Bredin Report: What Do SMBs Want from Tech?

We recently fielded an SMB Pulse survey of 500 principals of U.S. companies with up to 500 employees. Among other things, we wanted to understand which benefits SMBs value most when they assess technology solutions for their business – in other words, which messaging you should use at the consideration stage of the sales cycle. Although these findings are most relevant to software and hardware marketers, it’s important for other SMB marketers to know the context in which their offerings, such as financial or hiring applications, are assessed.

As is often the case with SMBs, the importance of different technology benefits varies by company size. SMBs with fewer than 20 employees (very small businesses, or VSBs) most value solutions that can help them improve their offerings – 63% of them rate that a very important benefit. After that, they want to be able to improve their functionality, such as enhancing their marketing or analytic capabilities (61%), followed by improving their customer service (60%). Interestingly, lowering overall costs (58%) is not a top-three concern for typically cost-conscious VSBs, nor is getting the lowest-cost solution (50%) or lowering IT costs (35%).

SMBs with 20 to 99 employees (small businesses, or SBs) most want a technology solution to help them improve their customer service; recognizing the value of customer retention, 74% rate that very important. After that, SBs want a solution to help them improve their competitiveness (73%), a broad category which can include improving responsiveness, pricing or the quality of their offerings. Lowering overall costs is the third-most important benefit to SBs; 71% rate that very important.

SMB Tech Benefit Preferences

When you are researching new technology/software at your company, how important are each of these factors or benefits?

SMB Tech Benefit Preferences by Company Size

N=500

SMBs with 100 to 500 employees (midsized businesses, or MBs) have a different set of priorities – in fact, none of their top three priorities are any of the top three VSB or SB priorities. MBs top priorities are a three-way tie: 70% rate improving data security, taking advantage of growth opportunities, and improving employee productivity very important. The emphasis on data security is very consistent with other Bredin research; that has been a top MB concern for several years, and should be a critical component of your messaging. Taking advantage of growth opportunities is a broad category, but helping MBs understand how your offering can make them more agile and effective will resonate strongly. And demonstrating productivity gains is key for SMBs with large teams, which you can present through case studies, testimonials, interactive tools or even research reports.

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 and social posts 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.