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SMB Purchase Intent and Process

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SMB Purchase Intent and Process

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What do SMBs plan to buy in 2020? How do they make purchase decisions – who is involved, and how long does it take in key product categories? What resources do they use to conduct product research, and make a purchase decision? What messaging resonates best with this large and diverse segment? What can vendors do to make it easier for them to buy?

To answer these questions – and more – we recently surveyed 500 U.S. SMB principals. You’ll learn:
• SMB business outlook and challenges
• What SMBs plan to buy in 2020 in major purchase categories such as tech, financial services, travel and more
• Who conducts research, and makes the purchase decision
• How long the decision-making process takes for key product categories
• The role of peers and consultants
• Purchase channel preferences
• The media that work best to engage SMBs across the sales cycle
• The messaging that works best with SMBs
• The role of content in boosting sales

What do SMBs plan to buy in 2020? How do they make purchase decisions – who is involved, and how long does it take in key product categories? What resources do they use to conduct product research, and make a purchase decision? What messaging resonates best with this large and diverse segment? What can vendors do to make it easier for them to buy?

To answer these questions – and more – we recently surveyed 500 U.S. SMB principals. You’ll learn:
• SMB business outlook and challenges
• What SMBs plan to buy in 2020 in major purchase categories such as tech, financial services, travel and more
• Who conducts research, and makes the purchase decision
• How long the decision-making process takes for key product categories
• The role of peers and consultants
• Purchase channel preferences
• The media that work best to engage SMBs across the sales cycle
• The messaging that works best with SMBs
• The role of content in boosting sales

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SMB Purchase Intent and Process

  1. 1. December 11, 2019 SMB Purchase Intent and Process
  2. 2. INCREASING SALES TO SMBS 2
  3. 3. Output INSIGHT Topics Methods • Qualitative • Live / online focus groups • In-depth interviews • Quantitative • Custom online • SMB Pulse omnibus • Snap Poll Insight for CE / product / marketing strategy Data for PR / content / social / collateral programs 3 • Attitudes and usage • Buyer identification • Competitive perceptions • Market segmentation • Media behaviors / preferences • Message / positioning testing • Net promoter score • Persona / buyer journey • Purchase intent, behaviors, channels and preferences
  4. 4. OUTREACH Video Email Newsletters Checklists / Worksheets Case StudiesArticles Blog Posts White Papers Podcasts eBooks PR Surveys Social Media Handbooks / Guides Webcasts Slideshows Infographics Interactive Tools • Survey 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 4
  5. 5. Understand SMB purchase intent and motivators Business outlook and challenges Purchase influencers Purchase motivators Sales accelerators 1 2 3 4 5 Purchase intent and timing 5 WHAT WE’LL COVER
  6. 6. 6 METHODOLOGY ONLINE SURVEY VIA THE BREDIN.COM/SMBPULSE 500 SMB PRINCIPALS AT U.S. COMPANIES <500 EMPLOYEES (+/- 4% CI) Company Size Quotas 250 VSBs <20 employees (97.7% weighting) 150 SBs 20-99 employees (2% weighting) 100 MBs 100-500 employees (.3% weighting) NOVEMBER 11-27, 2019WHEN HOW WHO % Indicates highest % in a given column (A) / (B) / (C) Indicates statistically significant difference between columns Note: The SMB Pulse is open to marketer participation. Some charts in this deck do not total to 100% due to rounding.
  7. 7. 7 RESPONDENT CHARACTERISTICS Principal (e.g., owner, founder, partner, CEO, president, etc.) Male Female 64% 36% Respondent Age Company Age Business Outlook Title / Role Company Size Gender 50% 30% 20% VSBs (<20) SBs (20-99) MBs (100-500) n=500 UNWEIGHTED 5% 30% 28% 37% Less than 2 years 2-9 years 10-19 years 20 years or more 11% 40% 21% 22% 6% Up more than 100% Up 10% to 100% Up less than 10% Same as 2018 Down compared to 2018 3% 22% 23% 45% 6% Gen Z (18 to 22) Millennials (23 to 38) Gen X (39 to 54) Boomers (55 to 73) Silent Generation (74+) 100%
  8. 8. 8 RESPONDENT CHARACTERISTICS West 22% South 36% Midwest 17% Northeast 25% Geography 34% 53% 13% Population Density Urban Suburban Rural 28% 11% 9% 13% 21% 9% 9% Less than $100K $100K to $249K $250K to $499K $500K to $999K $1M to $4.9M $5M to $10M More than $10M Company Revenue 39% 23% 22% 15% Manufacturing Construction/Mining/Contracting/El ectrical/Landscape/Plumbing/etc. 10% Manufacturing/Transportation and Warehousing 6% Computer Hardware/Electronic Equipment 2% Pharmaceutical/Medical Devices/Biotechnology 2% Automotive 1% Telecommunications 1% Energy/Utilities 1% Other Personal Services 10% Education/Training 5% Industry Professional Services Computer Software/Internet 8% Advertising/Consulting/Design/ Marketing Services 6% Legal 5% Medical 5% Computer Services/Consulting 4% Architect/Engineering 4% Financial Services/Accounting/Bookkeeping 3% Banking/Insurance/Mortgage 3% Publishing/Printing/Media 1% Retail/Wholesale Retail 8% Real Estate 6% Food/Beverage/Restaurants 4% Wholesale 3% Entertainment/Recreation 2% Travel/Hotel/Hospitality 2% n=500 UNWEIGHTED
  9. 9. DETAILED FINDINGS
  10. 10. BUSINESS OUTLOOK: NFIB DATA The NFIB shows generally increasing business optimism since 2009 10
  11. 11. How do you expect your 2019 revenue to compare to 2018? BUSINESS OUTLOOK: COMPANY SIZE As a general rule, business optimism increases with headcount… 11 n=500 5% 32% 18% 36% 9% Up more than 100% Up 10% to 100% Up less than 10% Same as 2018 Down compared to 2018 Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 5% 10% 27% (AB) 32% 47% (A) 48% (A) 18% 26% (A) 23% 36% (BC) 13% (C) 1% 9% (BC) 3% 1% 48% (A)47% (A) 36% (BC)
  12. 12. How do you expect your 2019 revenue to compare to 2018? BUSINESS OUTLOOK: COMPANY AGE …and decreases with company age… 12 n=500 5% 32% 18% 36% 9% Up more than 100% Up 10% to 100% Up less than 10% Same as 2018 Down compared to 2018 Company Age <2 yrs. (A) 2-9 yrs. (B) 10-19 yrs. (C) 20 or more yrs. (D) 50%* (BCD) 7% (D) 3% 1% 33% 43%* (D) 37% (D) 23% 0% 16% (A) 17% (A) 21% (A) 8% 22% 39%* (AB) 44%* (AB) 8% 11% (C) 3% 11% (C) 50% (BCD) 43% (D) 39% (AB) 44% (AB)
  13. 13. How do you expect your 2019 revenue to compare to 2018? BUSINESS OUTLOOK: RESPONDENT AGE …and the age of the principal… 13 n=500 5% 32% 18% 36% 9% Up more than 100% Up 10% to 100% Up less than 10% Same as 2018 Down compared to 2018 Respondent Age 18 to 38 (A) 39 to 54 (B) 55+ (C) 13% (C) 6% 4% 56%* (C) 44%* (C) 26% 16% 19% 18% 8% 25% (A) 43%* (AB) 7% 6% 10% 44% (C)56% (C) 43% (AB)
  14. 14. How do you expect your 2019 revenue to compare to 2018? BUSINESS OUTLOOK: INDUSTRY …but varies by industry group. 14 n=500. See slide 8 for industry group definitions 5% 32% 18% 36% 9% Up more than 100% Up 10% to 100% Up less than 10% Same as 2018 Down compared to 2018 Industry Group PS (A) RW (B) M (C) Other (D) 6% (D) 7% (D) 7% (D) 0% 30% 38% 27% 33% 11% 20% (A) 28% (A) 18% 45% 29% 32% 33% 8% 7% 7% 15% (AB) 45% (BC) 38% 32% 33%
  15. 15. How challenging is each of these business issues? BUSINESS CHALLENGES Customer acquisition is the leading challenge overall… Very Somewhat Not at all n=500 RANDOMIZED15 35% 23% 21% 21% 21% 20% 20% 20% 19% 18% 18% 16% 15% 15% 9% 46% 45% 34% 46% 50% 43% 29% 35% 37% 37% 37% 39% 36% 41% 20% 18% 32% 45% 33% 30% 37% 51% 45% 44% 45% 45% 45% 48% 44% 71% Finding new customers Managing costs Finding good employees Dealing with competition Keeping current on technology Retaining current customers Retaining good employees Having enough money to pay our bills Coping with economic / political uncertainty (e.g. tariffs, shifting demand, interest rates etc.) Keeping our data secure Complying with government and industry regulations Staying in business Access to capital Developing new products and services Coping with climate change (i.e. increased risk of fire, flood, storms etc.)
  16. 16. How challenging is each of these business issues? BUSINESS CHALLENGES: COMPANY SIZE …but finding good employees, and innovation, are the biggest challenge for SBs and MBs Very n=500 RANDOMIZED16 35% 23% 21% 21% 21% 20% 20% 20% 19% 18% 18% 16% 15% 15% 9% Finding new customers Managing costs Finding good employees Dealing with competition Keeping current on technology Retaining current customers Retaining good employees Having enough money to pay our bills Coping with economic / political uncertainty (e.g. tariffs, shifting demand, interest rates etc.) Keeping our data secure Complying with government and industry regulations Staying in business Access to capital Developing new products and services Coping with climate change (i.e. increased risk of fire, flood, storms etc.) Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 35% 36% 44% 22% 37% (A) 44% (A) 21% 48% (A) 49% (A) 20% 33% (A) 47% (AB) 20% 31% (A) 43% (AB) 20% 27% 40% (AB) 19% 45% (A) 46% (A) 20% 21% 40% (AB) 18% 37% (A) 46% (A) 18% 39% (A) 45% (A) 17% 38% (A) 45% (A) 16% 26% (A) 42% (AB) 15% 23% (A) 43% (AB) 14% 29% (A) 50% (AB) 8% 25% (A) 44% (AB) 35% 48% (A) 50% (AB) Second challenge Third challenge Top challenge
  17. 17. What is your best guess as to when you will do each of these things 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 INTENT In aggregate, SMBs are most likely to ship a package, and get something printed… By the end of June 2020 Second half of 2020 After 2021 17 48% 41% 37% 33% 30% 26% 24% 24% 23% 19% 18% 18% 18% 14% 13% 12% 11% 10% 8% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 6% 6% 4% 7% 15% 11% 10% 10% 10% 9% 17% 11% 12% 9% 13% 14% 8% 10% 11% 9% 8% 4% 4% 6% 7% 5% 6% 6% 6% 6% 4% 4% 6% 3% 6% 3% 7% 14% 7% 14% 7% 12% 5% 7% 10% 7% 7% 5% 5% 5% 5% 6% 5% 7% 5% 8% 4% 1% 3% 2% 2% 1% 2% 4% 14% 3% 15% 2% 9% 3% 3% 6% 4% 2% 3% 3% 8% 2% 3% 3% 6% 1% 2% 1% Ship a package overnight Get something printed, like business cards, etc. Stay in a hotel on a business trip Take a business trip on a plane Pay down debt Rent a car for a business trip Upgrade our company website PCs / laptops / desktops Launch new products and/or services Printers Hire staff Get new cellphone(s) for myself or my team Increase employee pay or benefits Create a new website Tablets (e.g., iPad, Surface) Get, change or upgrade Internet access Apply for a new or additional business credit card Get, change health or life insurance Set up, or change provider, of a company retirement plan Phone system Open a new business checking account Get, change business insurance Apply for a new loan or line of credit Server Get or change landline phone service Add or change cellphone carriers Start using a, or switch to a new, payroll company In 2021 n=500 RANDOMIZED
  18. 18. What is your best guess as to when you will do each of these things for your business?* …but SBs are also very likely to go on a business trip, while MBs are also likely to buy PCs By the end of June 2020 n=500 RANDOMIZED 18 48% 41% 37% 33% 30% 26% 24% 24% 23% 19% 18% 18% 18% 14% 13% 12% 11% 10% 8% 7% 7% 7% 7% 7% 6% 6% 4% Ship a package overnight Get something printed, like business cards, etc. Stay in a hotel on a business trip Take a business trip on a plane Pay down debt Rent a car for a business trip Upgrade our company website PCs / laptops / desktops Launch new products and/or services Printers Hire staff Get new cellphone(s) for myself or my team Increase employee pay or benefits Create a new website Tablets (e.g., iPad, Surface) Get, change or upgrade Internet access Apply for a new or additional business credit card Get, change health or life insurance Set up, or change provider, of a company retirement plan Phone system Open a new business checking account Get, change business insurance Apply for a new loan or line of credit Server Get or change landline phone service Add or change cellphone carriers Start using a, or switch to a new, payroll company Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 48%* 49%* 54%* 40% 47% 44% 36% 49%* (A) 45% 32% 46% (A) 44% (A) 30% 33% 35% 25% 47% (A) 41% (A) 24% 25% 31% 24% 44% (A) 50% (A) 23% 27% 36% 18% 28% (A) 42% (AB) 18% 45% (A) 41% (A) 18% 27% (A) 41% (AB) 17% 35% (A) 44% (A) 14% 13% 20% 13% 23% (A) 32% (A) 12% 25% (A) 27% (A) 10% 22% (A) 28% (A) 9% 22% (A) 28% (A) 8% 21% (A) 31% (A) 7% 19% (A) 32% (AB) 7% 17% (A) 29% (AB) 7% 16% (A) 26% (A) 7% 13% (A) 24% (AB) 6% 19% (A) 36% AB) 6% 19% (A) 27% (A) 6% 18% (A) 28% (A) 3% 15% (A) 27% (AB) *Full question copy: What is your best guess as to when you will do each of these things 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 INTENT: COMPANY SIZE 48% 49% 49% (A) 54% Second highest Third highest Highest
  19. 19. On average, how long does it take from first learning about or beginning to conduct research on these products and services for your business until you make a purchase or upgrade decision? PURCHASE TIMING In aggregate, SMBs decide the fastest on printers, and the slowest on retirement plans 19 n=500 RANDOMIZED A week A month Three months 36% 34% 32% 29% 29% 28% 27% 27% 25% 19% 17% 16% 16% 15% 15% 14% 13% 13% 6% 28% 28% 29% 32% 31% 31% 32% 30% 26% 26% 34% 26% 31% 33% 29% 25% 30% 25% 21% 14% 12% 11% 13% 13% 13% 15% 10% 16% 20% 19% 16% 17% 16% 17% 12% 16% 21% 20% 6% 6% 5% 6% 6% 7% 8% 4% 5% 5% 7% 6% 6% 8% 7% 6% 7% 9% 8% 17% 21% 23% 20% 21% 21% 18% 29% 28% 29% 23% 37% 30% 28% 31% 43% 33% 33% 44% Printers Business checking account Business credit card Internet access Tablets (e.g., iPad, Surface) Cellphone carrier PCs / laptops / desktops Cellphone handsets Landline phone service provider Phone system Business software / applications Hiring / recruiting service Business loan / line of credit Business insurance Server Payroll service provider Website hosting service Employee health or life insurance Company retirement plan Six months More than six months
  20. 20. On average, how long does it take from first learning about or beginning to conduct research on these products and services for your business until you make a purchase or upgrade decision? Larger SMBs make faster decisions on more complex products 20 n=500 RANDOMIZED A week 36% 34% 32% 29% 29% 28% 27% 27% 25% 19% 17% 16% 16% 15% 15% 14% 13% 13% 6% Printers Business checking account Business credit card Internet access Tablets (e.g., iPad, Surface) Cellphone carrier PCs / laptops / desktops Cellphone handsets Landline phone service provider Phone system Business software / applications Hiring / recruiting service Business loan / line of credit Business insurance Server Payroll service provider Website hosting service Employee health or life insurance Company retirement plan Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 36%* 39%* 32% 34% 33% 30% 32% 36% 30% 29% 30% 28% 29% 32% 32% 28% 31% 33% 27% 30% 31% 27% 39% (A) 36%* 25% 27% 28% 19% 23% 27% 17% 24% 29% (A) 16% 23% 21% 16% 21% 23% 15% 19% 29% (A) 15% 17% 28% (AB) 14% 19% 33% (AB) 13% 25% (A) 24% (A) 12% 15% 26% (AB) 6% 19% (A) 20% (A) PURCHASE TIMING: COMPANY SIZE 39% 36% 36% 39% (A)
  21. 21. Which way would you most like to make a purchase in each of these categories? PREFERRED CHANNEL FOR TECH PURCHASES The plurality of SMBs prefer to buy IT online from the vendor, and phones in a store Online, direct from the vendor In a company- branded store In an office supply store 21 44% 36% 36% 31% 30% 30% 29% 25% 17% 19% 19% 52% 50% 32% 33% 16% 20% 30% 18% 10% 14% 26% 21% 48% 7% 8% 7% 2% 2% 7% 7% 7% 13% 7% 20% 5% 4% 6% 10% 4% Application software PCs / laptops / desktops Server Cellphone service Cellphone / smartphone Tablets (e.g., iPad, Surface) Phone system Printers From a tech reseller n=500 RANDOMIZED From an IT consultant or MSP
  22. 22. How important are each of these people in bringing products and services for your business to your attention? AWARENESS INFLUENCERS SMB principals see themselves as leading product research in their companies Very Somewhat N/A / Not Important n=500 RANDOMIZED22 87% 29% 25% 23% 23% 21% 20% 18% 16% 15% 15% 14% 13% 13% 13% 8% 27% 15% 27% 16% 37% 13% 20% 20% 24% 25% 27% 12% 15% 18% 4% 44% 60% 50% 62% 43% 68% 62% 65% 60% 60% 59% 74% 72% 69% You Your spouse Your business partner(s) Your CPA Your sales and/or marketing staff Peers and colleagues Your head of finance Your office manager Your IT consultant / MSP Your business banker Other consultants / agencies, e.g. marketing, advertising etc. Your attorney Your board / investors Your head of HR Your IT staff
  23. 23. How important are each of these people in bringing products and services for your business to your attention? However, the second-most-important awareness influencer varies by company size Very n=500 RANDOMIZED23 87% 29% 25% 23% 23% 21% 20% 18% 16% 15% 15% 14% 13% 13% 13% You Your spouse Your business partner(s) Your CPA Your sales and/or marketing staff Peers and colleagues Your head of finance Your office manager Your IT consultant / MSP Your business banker Other consultants / agencies, e.g. marketing, advertising etc. Your attorney Your board / investors Your head of HR Your IT staff Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 88%* (B) 79% 85% 29% 38% 48% (A) 24% 51% (A) 57% (A) 23% 47% (A) 50% (A) 22% 53% (A) 56% (A) 20% 43% (A) 55% (A) 19% 48% (A) 63% (AB) 18% 53% (A) 55% (A) 15% 38% (A) 56% (AB) 15% 39% (A) 55% (AB) 15% 33% (A) 54% (AB) 13% 42% (A) 44% (A) 13% 35% (A) 60% (AB) 12% 47% (A) 54% (A) 12% 44% (A) 58% (AB) AWARENESS INFLUENCERS: COMPANY SIZE 86% (B) 79% 85% Second highest Third highest Highest 57pt 26pt 22pt
  24. 24. How important are each of these people in researching products and services for your business? Likewise, principals see themselves as leading product research Very Somewhat N/A / Not Important n=500 RANDOMIZED24 87% 25% 23% 19% 16% 15% 15% 14% 14% 13% 13% 12% 12% 11% 10% 9% 23% 15% 23% 18% 22% 31% 17% 24% 17% 20% 20% 17% 14% 15% 4% 52% 62% 58% 66% 63% 55% 69% 62% 70% 67% 67% 71% 75% 75% You Your spouse Your business partner(s) Your CPA Your sales and/or marketing staff Your office manager Peers and colleagues Your IT consultant / MSP Other consultants / agencies, e.g. marketing, advertising etc. Your head of finance Your business banker Your attorney Your IT staff Your head of HR Your board / investors RESEARCH INFLUENCERS
  25. 25. How important are each of these people in researching products and services for your business? And the second-most-important researcher also varies significantly by company size Very n=500 RANDOMIZED25 87% 25% 23% 19% 16% 15% 15% 14% 14% 13% 13% 12% 12% 11% 10% You Your spouse Your business partner(s) Your CPA Your sales and/or marketing staff Your office manager Peers and colleagues Your IT consultant / MSP Other consultants / agencies, e.g. marketing, advertising etc. Your head of finance Your business banker Your attorney Your IT staff Your head of HR Your board / investors Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 88%* (BC) 75% 76% 25% 36% (A) 42% (A) 22% 49% (A) 59% (A) 18% 31% (A) 49% (AB) 15% 44% (A) 62% (AB) 14% 38% (A) 60% (AB) 14% 37% (A) 50% (AB) 13% 38% (A) 61% (AB) 13% 37% (A) 60% (AB) 13% 40% (A) 57% (AB) 12% 33% (A) 43% (A) 12% 35% (A) 45% (A) 11% 49% (A) 70% (AB) 10% 40% (A) 54% (AB) 10% 39% (A) 52% (AB) RESEARCH INFLUENCERS: COMPANY SIZE 88% (BC) 75% 76% Second highest Third highest Highest 63pt 26pt 6pt
  26. 26. How important are each of these people in making a final purchase decision on products and services for your business? Principals also see themselves as the ultimate decision-maker Very Somewhat N/A / Not Important n=500 RANDOMIZED26 91% 24% 24% 15% 13% 13% 12% 12% 12% 11% 11% 10% 9% 8% 8% 7% 26% 14% 21% 16% 16% 18% 14% 17% 19% 19% 15% 17% 16% 28% 2% 50% 63% 64% 70% 71% 70% 74% 71% 70% 70% 75% 74% 76% 64% You Your spouse Your business partner(s) Your CPA Your head of finance Your office manager Your IT consultant / MSP Your IT staff Your sales and/or marketing staff Other consultants / agencies, e.g. marketing, advertising etc. Your business banker Your board / investors Your attorney Your head of HR Peers and colleagues PURCHASE INFLUENCERS
  27. 27. How important are each of these people in making a final purchase decision on products and services for your business? The second-most-important purchase influencer also varies widely by company size Very n=500 RANDOMIZED27 91% 24% 24% 15% 13% 13% 12% 12% 12% 11% 11% 10% 9% 8% 8% You Your spouse Your business partner(s) Your CPA Your head of finance Your office manager Your IT consultant / MSP Your IT staff Your sales and/or marketing staff Other consultants / agencies, e.g. marketing, advertising etc. Your business banker Your board / investors Your attorney Your head of HR Peers and colleagues Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 91%* 87%* 85%* 24% 27% 39% (A) 23% 45% (A) 50% (A) 14% 28% (A) 44% (AB) 13% 38% (A) 60% (AB) 12% 35% (A) 55% (AB) 12% 36% (A) 58% (AB) 11% 35% (A) 59% (AB) 11% 31% (A) 46% (AB) 10% 35% (A) 51% (AB) 10% 30% (A) 56% (AB) 10% 36% (A) 47% (A) 8% 32% (A) 47% (AB) 8% 31% (A) 54% (AB) 7% 30% (A) 44% (AB) PURCHASE INFLUENCERS: COMPANY SIZE 87% 85%91% Second highest Third highest Highest 67pt 42pt 25pt
  28. 28. VSBs are very reliant on their spouse, business partner and CPA 28 INFLUENCERS ACROSS THE SALES CYCLE: VSBS Awareness Research Purchase Principal Principal Principal Spouse Spouse Spouse Business partner Business partner Business partner CPA CPA CPA Sales / marketing staff Sales / marketing staff Head of finance 1 2 3 4 5
  29. 29. SBs rely most on their business partner and head of finance to make a final purchase decision 29 INFLUENCERS ACROSS THE SALES CYCLE: SBS Awareness Research Purchase Principal Principal Principal Sales / marketing staff / Office manager (tie) Business partner / IT staff (tie) Business partner Head of finance Business partner Sales / marketing staff IT consultant / MSP / Board / investors (tie) Head of finance Head of finance / Head of HR (tie) 1 2 3 4 5
  30. 30. MBs are more receptive to third-party advice for final purchase decision-making 30 INFLUENCERS ACROSS THE SALES CYCLE: MBS Awareness Research Purchase Principal Principal Principal Head of finance IT staff Head of finance Board / investors Sales / marketing staff IT staff IT staff IT consultant / MSP IT consultant / MSP Business partner Office manager / Other consultants (tie) Business banker 1 2 3 4 5
  31. 31. How likely are you to first learn about products or services for your business via each of these specific content formats / information sources from vendors? AWARENESS CONTENT Overall, respondents are most likely to learn about products and services via Facebook… Very Somewhat Not at all n=500 RANDOMIZED31 18% 17% 17% 17% 16% 14% 13% 13% 11% 11% 11% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 9% 8% 8% 8% 8% 7% 6% 23% 48% 27% 45% 52% 38% 49% 26% 45% 33% 32% 15% 14% 26% 29% 35% 25% 30% 14% 25% 32% 21% 22% 7% 59% 35% 56% 38% 32% 48% 38% 62% 43% 56% 57% 75% 76% 64% 61% 55% 65% 61% 77% 66% 60% 71% 71% 87% Facebook Product section of vendor’s website YouTube Email newsletter Article Research report Resources section of a vendor’s website LinkedIn Video on vendor’s website Forum or discussion board Webinar / webcast Pinterest Twitter White paper eBook / guide / handbook Checklist / worksheet Interactive tool (e.g. a quiz or calculator) Case study Instagram Blog post Analyst report Podcast Infographic TikTok
  32. 32. How likely are you to first learn about products or services for your business via each of these specific content formats / information sources from vendors? …although SBs are most likely to learn from an email newsletter, and MBs, a resource center Very n=500 RANDOMIZED32 18% 17% 17% 17% 16% 14% 13% 13% 11% 11% 11% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 9% 8% 8% 8% 8% 7% 6% Facebook Product section of vendor’s website YouTube Email newsletter Article Research report Resources section of a vendor’s website LinkedIn Video on vendor’s website Forum or discussion board Webinar / webcast Pinterest Twitter White paper eBook / guide / handbook Checklist / worksheet Interactive tool (e.g. a quiz or calculator) Case study Instagram Blog post Analyst report Podcast Infographic TikTok Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 18% 27% (A) 54% (AB) 16% 36% (A) 48% (A) 16% 30% (A) 56% (AB) 16% 37% (A) 47% (A) 16% 29% (A) 52% (AB) 14% 31% (A) 49% (AB) 13% 33% (A) 60% (AB) 12% 30% (A) 58% (AB) 11% 34% (A) 50% (AB) 11% 29% (A) 48% (AB) 10% 26% (A) 43% (AB) 10% 20% (A) 52% (AB) 10% 25% (A) 57% (AB) 10% 25% (A) 51% (AB) 10% 23% (A) 50% (AB) 10% 21% (A) 42% (AB) 9% 26% (A) 49% (AB) 9% 25% (A) 44% (AB) 8% 25% (A) 54% (AB) 8% 24% (A) 38% (AB) 7% 29% (A) 51% (AB) 7% 27% (A) 37% (A) 7% 23% (A) 43% (AB) 6% 15% (A) 53% (AB) 60% (AB) 37% (A) 18% AWARENESS CONTENT: COMPANY SIZE Second source Third source First source
  33. 33. How likely are you to use each of these information sources / content formats when you are researching products or services for your business? RESEARCH CONTENT Respondents are most likely overall to conduct research on the product section of your site… Very Somewhat Not at all n=500 RANDOMIZED33 26% 26% 23% 22% 22% 20% 18% 16% 16% 16% 16% 15% 15% 15% 14% 14% 13% 12% 12% 12% 12% 10% 8% 6% 45% 46% 39% 49% 40% 33% 42% 31% 35% 33% 22% 24% 34% 40% 35% 33% 31% 31% 12% 16% 23% 23% 13% 9% 29% 29% 38% 29% 38% 47% 39% 53% 49% 51% 63% 61% 51% 45% 50% 53% 56% 57% 76% 73% 65% 67% 78% 85% Product section of vendor’s website Article Email newsletter Resources section of a vendor’s website Video on vendor’s website YouTube Research report Webinar / webcast Forum or discussion board Analyst report LinkedIn Facebook Checklist / worksheet Case study Interactive tool (e.g. a quiz or calculator) eBook / guide / handbook Blog post White paper Instagram Pinterest Infographic Podcast Twitter TikTok
  34. 34. 26% 26% 23% 22% 22% 20% 18% 16% 16% 16% 16% 15% 15% 15% 14% 14% 13% 12% 12% 12% 12% 10% 8% 6% Product section of vendor’s website Article Email newsletter Resources section of a vendor’s website Video on vendor’s website YouTube Research report Webinar / webcast Forum or discussion board Analyst report LinkedIn Facebook Checklist / worksheet Case study Interactive tool (e.g. a quiz or calculator) eBook / guide / handbook Blog post White paper Instagram Pinterest Infographic Podcast Twitter TikTok How likely are you to use each of these information sources / content formats when you are researching products or services for your business? …although SBs are most likely to use articles, and MBs, Facebook Very n=500 RANDOMIZED34 Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 26% 37% (A) 48% (A) 25% 43% (A) 57% (AB) 22% 35% (A) 46% (A) 22% 34% (A) 54% (AB) 21% 39% (A) 42% (A) 20% 34% (A) 56% (AB) 18% 39% (A) 56% (AB) 16% 33% (A) 44% (A) 16% 29% (A) 51% (AB) 15% 35% (A) 52% (AB) 15% 30% (A) 49% (AB) 14% 27% (A) 58% (AB) 14% 22% 48% (AB) 14% 37% (A) 51% (AB) 14% 29% (A) 48% (AB) 14% 28% (A) 40% (AB) 12% 22% (A) 51% (AB) 12% 27% (A) 47% (AB) 11% 26% (A) 54% (AB) 11% 25% (A) 47% (AB) 11% 24% (A) 46% (AB) 10% 28% (A) 45% (AB) 8% 25% (A) 54% (AB) 5% 18% (A) 49% (AB) 58% (AB) 43% (A) 26% RESEARCH CONTENT: COMPANY SIZE Second source Third source First source
  35. 35. How likely are you to use each of these information sources / content formats to make a final purchase decision on products or services for your business? SMBs are also most likely to use the product section of your site to make a purchase decision… Very Somewhat Not at all n=500 RANDOMIZED35 24% 20% 19% 19% 17% 16% 16% 15% 14% 14% 14% 14% 12% 12% 11% 11% 11% 11% 11% 10% 9% 9% 8% 5% 48% 49% 40% 40% 47% 37% 16% 27% 32% 31% 39% 33% 10% 33% 19% 38% 32% 20% 29% 13% 26% 27% 12% 10% 28% 31% 41% 41% 36% 47% 68% 58% 54% 55% 47% 53% 78% 55% 69% 51% 57% 70% 60% 77% 65% 64% 80% 85% Product section of vendor’s website Article Video on vendor’s website Research report Resources section of a vendor’s website Analyst report Facebook YouTube Webinar / webcast eBook / guide / handbook Email newsletter Interactive tool (e.g. a quiz or calculator) Instagram Checklist / worksheet LinkedIn Case study Forum or discussion board Podcast White paper Pinterest Infographic Blog post Twitter TikTok PURCHASE CONTENT
  36. 36. 24% 20% 19% 19% 17% 16% 16% 15% 14% 14% 14% 14% 12% 12% 11% 11% 11% 11% 11% 10% 9% 9% 8% 5% Product section of vendor’s website Article Video on vendor’s website Research report Resources section of a vendor’s website Analyst report Facebook YouTube Webinar / webcast eBook / guide / handbook Email newsletter Interactive tool (e.g. a quiz or calculator) Instagram Checklist / worksheet LinkedIn Case study Forum or discussion board Podcast White paper Pinterest Infographic Blog post Twitter TikTok How likely are you to use each of these information sources / content formats to make a final purchase decision on products or services for your business? …although SBs are equally likely to use your resource center; MBs, YouTube Very n=500 RANDOMIZED36 Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 24% 42% (A) 54% (A) 19% 33% (A) 51% (AB) 19% 39% (A) 49% (A) 18% 38% (A) 53% (AB) 17% 42% (A) 56% (AB) 16% 33% (A) 42% (A) 15% 27% (A) 48% (AB) 14% 29% (A) 62% (AB) 14% 26% (A) 45% (AB) 14% 25% (A) 45% (AB) 14% 33% (A) 49% (AB) 14% 20% (A) 45% (AB) 12% 24% (A) 55% (AB) 11% 27% (A) 45% (AB) 11% 26% (A) 56% (AB) 10% 34% (A) 53% (AB) 10% 28% (A) 45% (AB) 10% 26% (A) 45% (AB) 10% 32% (A) 52% (AB) 10% 20% (A) 52% (AB) 9% 27% (A) 52% (AB) 9% 21% (A) 48% (AB) 8% 27% (A) 50% (AB) 4% 19% (A) 48% (AB) 62% (AB) 42% (A)24% 42% (A) PURCHASE CONTENT: COMPANY SIZE Second source Third source First source
  37. 37. How important are each of these product or service benefits, when you are considering buying something for your business? In aggregate, customer service is highly important to SMBs… 37 n=500 RANDOMIZED Extremely important Very important Somewhat important 44% 39% 37% 36% 36% 30% 30% 29% 27% 27% 26% 26% 23% 21% 20% 16% 30% 35% 28% 35% 30% 32% 33% 32% 35% 32% 21% 26% 31% 31% 29% 19% 16% 18% 20% 17% 21% 22% 23% 23% 24% 26% 30% 25% 30% 24% 27% 34% 5% 4% 5% 6% 5% 7% 6% 6% 6% 6% 10% 6% 7% 8% 12% 9% 6% 4% 11% 7% 8% 8% 7% 10% 8% 9% 12% 17% 8% 16% 13% 23% Excellent customer service Lowers your costs / expenses Helps us get new customers Saves time / boosts productivity Helps us provide better customer service / retain current customers Increases data security Excellent ratings / reviews Grows with your business Integrates with the tools you already use Tailored to your industry Lowest cost in its category Helps us comply with industry / government regulations Best in its category Gives us better insight into our business performance / lets us make data-driven decisions Comes from a well-known company Integrated suite Slightly important Not important KEY PURCHASE CONSIDERATIONS
  38. 38. How important are each of these product or service benefits, when you are considering buying something for your business? …although MBs prioritize ability to retain customers 38 n=500 RANDOMIZED Extremely important 44% 39% 37% 36% 36% 30% 30% 29% 27% 27% 26% 26% 23% 21% 20% 16% Excellent customer service Lowers your costs / expenses Helps us get new customers Saves time / boosts productivity Helps us provide better customer service / retain current customers Increases data security Excellent ratings / reviews Grows with your business Integrates with the tools you already use Tailored to your industry Lowest cost in its category Helps us comply with industry / government regulations Best in its category Gives us better insight into our business performance / lets us make data-driven decisions Comes from a well-known company Integrated suite Headcount VSBs (A) SBs (B) MBs (C) 44%* 47% 54% 39% 44% 49% 36% 45% 48% (A) 36% 47%* (A) 54% (A) 36% 45% 57%*(A) 30% 43% (A) 47% (A) 30% 39% (A) 53% (AB) 29% 39% (A) 49% (A) 27% 39% (A) 43% (A) 27% 38% (A) 43% (A) 26% 33% 41% (A) 25% 39% (A) 47% (A) 23% 37% (A) 44% (A) 20% 37% (A) 52% (AB) 19% 37% (A) 44% (A) 16% 25% (A) 44% (AB) KEY CONSIDERATIONS: COMPANY SIZE 47% 47% (A) 57% (A) 44% Second highest Third highest Highest
  39. 39. How important are each of these product or service benefits, when you are considering buying something for your business? Retailers and manufacturers also want savings, and new customers 39 n=500 RANDOMIZED Extremely important 44% 39% 37% 36% 36% 30% 30% 29% 27% 27% 26% 26% 23% 21% 20% 16% Excellent customer service Lowers your costs / expenses Helps us get new customers Saves time / boosts productivity Helps us provide better customer service / retain current customers Increases data security Excellent ratings / reviews Grows with your business Integrates with the tools you already use Tailored to your industry Lowest cost in its category Helps us comply with industry / government regulations Best in its category Gives us better insight into our business performance / lets us make data-driven decisions Comes from a well-known company Integrated suite KEY CONSIDERATIONS: INDUSTRY Industry PS (A) RW (B) M (C) Other (D) 38%* 46%* 51% 45%* 33% 44% (AD) 51%* (AD) 31% 33% 38% 49% (AD) 31% 37% 36% 38% 33% 33% 36% 44% 34% 34% 25% 30% 31% 27% 31% 37% 27% 27% 33% (D) 35% (D) 20% 28% 25% 35% (D) 20% 29% 24% 32% 23% 25% 28% 32% 20% 25% 18% 41% (ABD) 22% 24% 24% 23% 20% 17% 23% 33% (AD) 13% 19% 17% 26% 18% 18% 11% 21% 13% 38% 46% 51% (AD) 45%51% Second highest Third highest Highest
  40. 40. Generally speaking, what could companies do to make you more likely to buy - or to make it easier to buy - from them? Please select all that apply. ACCELERATING A SALE Providing a free trial, and explaining benefits, are the top ways to expedite a sale 40 n=500 RANDOMIZED 43% 42% 38% 32% 31% 31% 21% 19% 7% Provide a free trial Make it easier to understand how exactly my company will benefit from their offerings Make it easier to understand which of their offerings is right for my business Provide examples of how companies like mine have benefitted from their offerings Make it easier to understand what their offerings are Provide a demo Make it easy to reach a sales rep by phone Make it easy to reach a sales rep online Something else (please describe) • Free shipping (2) • Lower prices • Not one thing. I only buy something when I need it, not because of trends. • Nothing. I'm a lawyer. I know what I want. • Provide easy tradeline credit • Show a financial diagram to show projected results • Show they can provide the amount of items we may order without delays • User references • Will it provide a benefit to my clients that they will pay for • Lower fees • Nothing
  41. 41. 41 TAKEAWAYS Learning SMB business outlook is positive, esp. among larger and younger SMBs, and in R/W Most SMBs make a purchase decision in most categories in <1 month The principal is the key role across all sales cycle stages So… Focus your sales efforts on those segments as appropriate Stay top of mind, esp. (for complex offerings) among larger SMBs Target the principal, but make it easy for supporting roles to bring a business case to principals at larger SMBs
  42. 42. 42 TAKEAWAYS Learning Your site remains essential to the purchase process Customer service is key to a purchase decision Free trial and explaining benefits facilitate sales So… Ensure all content is easy to understand, and your advisory content is relevant and actionable Showcase your great service. Also understand prospect pain points, to highlight how you help with cost savings, productivity, customer acquisition, etc. Provide as appropriate
  43. 43. Research • Product / go-to-market strategy / CE / NPS • Persona / buyer journey • Original data for standout content and PR Strategy • Content strategy • Creative brief / ed cal Content • Original content development • Exclusive SMB focus 43 HOW BREDIN CAN HELP Stu Richards, CEO stu@bredin.com Work with the experts in SMB insight and engagement
  44. 44. THANK YOU

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