One of the biggest challenges small businesses face is access to resources. Whether it is getting funded, acquiring the best talent or developing the necessary networks to help their company thrive and grow, they have to work that much harder compared to large enterprises. Digital technology has made this much easier, and one of the solutions making this possible is SAP Ariba for small business.
The SAP Ariba Network has a clear objective in adding value on all the shared aspects of business commerce with proposals, contracts, orders, invoices, and payments to save you time, money and resources. And as a small business, being able to access these features with a real-world proven solution can be the catalyst to get your company to the next level of growth.
In an exclusive interview with Small Business Trends, Eric Self, Global Vice President, Seller Account Management, SAP Ariba, highlighted many of the benefits this technology solution provides small businesses as they navigate today’s digital ecosystem.
First thing first. Let’s get down to brass tacks; why should a small business use SAP Ariba? The answer Self gave was compelling for any business, large or small. He said, every hour, more than $434,000 in new business is posted to Ariba Discovery. And in 2015, alone, more than 33.1 million leads were matched through the service.
This type of lead is what gave Ergo Works, a small, woman-owned business in Palo Alto that sells ergonomic products access to more customers. According to the company’s president, Anne Kramer: “SAP gives us direct access to large corporations and provides a vehicle through which they can purchase specialty products from us while staying compliant within their procurement guidelines.”
Small businesses that connected to the Ariba Network were able to increase the efficiency of their sales and marketing activities by 20 percent, increase sales from new customers by 15 percent, boost wallet share with existing customers by 30 percent, and realize customer retention rates of 99 percent or more while getting paid 15-20 percent faster.
It is a given business has gone digital, which is responsible for opening incredible opportunities for small businesses. Traditional lead generation tools made it much too difficult if not impossible to find, qualify, and bid on opportunities for small companies.
The Ariba Network is a place where a small business can go beyond simply listing their products and services and create profitable connections with buyers who are ready to buy and efficiently manage both their sales cycle and cash flow.
This is the largest, most global B2B network where more than two million buyers and sellers — including over two thirds the Global 2000 — in 190 countries connect and collaborate. The amount of money SAP Ariba transacts annually in commerce is higher than Amazon, eBay and Alibaba combined at more than $1 trillion.
Those numbers might overwhelm some small businesses, so how does SAP Ariba for small business simplify the process. As Eric Self said, “It all starts with desire. Are you serious about growing your business, competing with the best, and winning new customers – and who isn’t?”
If there is one thing small business owners have is desire, and the Ariba Network takes that desire and helps it flourish with a platform that is as easy as creating a presence on social networks. The detailed information about your business and capabilities, products and services enables you to put your best foot forward with buyers at some of the world’s leading and largest corporations. This means the passion you have for your company will be on display without faceless catalogs or middle men.
A great example of this is Quentin McCorvey, Sr., President and COO of M&R Distribution Services, a small, minority-owned firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. Before creating his profile on Ariba Discovery, MCorvey found it difficult to get his company in the door for getting the business of large enterprises. After being in the network, M&R Distribution bid on a project for Caesars Entertainment through the network — and it is now a vendor of choice for the entertainment giant, providing drum liners and gloves to all its properties.
McCorvey said, “There is often a stigma associated with awarding large contracts to small, minority-owned firms. But I am not looking for a handout, I am looking for a handshake — an opportunity to earn the business of a customer. Ariba provides me with a platform from which I can do this.”
He went on to say, “There are some very powerful purchasing organizations who use Ariba. And when they hear that I am connected to the network, it gives me added credibility because there is a level of respect.”
There are countless technology solutions in the market place addressing the needs of small businesses. This has allowed these companies to extend their reach not only nationally, but also internationally. When asked how the Ariba Network differs, Eric Self said it facilitates opportunities in every region of the world — not just with global, multinational buyers, but also with smaller companies looking for quality partners.
The network connects businesses in one place to find and fully engage with new partners across multiple channels to create opportunities. You can choose the markets, industries, and opportunities you want to compete in. So you will be able to generate intelligent transactions with partners around the world and manage the connections that matter to you most with greater efficiency.
As for how SAP Ariba for small business delivers tools that address their specific needs, Eric Self said it starts out by simplifying the complex nature of the entire ecosystem. First of all, it’s free to sign up and begin tapping into these opportunities to deliver real, measurable results.
The next step is even better, because you don’t have to invest in any software to be up and running. With just an Internet connection, your company can connect to the network and begin transacting anytime, anywhere, using any device. Your small business won’t need the technology solutions or infrastructure of a large enterprise, but you will have the same capability. With just a few clicks you can receive purchase orders, send order confirmations and invoices to buyers without any portals to manage.
As M&R Distribution’s McCorvey says, “I used to prospect with a full tank of gas and a pocket full of quarters. With Ariba Discovery, the leads just show up in my inbox. My world has changed.”
So the question isn’t why join the Ariba Network, but why not? If you are currently part of the network or decide to join, please let us know how the connections it provides has increased the visibility of your company.