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Selling Telecoms to SMBs

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SMBs are feeling pretty optimistic: 35% of them expect to grow by double digits this year, and 10% expect to grow by more than 100%. That translates into plans to invest in telecommunications services — whether to improve internet access speed or upgrade a phone system. SMBs understand what being connected — to customers, prospects, vendors, peers, remote workers, influencers, and others — means to their business.

To find out how you can boost sales to SMBs, we recently surveyed 500 U.S. SMB principals.

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Selling Telecoms to SMBs

  1. 1. SELLING TELECOMS TO SMBS
  2. 2. 2 ORIGINAL RESEARCH  CUSTOM CONTENT INCREASING SALES TO SMBS
  3. 3. • Qualitative • Live focus groups • Online bulletin boards • In-depth interviews • Quantitative • Custom phone / online • SMB Pulse • New SMB IT Pulse Methods ORIGINAL RESEARCH  CUSTOM CONTENT • Ad, message, positioning testing • Attitudes and usage • Brand awareness / perception • Buyer identification • Competitive perceptions • Customer satisfaction / NPS • Market segmentation • Media behaviors / preferences • New product testing • Persona / buyer journey • Purchase intent, behaviors, channels and preferences Topics INCREASING SALES TO SMBS 3 Internal: Actionable product / marketing insight External: PR / social / content / events / collateral OutputsOutputs
  4. 4. 4 ORIGINAL RESEARCH  CUSTOM CONTENT Video Email Newsletters Checklists / Worksheets Case StudiesArticles Blog Posts White Papers Podcasts eBooks PR Surveys Social Media Handbooks / Guides Webcasts Slideshows Infographics Interactive Tools • Peer data • Creative brief • Editorial calendar • Content development • Content audit • Analytics Contribution • Expert • Actionable • Relevant • Easy to understand • Professional • Brand-building • Custom Principles Direct Mail Event Collateral Brochures / Sell Sheets Custom Pubs INCREASING SALES TO SMBS
  5. 5. The SMB telco adoption outlook, sales cycle preferences and purchase process 5 WHAT WE’LL COVER Role of content Key motivations and concerns Purchase intent and process Brand perception of 39 companies
  6. 6. 6 METHODOLOGY 1 2 3 HOW WHO WHEN Online survey via the Bredin.com/SMBPulse 500 principals of U.S. companies with ≤500 employees (4% +/- CI) April 17-24, 2018 Representative mix of industries, business ages, locations etc. 250 VSB <20 employees (97.7% weighting) 150 SB 20-99 employees (2.0% weighting) 100 MB 100-500 employees (0.3% weighting)
  7. 7. 7 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • SMBs are prioritizing mobility and speed in 2018, with cellphones, faster Internet and tablets being the top three planned purchases. • SMBs most want telecoms solutions that are reliable, followed by easy to setup and use. • SMBs are using a wide range of sources and formats for information during the early stages of the sales cycle, with search, YouTube and peers being especially important. • At the purchase stage, SMBs rely heavily on personal interactions with their peers, employees, consultants, your sales team and retail stores. • Interactive content can facilitate sales; content overall can boost brand perception, conversion and retention
  8. 8. DETAILED FINDINGS
  9. 9. Respondent Age Larger and younger SMBs (and younger principals) are more optimistic 9 SMB BUSINESS OUTLOOK Company size Company Age 22% 29% 45% 43% 8% 22% 25% 32% 51% 40% 27% 19%18% 9% 4% 6% Less than 4 years 4 to 9 years 10 to 19 years 20 years or more 34% 17% 15% 21% 27% 25% 35% 44% 48% 10% 12% 12% VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) 15% 31% 43% 26% 24% 17% 44% 31% 34% 15% 14% 6% 18-34 35-49 50+ n=500 How do you expect your 2018 revenues to compare to 2017? SMBs in located in rural areas are more likely to expect no growth in 2018 compared to their urban peers (39% vs. 25%).
  10. 10. Purchase intent is highest for cellphones 10 n=Ranges 492-500 What is your best guess as to when you will buy new / additional, or upgrade, each of these telecommunications solutions for your business? Please pick the most likely option in each row; pick the soonest option if you will do any given thing multiple times. PURCHASE / UPGRADE OUTLOOK ‘Cellphone(s)’ is the only product category where the majority of Baby Boomer SMB principals plan to invest (62%). This is in stark contrast to Millennial SMB principals, of whom a majority will invest in every category except landlines. 11% 16% 17% 21% 22% 26% 34% 12% 16% 11% 17% 24% 16% 22% 9% 10% 7% 11% 8% 11% 13% 32% 42% 34% 50% 55% 53% 69% Landlines Phone system Handsets Routers / switches / wireless access points Tablets Higher-speed Internet access Cellphone(s) By the end of 2018 In 2019 After 2019 = % that plan on buying or upgrading
  11. 11. 24% 20% 25% 24% 26% 27% 33% 23% 23% 24% 29% 25% 30% 25% 15% 20% 16% 17% 17% 18% 17% 14% 11% 11% 9% 11% 9% 9% 7% 8% 7% 8% 4% 5% 6% 18% 17% 16% 13% 17% 12% 11% Landlines Phone system Handsets Routers / switches / wireless access points Tablets Higher-speed Internet access Cellphone(s) A week A month Three months Six months A year More than a year Cellphones have the shortest purchase time 11 n=Ranges 492-500 On average, how long does it take from starting to conduct research on these telecommunications solutions for your business until you make a purchase or upgrade decision? (please pick the closest option in each row) PURCHASE / UPGRADE TIMING
  12. 12. 39% 42% 42% 42% 47% 52% 53% 60% Improve employee productivity Reduce communication costs Improve website performance Keep up with changes in customers' use of technology Take advantage of a growth opportunity Current solution is dated / not working well Improve performance / business processes Improve data security Data security is the number one driver of telecoms solutions purchases 12 n=500 % Rated very important On a scale of 1 (not at all important) to 3 (very important), please rate each of these possible reasons for purchasing new, or upgrading, telecommunications solutions: PURCHASE RATIONALE VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) 60% 69% 67% 53% 62% 63% 52% 55% 59% 46% 55% 61% 42% 50% 58% 42% 58% 58% 42% 53% 60% 39% 58% 59% Total
  13. 13. 13 % that rate aspect as ‘very important’ %ofthatrateperformanceas‘verywell’ n=varies. Top 1 box Horizontal axis: On a scale of 1 (not at all important) to 3 (extremely important), please rate the importance of each of these aspects of acquiring telecommunications solutions: Vertical axis: On a scale of 1 (not at all well) to 3 (extremely well), please rate how well your telecommunications vendors in general perform on each of these aspects: Performance outweighs importance Importance outweighs performance PURCHASE CONSIDERATIONS: IMPORTANCE VS. PERFORMANCE Reliability, ease of set up and ease of use are the top purchase considerations Performance gap
  14. 14. 14 n=500 Does your company have a telecommunications consultant? TELECOMS CONSULTANT STATUS SBs and MBs are much more likely to have a telecoms consultant 25% 88% Total 24% 90% VSB (<20) 55% 29% SB (20-99) 69% 13% MB (100-500) 2% 6% 28% 64% Don't know / no opinion 1 Do not trust at all 2 Trust somewhat 3 Trust very much Trust in telco consultants among users n=126 Using the same scale of 1 (do not trust at all) to 3 (trust very much), please rate your trust in your telecommunications consultant.
  15. 15. PURCHASE PROCESS
  16. 16. 16 TV Newspaper / magazine (print or online) Peer / colleague YouTube Search Awareness Research report Product section of a vendor’s website Resources section of a vendor’s website Search Online reviews Research Peer / colleague Retail store In-house IT (or other) staff External / third-party IT (or other) consultant Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative Purchase INFORMATION SOURCES ACROSS THE SALES CYCLE: VSB Search plays an important role for VSBs
  17. 17. 17 Email newsletter External / third-party IT (or other) consultant Radio Podcast Peer / colleague Awareness Resources section of a vendor’s website Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative In-house IT (or other) staff Online reviews Search Research Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative Research report In-house IT (or other) staff Retail store External / third-party IT (or other) consultant Purchase INFORMATION SOURCES ACROSS THE SALES CYCLE: SB SBs rely heavily on their peers, consultants and staff throughout the sales cycle
  18. 18. 18 Online reviews One-off email Podcast Radio Webinar / webcast Awareness Call or meeting with a vendor sales representative Press release Newspaper / magazine (print or online) Research report Peer / colleague Research YouTube Analyst report In-house IT (or other) staff Product section of a vendor’s website Resources section of a vendor’s website Purchase INFORMATION SOURCES ACROSS THE SALES CYCLE: MB MBs first learn about new telecoms solutions via ‘rich content’
  19. 19. 26% 30% 30% 33% 35% 35% 46% 48% 55% Recommend solutions for my company based on prior purchases, or purchases of companies like mine Provide more / better articles, research reports, tips etc. to help me understand how their solutions can help me achieve my business goals Let me chat with customers whose businesses are the same size as mine Provide examples of how their solutions have helped companies in my industry Provide an easy, consistent purchase experience across multiple channels (e.g. online, mobile, in store, call center etc.) Make it easy for me to select the right configuation / specs for my company, for example through an interactive quiz or configurator Make it easy for me to get questions answered on their site via instant online / phone chat Make it easy for me to research and buy their products online without having to talk to a sales rep Better describe how their solutions can help my company achieve its business goals Interactivity can smooth the purchase process 19 n=500 What could telecommunication vendors do to make it easier to buy from them? Please select all that apply. IMPROVING THE PURCHASE PROCESS VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) 55% 65% 61% 48% 51% 56% 46% 42% 38% 35% 36% 34% 35% 28% 34% 33% 24% 23% 30% 39% 50% 30% 31% 37% 26% 20% 27% Total
  20. 20. ROLE OF CONTENT MARKETING
  21. 21. 8% 10% 10% 11% 18% 26% 32% 41% 41% Import / export Leadership and management Human resources Industry news and trends Law and taxes Financial planning and money management Operations Business development / sales and marketing Technology SMBs want advice on sales and marketing 21 n=490 % Ranked 1st or 2nd Please rank-order these topics on which you would like telecommunication vendors to provide business and technology management advice, from most important (top) to least important (bottom): PREFERRED TOPICS VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) 41% 36% 30% 40% 46% 51% 32% 28% 11% 26% 27% 43% 18% 7% 12% 11% 13% 13% 10% 22% 18% 10% 13% 8% 8% 9% 13% Total
  22. 22. 4% 6% 7% 10% 13% 14% 15% 17% 18% 19% 19% 23% 23% 25% 26% 30% 32% 34% 47% Peer forum or discussion board Twitter LinkedIn post Webinar / webcast Facebook post Infographic Video White paper Research report Audio podcast Blog post Interactive tool, e.g. quiz, calculator, configurator Online eBook / guide / handbook Checklist / worksheet Case study Printed sheet, booklet or guide Article Email newsletter Analyst report SMBs prefer analyst reports across the board 22 n=484 % Ranked 1st, 2nd , 3rd, or 4th Please rank-order the formats in which you would like telecommunication vendors to provide business and technology management advice from most preferred (top) to least preferred (bottom): PREFERRED CONTENT FORMATS VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500) 47% 51% 63% 34% 23% 19% 32% 37% 41% 30% 12% 11% 26% 32% 39% 25% 29% 22% 24% 13% 8% 23% 18% 12% 19% 26% 26% 18% 33% 35% 19% 11% 6% 17% 17% 27% 15% 13% 11% 14% 19% 14% 12% 24% 14% 10% 13% 10% 7% 5% 8% 6% 11% 15% 4% 7% 7% Total
  23. 23. Content can boost brand perception, conversion and retention 23 n=Ranges 496-498 Please indicate whether the business and technology management advice you’ve read from telecommunication vendors: EFFECT OF CONTENT MARKETING 72% say reading business management advice makes them think more favorably of the sponsoring company 68% say reading business management advice makes them more likely to become a customer of the sponsoring company 69% say reading business management advice makes them more likely to remain a customer of the sponsoring company Favorability Acquisition Retention VSB (<20) SB (20-99) MB (100-500)
  24. 24. … AND THE SLIDE YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR
  25. 25. 25 BRAND AWARENESS VS. TRUST % of respondents ‘very aware’ %ofrespondentsthat‘trustverymuch’ n=500. Top 1 box Horizontal axis: On a scale of 1 (not at all aware) to 3 (very aware), please rate your awareness of (or familiarity with) each of these telecommunications companies: Vertical axis: Using the scale of 1 (do not trust at all) to 3 (trust very much), please rate your trust in each of these telecommunications companies: AT&T leads in awareness; Apple is the most trusted brand
  26. 26. 26 HOW BREDIN CAN HELP Stu Richards, CEO stu@bredin.com • Content strategy • Creative brief / ed cal Strategy • Original content development • Exclusive SMB focus Content • Product / go-to-market strategy • Persona / buyer journey • Original data for standout content and PR Research Work with the experts in SMB insight and engagement

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