Think small businesses are slow to the punch when it comes to adopting the newest technology? Think again, says Terry Hicks, who has just been hired as chief product officer at B2B software service firm Infusionsoft.
PYMNTS chatted with Hicks to discuss his new role and how he plans to ensure small business owners get access to the innovative, cutting-edge solutions they need to succeed. As an industry veteran coming to Infusionsoft from Intuit, Hicks knows a lot about SMEs’ needs. Today, those needs include everything from automated invoice settlements to Big Data analytics capabilities. Check out what he has to say about where small business tech is headed and how the market will get there.
Congratulations on your new position at Infusionsoft. You are entering a newly created position in global product strategy for the company. What, exactly, does this mean, and what strategy will you adopt to move the company forward?
TH: Small business owners around the world face similar challenges. Whether in Berlin, Sydney or Helena, Montana, I’m going to be focused on empowering their success. I want to help connect entrepreneurs with best-in-class technology and educational resources so they can spend more time focusing on their passions and less time on the operations of their business.
Small businesses are not always the first that come to mind when we think of the quickest, most eager adaptors to new technology. But you’ve been in this industry for nearly 15 years. Are SMEs beginning to change their tune about adopting new tech solutions like Infusionsoft software?
TH: They’ve already changed their tune about adopting new technology solutions. The way small business owners look at tech and their expectations have radically changed since the iPhone hit the market. They were broadly adopted and made information more easily accessible than ever before. Then the proliferation of cloud-based technology took off, which made it possible to instantly have business operation data at your fingertips. These advances have put a lot of pressure on those serving the small business market to create simpler and more easily accessible solutions that small business owners demand today.
Many SMEs remain skeptical about the cost of implementing new software and about the security of such tools. How does Infusionsoft address these concerns?
TH: For Infusionsoft, our implementation cost largely goes toward consultative services to coach and partner with small business owners on their sales and marketing goals. They help import data, navigate the tools and launch campaigns so they can see success right from the start. For those skeptical, I think they’ll see the incredible value once they learn more about how encompassing and detailed our implementation process is.
In the past, data security measures for most software technology generally fell on the shoulders of small business owners. However, cloud-based technology has shifted toward solution providers. Infusionsoft has rigorous security measures in place to keep our customers’ data safe.
At Intuit, you helped the company launch its payments operations. How will your knowledge of payments technology come in hand while at Infusionsoft? What trends do you see emerging in the small business community when it comes to payments technology?
TH: While at Intuit, the bulk of my time was focused on finding ways to help owners simplify their business and get paid faster. My goal was to make payments part of their normal business flow rather than another task to manage. It was really more about business automation, which is what Infusionsoft is all about. So I see a lot of commonalities and know I can make a big impact at Infusionsoft.
There are a couple trends in payments that are well underway, such as simplifying software to make it easier and more accessible by leveraging automation so small business owners can focus more on their passions. What’s ahead is the increasing accessibility of data around small business owners’ customers. There’s going to be a large focus on helping entrepreneurs understand their consumers more, so they can better serve them.