After doing our market research for the past few months, I am coming to the conclusion that it is tough to sell the value proposition for a horizontal Document Management System in the SMB market place. Even if the cost are very low as is the case with a hosted SaaS based offering, unless the business is just looking for standard DMS features, they are not willing to spend any money. There are a few reasons for this:
1. Small medium business require solutions that will relieve some pain or problem instantaneously for the owners or upper management who are the decision makers
2. If the sales pitch does not catch these pain points in the first few minutes of the sales process and the solution does not provide obvious answers to their problems, it’s an uphill battle to sell
3. The cost of sales has to be low which means no time for solution selling or lengthy needs analysis
4. End users who already know what they are looking in a DMS are a very small percent of the total SMB market and the only way to find them would be if they find you
5. Usually small business owners do not have trusted technical advisers to recommend solutions where the benefits are not obvious at first glance.
The obvious answer is to build vertical industry specific hosted SaaS based Document Management Solutions and then employ a sales force to sell to the vertical markets. Until then one can rely on inbound marketing strategies to generate business.
LinearCube has already started to build solutions in Legal as well as accounting and professional services domains and will be releasing them in coming months.