We recently surveyed 318 SMBs to determine which sources of information they use first learn about, conduct research on and finally make a purchase decision on products and services for their business. While the similarities among SMBs are impressive – for example, peers rate high across the board – the differences between types of SMBs is at least as instructive. Our full report provides details; here are highlights:
Smaller companies lag
…as do no-growth companies
…and baby boomers
We divided respondents into Millennials (18-34), Gen X (35-49) and Baby Boomers (50+, for simplicity). Growth expectations decline with age: 47% of Millennials expect double-digit growth this year, versus 40% of Gen Xers and only 19% of boomers. The older the respondent is, the less likely they are to seek out, research and buy new products and services for their business; the less interested they are in engaging with a salesperson, and the less they want to hear from you on an ongoing basis.
This same pattern holds true with company age, by the way; the older the company, in general, the lower their growth expectations, and receptivity to or interest in all kinds of information sources.
Women business owners are more likely to use a wide range of media to learn about, research and make a purchase decision on products and services for their business. In particular, they are more likely than men to use analyst and research reports, direct mail, ebooks and social media at all stages of the sales cycle. They are also somewhat more receptive than men are to keeping in touch with vendors on an ongoing basis.
And the “cool brands” are…
Brand perception varies widely among respondents. For example, among companies with 100 to 500 employees, Adobe rates highest, with 65% rating it 4 or 5 on a 1-5 scale – followed by Verizon (62%), Google (61%), PayPal (60%) and Office Depot / OfficeMax (59%). Fast-growth companies also rate Adobe highest (66%), followed by PayPal, Google and UPS (tied at 62%), and FedEx (59%). Among Millennial business owners, however, Google and Microsoft tie for top-rated brand (at 91%); followed by PayPal and Sony (tied at 85%) and eBay (79%).