Sime Darby and Maybank are seen as “dream customers” by SMEs and large enterprises in Malaysia. According to the Malaysia Business Growth Survey commissioned by global B2B matchmaking platform Koble through Google, 27% of the 500 respondents would like their employer to partner Sime Darby, while 25% eyed Maybank. This was followed by CIMB Group (17.3%), Tenaga Nasional (15.5%) and Public Bank (15.3%).
Finding new customers, the survey said, is expected to be the biggest challenge for both large and small companies in Malaysia. About 28% of companies with more than 200 employees indicated that this was their top challenge this year, while the number rose to 32% for SMEs.
Employees from SMEs noted that access to capital would be the next most significant challenge for their company (19%), followed by the macroeconomy (16%) and hiring (14%). On the other hand, employees from large companies saw macroeconomy (26%) as their second most prominent challenge this year, followed by hiring new employees (15%).
To gain more customers, SMEs mainly turn to networking online (28%) and email marketing (28%), while large enterprise employees prefer the old school method of meeting in-person (24%) followed by networking online (23%) and word of mouth (22%). More specifically, those in the finance and business industry were most interested in networking online (32%), while technology and software companies were most interesting in offline networking (28%) such as conferences or events to find new customers.
Meanwhile, both SMEs and large enterprises agreed that building a digital presence (38%) should be their top action in preparing the company to become more digitally ready. Small enterprises are also focused on getting educated on digital business (36%), followed by access to digital payments (17%) and owning a smartphone (8%).
Compared to SMEs (26%), large organisations in Malaysia were more prepared to sell online (43%). Majority of SMEs, on the other hand, stated that their company was working on it (46%) or not prepared to do so at all (30%). According to Koble’s survey, this disparity means that SMEs are missing out on a big opportunity to sell online to other businesses domestically and internationally.
While promotions such as Alibaba’s Malaysia Week have helped in shedding light on consumers businesses in Malaysia which are moving online, Koble said that many small B2B companies in Malaysia remain “in the dark” when it comes to online sales.
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