standard practice by giving small business the unique attention it deserves and requires.  Andrew Sage has been leading the Cisco for Small Business initiative fairly autonomously. Over the past two years he had defined the partner characteristics that address the sub-100 employee market segment (small), created programs to engage and empower the target partners and designed a “virtual touch” structure and process within Cisco.

Last week Cisco announced the small business segment would be combined into the Commercial market segment – addressing the needs of small and medium sized businesses. Of course Andrew will continue to drive small business sales globally, but will now report to Dave O’Callahan, VP of Worldwide Commercial Sales.  There’s nothing, per se, wrong with this structure. Nearly everyone else in the industry including HP and Microsoft align to an SMB segmentation. I’m just disappointed that Cisco is falling in line with their competitors, instead of standing out uniquely in the industry. I’ve been fairly vocal acknowledging Cisco’s understanding that the needs of small business customers (<100) is strictly different than the needs of mid-sized customers (up to 1000 employees). Now, it seems Small is lost in the more exciting, manageable and arguably lucrative Mid-market.

My question to you all: is the small market segment with over 150 million potential customers globally, too small to deserve its own model, framework, program, processes and team?

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Entry filed under: Industry Perspective. Tags: , , , , , , .

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