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Nearly half (47%) of small and medium business (SMB) owners from across the globe say that finding the right technology to fit their needs is one of the factors that is constraining their business activities. So, what do SMB owners look for when choosing new technology? A survey [download page] from Salesforce Research has some answers.

Salesforce surveyed more than 2,000 SMB (companies with 2-200 employees) owners and leaders in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia. Seven in 10 (69%) of these respondents say that ease of use is an extremely or very important factor when evaluating new technology.

In a separate survey of B2B technology buyers, 45% of respondents said that the buying process would be easier and faster if technology vendors were more transparent about the product capabilities and limitation. This is also reflected in Salesforce’s survey with 63% saying that the trustworthiness of the vendor is an important factor in the evaluation process.

Other extremely/very important factors SMB owners consider when evaluating new technology are: price (61%); simplicity of maintenance (61%); speed and ease of setup (61%); compatibility with existing infrastructure or systems (54%); mobile capabilities (44%); and scalability (37%).

In other words, SMBs are looking for cost-effective solutions from trusted vendors that are easy to implement and integrate with existing solutions.

As resources and budgets are limited, SMBs must prioritize which technologies they can invest in. Three in 10 (31%) say that a CRM system is one of their top priorities for their technology budget. When asked what they see as the benefits of having a CRM system, respondents cited a variety, including: helping to give faster and better customer service (51%); report generation (35%); generating more leads (34%); and reducing the need for multiple systems (34%).

Another one-third (32%) of respondents say that a CRM system gives them a unified view of the customer. Having a unified or single customer view, in turn, is beneficial in terms of improving customer experience, improving decision making and operational efficiencies.

Beyond CRM, respondents also prioritize financial software (31%), hardware (28%), technology services (26%), internet hosting (24%), productivity software (24%), mobility/mobile solutions (21%) and security systems (21%), per the report.

Separately, two-thirds (67%) of SMB owners say that acquiring new customers is an obstacle they experience. As a result, they are using various tactics and technologies to attract customers. Websites (55%) represent the most frequently used tactic by respondents, followed by social media marketing (46%) and email marketing (38%). Fewer SMBs also utilize analytics (19%), CRM systems (19%), marketing automation (18%) and lead scoring (15%) in order to attract new customers.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a Q1 2019 global survey of 2,011 SMB owners and leaders, 65% of whom are from companies with 2-20 employees. Respondents came from B2C (46%), B2B (31%) and B2B2C (23%) SMBs.

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