Bredin Report: What Prompts SMBs to Start Shopping?

The funnel is the most common metaphor for the SMB buying process. But what gets an SMB into that funnel in the first place? In other words, what motivates them to begin assessing products and services for their business?

To find out, we surveyed over 800 SMBs in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It turns out that product research motivators are quite similar from country to country, but vary considerably by company size.

Top Product Research Prompts by Company Size

What prompts your company to start investigating a new product or service for your business? N=862

For SMBs with under 20 employees (very small businesses, or VSBs), the top For SMBs with under 20 employees (very small businesses, or VSBs), the top research initiator is saving money. Whether it’s a price increase on the vendor’s part or a cash crunch on the VSB’s part, VSBs tend to operate on thin margins, are very cost-conscious, and can easily be tipped into looking to eliminate, downgrade or replace a product or service with a less expensive substitute. If you serve VSBs, assessing their usage of or satisfaction with your offering before implementing a price increase can reduce attrition.

Small businesses (SBs, 20-99 employees) are most motivated to start looking for new products when they recognize that they need additional functionality. This can take a wide range of forms; for example, it may mean that they recognize a need to accept mobile payments, or that an application they’ve been using for years no longer meets their needs. This growth-based motivator is significantly different from VSBs’ savings motivation.

Unlike VSBs and SBs, who are motivated by internal factors, mid-sized businesses (MBs, 100-500 employees) are most motivated to assess new products as a result of external factors – specifically, your marketing activities. Another way to look at this is that MBs are more responsive than their smaller peers to your marketing activities. MBs are significantly more receptive to special offers from a vendor than their smaller peers.

Need help understanding and/or engaging SMBs? Bredin can keep you up to date on evolving SMB needs and challenges through quick-turn, actionable market research. We can also help you develop high-value content to boost SMB awareness, brand perception, leads, conversion and revenue.

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.