Bredin Report: How SMBs want to be sold to

How do small and midsized businesses (SMBs) want to be sold to? Who do they look to for purchase guidance? What content do they lean on to conduct research and make buying decisions? When and how do they want vendors to reach out, and what type of content is most effective when shared by a sales rep?

To answer these questions and more, Bredin surveyed more than 500 U.S. SMB principals. Learn what they told us in this 30-minute Fastcast originally recorded on March 1st.

A sampling of what we found…

Peers and vendors fuel awareness

SMBs are most likely to rank peers (37%) and vendors (38%) as the top source from which they first learn about products and services. Pairing vendor outreach — via emails, websites, trade shows and sales calls — with a focus on turning your customers into advocates can really pay off.

SMBs research broadly, but still lean on peers heavily

Peers (42%), events and trade shows (33%), the product section of vendor websites (33%) and online reviews (32%) top the list of sources of information at the research stage. Internal teams are important, too (29%).

Sales reps are important at each stage of the sales cycle. While researching, 28% of SMBs are likely to meet with a salesperson, and nearly one in four respondents say they like to hear regularly from salespeople via an email or call.

Content marketing is key at all stages of the sales cycle

At the awareness stage, the resource sections of vendor websites (26%), email newsletters (22%), direct mail (22%), videos (20%), webinars (18%) and interactive tools (17%) are the preferred content formats.

At the research stage, resource sections of websites (24%), videos (24%), eBooks/guides/handbooks (22%), email newsletters (21%) and interactive tools (20%) top the list.

For influencing final purchases, look to the resource section of your site (25%), video (24%), email newsletters (21%) and eBooks/guides/handbooks (19%).

Growth rate impacts information sources

Fast-growing SMBs — those expecting double-digit revenue growth — in 2018 are even more likely to rely on peers (50% at the awareness stage, 50% at the research stage and 40% at purchase). Businesses growing quickly are time-strapped and under pressure to scale, so peer advice is viewed as a key success factor for quickly locating the right resource.

Sales: Timing is everything

When do SMBs want to hear from a salesperson? It varies. Exactly two out of three (66%) SMBs want a salesperson to contact them once they are ready to make a purchase. One in three (37%) are open to hearing from a salesperson on an ongoing basis, to stay informed of your offerings and promotions. The preferred means of staying in touch with vendors are in-person meetings (32%) and email newsletters (29%).

For nurturing a prospect, think monthly or quarterly

SMBs are very receptive to staying in touch with you, even if they are not yet ready to buy. 27% of SMBs want to hear from a vendor monthly and another 27% prefer quarterly outreach.

Want all the details?

Watch our Fastcast “Selling to SMBs in 2018” to learn how you can sell more effectively to SMBs.

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About Bredin

Bredin was founded in 1991 by America's foremost small business expert, author and syndicated columnist Alice Bredin. From its beginning, Bredin was designed to be a breed apart: 50% research consultancy, 50% creative agency, 100% focused on SMB. Based in Somerville, Mass., Bredin helps Fortune 500 companies understand, reach and retain SMB customers through timely, targeted research and award-winning marketing programs.