For the past six years, Camilyo has been working with marketing service providers who sell to small businesses around the world. We have seen the market evolve from exclusively selling websites to also offering SEO, lead generation, email marketing, customer retention services and, eventually, marketing service packages. Not only has Camilyo witnessed the process, but we have also contributed to it heavily by enabling our clients to build those comprehensive packages using just one platform - ours.

Today, as our customers are successfully selling the packages to small businesses, we feel that the time has come for us to speak about the next possible move - and so we did. At the recent SIINDA Localcom - 2017 Conference,our CMO and product visionary Ziv Koren sat together with independent industry observer and advisor Neal Polachek and Constantino Caroppo, CMO of one of Italy’s leading digital marketing agencies, Axèlero, to discuss where everything is going for SMBs and what marketing service providers should be offering them in the near future.

A Small Business Operating System

Currently, small business owners spend only 36% of their working time on their actual trade or service, with the remaining time absorbed in admin, payroll, and marketing (taking the largest portion of time) in which they had neither trained nor wished to work.

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SMB owners spend only 36% of their day on providing services

“Ironically, tools designed to help small businesses be more efficient are in fact slowing them down and frustrating them,”says Polachek. “SMB owners suffer from “death by a thousand apps.”

So what we can see now on the SMB side is a need in what is called a Small Business Operating System, which would glue together the front end of lead generation with the back office work, such as managing the supply chain, payroll and fulfilment via a central CRM.

SMB OS Essential Pieces

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A new operating system should replace the present fragmented setup of using a different platform for each task with a single integrated unit.

The SMB OS is “ integrated set of software tools that really operate together to enable the practitioner to move that 36% back up to around 60%, and move the taxing administrative stuff to 40%,” says Polachek.

Why Do Marketing Service Providers Need to Look Into SMB OS?

Constantino Caroppo, whose digital company Axelero has been working closely with Italian business owners, also highlights the need to help them move to a more automated and up-to-date way of working:

“SMB owners [in Italy] are still managing the business with Excel. The real challenge is to have them cross the chasm from working as they are working now to a completely different way of working.”

He points out that, as things stand today, marketing service providers are only assisting their small business customers with the very first stage or two of the funnel of revenue generation, fulfilment and customer service. Service providers need to move down the funnel, he opined, by extending to provide education in the later stages of service fulfilment and customer care.

“Automation is going to be fundamental,” said Caroppo. “Repetitive tasks, like sending reminders, emails, or posting, need to be automated because [small business owners] don’t have the time. Finally, a game-changing new way of thinking for us is service. There is a lot that physical people, advisors and consultants can do for our customers,” he added.

MySuite, Axèlero’s new offering based on Camilyo’s platform, is a step in this direction.

MySuite combines web and social presence, advanced ecommerce and lead generation with real human advisory support to ease Italy’s SMB owners into a new way to manage their businesses.

Ziv Koren emphasized that service providers are facing a profound change in the way they interact with their small business clients.

"Over 50% of SMB’s believe that they can do some part of DIY,” says Koren. “The reality is, of course, that they can't, but we need to address this need in some way, and the way to do it is to provide them with assisted tools. The role of the service provider is now changing to be the role of a mentor, an entity who can provide the difficult set-up functionalities like fulfilling a website, but also can create posting templates, email templates, reach content that the smb can use, and providing them with an easy enough tool that they can just operate on their own while pushing the knowledge down the funnel."

With reference to recent studies conducted in the USA , Koren explained that SMBs now want to do many tasks for themselves. They look to service providers to assist them with tools such as email and posting templates, and guidance to operate them alone, rather than doing these tasks for them. It is a more mentor-like role than that which SPs have so far been filling, he stated.

Summing up the presentation, Polachek reiterated the importance of helping small business owners manage their front office tasks in a more automated way so that they can return focus to their back office tasks. “I think we’re going to see way more computer-aided selling at the front end of all this, so that people can spend their time on the back end of fulfilment and customer service.”

Watch the entire panel here:

In the next blog post we will announce a new addition to our product that is taking us one step closer to becoming the SMB OS. Camilyo_Logo_gray C only small.png