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“A lot of times SMBs feel left behind,” says Katie Foote, VP of Demand Generation for Small Business at Salesforce. “And sometimes they feel like the bigger tech companies don’t truly understand their needs.”

The messaging from tech companies that offer the kind of point solutions businesses need to compete in the marketplace tends to be enterprise-focused, Foote says. And if you’re an SMB, you’re strapped for resources, trying to move quickly, and you end up trying to stitch together a wide variety of different technology and make it all work together within your budget, and that just puts you at a disadvantage when you turn around and try to market your offerings to your own customer base, and deliver on customer expectations.

Right now, consumers are always connected on some level — “hyperconnectivity” is in some ways the fourth industrial revolution.

“With that hyperconnectivity comes greater expectations from consumers,” says Foote. “SMBs are being asked to connect in much more relevant ways, leveraging much more sophisticated technology and data.”

Just from a resourcing standpoint, that becomes a real challenge. Even when you do invest in technology, can you afford the right professional services to be able to build custom journeys and implement technology? This hyperconnectivity has led to new ways to surprise and delight customers on every level, but it can also be just another way small- and mid-sized companies feel left behind, making what should be a competitive differentiator a real disadvantage.

But there are very specific areas that SMB businesses can invest in, in order to start meeting their customer needs better, no matter their size, and to achieve consistent wins. And there are actually a lot of solutions out there these days for SMBs to take advantage of, Foote says. Companies like Salesforce are beginning to recognize the challenges smaller companies face, and identify the pressing technology needs a business has no matter where it is on the segmentation spectrum — and this has been the driving force behind the launch of SalesForce Essentials, geared specifically to the unique needs of small business.

“Technology holds a tremendous amount of power to make sense of the data and everything that consumers are doing today,” Foote notes. “Customer relationship management systems and sales and marketing technology is especially essential for small businesses, giving them ways to connect to their customers without needing to invest in an entire IT department to keep their systems running. If someone is feeling intimidated or overwhelmed because they’ve been asked to use technology to grow their small business, they’re going to resist taking these steps.”

Even something as simple as first- and last-name personalization can make a tremendous difference in how a company engages their customers, Foote says.

And one of the biggest things you can do to accelerate growth is investing in technology on your website — things like search engine marketing (SEM strategies), and paid digital campaigns that bring consumers in contact with your brand, driving brand awareness, which should all point back to your website.

In the area of SEO, are you using the right keywords, so that when Google crawls the site you’re high on that ranking list? Events can help reach customers and prospects, and those contacts should drive back to your website, where you also offer thought leadership content in the form of ebooks or webinars.

“Once awareness has been driven, you’re driving that traffic to your site and you’re furthering engagement, so that those leads can then be qualified and moved through the funnel,” she explains.

It’s important to choose a technology partner that can scale with you, Foote warns. You should not have to switch providers, once you get some traction under your feet. If they help you grow, they should be able provide solutions that grow with you.

“Many small businesses are hoping to be middle-sized and enterprise businesses some day, and the path to growth is important,” she says. “If you have aspirations to grow, when you’re assessing different vendors, it’s really important to make sure that you’re asking those questions.”

To learn more about the cost-effective technology and strategies that can help accelerate growth for small- and medium-size business, along with some real-world case studies, don’t miss this VB Live event!

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

Webinar attendees will learn:

  • How to deliver success across the entire customer lifecycle from lead to retention
  • How to configure, price, and quote complex deals, fast and efficiently
  • How to accelerate business by closing deals with instant sign-offs on agreements
  • How customer-focused organizations win business with personalized experiences


  • Katie Foote, Vice President, Demand Generation for Small Business, Salesforce
  • Dave Simon, Vice President, Small Business Sales, DocuSign
  • Stewart Rogers, Analyst-at-Large, VentureBeat
  • Dave Clark, Host, VentureBeat

Sponsored by DocuSign