How Small and Midsize Businesses thrive through better Customer Relationship Management.

With Small Business Saturday taking place on 7th December, we thought we’d take a look at how the SMB community is faring using some of the research highlights from Salesforce’s latest Small and Midsize Business Trends report.

The Small Business Saturday campaign was launched in 2013 to support small business success by encouraging consumers to ‘shop local’. It takes place on the first Saturday in December and, last year, an estimated £812 million was spent across the UK on Small Business Saturday, according to research by principal supporters American Express (who founded its US equivalent in 2010).

Good for the UK economy but, stepping back to take a global view, the World Trade Organisation finds that SMBs are major drivers of economic growth. They represent over 90% of the business population, provide 60%–70% of all employment, and represent 55% of GDP in developed economies*. The Salesforce report surveys some 2,000 of these SMB owners and leaders (ranging from 2-200 employees) and highlights some of the major challenges and opportunities they face competing in today’s global economy.

Key Findings:

1. Customer Expectations Dictate SMB Investment Plans

Respondents found that shifting customer expectations is the biggest challenge to satisfying customers (35%), rising above ‘keeping up with demand’ (20%) and ‘quality control’ (18%). This is reflected in how SMBs allocate their technology budgets – with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems taking the top spot at 35%, underscoring how important the customer experience is to business success.

2. Customer Acquisition remains a challenge

Acquiring new customers is the most frequent obstacle reported by SMB leaders (67%). Some of the most common tactics used to solve this challenge are social media and email marketing. Growing SMBs are much more likely than their stagnant/declining cousins to value CRM in the role of Customer acquisition – and are overwhelmingly more likely (139%) to say a CRM system is helpful for attracting new customers.

3. Trust Matters

90% of SMB leaders say they value trust above all else in their relationship with customers. This is all the more important when considering that 54% of customers are sceptical that companies have their best interests at heart**. Trust, therefore, can be a powerful competitive differentiator for SMB leaders.

Conclusion

The advantages of deploying CRM to help you acquire new customers, manage their expectations and build long-term trust are manifold. Experience tells us that companies who adopt CRM to implement customer focused processes early can successfully scale their business quickly and effectively and better focus on strategic activities that can help them grow and prosper in today’s competitive environment.

You can find the full report at https://www.salesforce.com/form/conf/2019-small-business-trends-report

Sources:

* World Trade Report 2016: Levelling the trading field for SMEs

** State of the Connected Customer. Salesforce Research, June 2018