Benchmark Bytes: When Do SMBs Favor Live Salespeople?

SMB SaaS Survey

As part of the ritual of examining local commerce and SMB Saas strategies, Localogy goes right to the source: SMBs themselves. How do they feel about marketing and operational software? What features do they want? And how has their hunger changed in a pandemic? This is all a moving target.

Localogy’s Modern Commerce Monitor (MCM) Wave 6.1 answers these and other questions across SMB SaaS, which we preview in this Benchmark Bytes series. After examining SMBs’ demand for automated and self-serve software sales, we flip the script this week to look at SMBs’ feelings on live sales reps.

In other words, when being sold software for various operational needs, are SMBs getting to the point where they want to not deal with traditional sales reps? Do they want to self-serve? Many developed such muscles in the Covid era when they were forced to take that option. Where do they stand now?

Localogy members can access full charts and SMB survey reports. Non-members can purchase reports

Data Dive

Going deeper, a few insights jump out from these figures.

– Resurfacing last week’s data, there’s generally more openness toward self-serve or automated sales processes.

– As for the types of conditions that make SMBs more amenable to automated sales processes, the leading factor (55 percent) is when SMBs already know what they need and just need to complete a sale.

– That’s followed by product complexity (53 percent). Specifically, if the product is not too complicated, SMBs are open to self-serve software sales.

– Price is also a factor. 35 percent of SMBs report that they are open to self-serve software sales in cases when the price isn’t too high.

– 29 percent of SMBs are open to automated sales so long as they can easily cancel the service or software license any time using the same automated fashion.

– As for the conditions that compel SMBs towards live salespeople, the leading reason (78 percent) is wanting to have someone to turn to if something goes wrong with the software.

– That’s followed by SMBs that simply prefer dealing with humans to automated or self-serve systems. Of the SMBs that expressed interest in live sales reps, 74 percent said this was the reason.

– For some SMBs it comes down to trust… and 67 percent don’t trust automation to get the job done.

– Meanwhile, 56 percent of SMBs that prefer live sales reps do so because they find automated systems difficult to work with.

– Lastly, 41 percent of SMBs that prefer live sales reps say that they like the ability to negotiate rates… which can’t be done in a self-serve SaaS purchase.

– The common thread among all the above sentiments is that there’s still a meaningful segment of SMBs that want to deal with a human when buying software.

SMB SaaS Use and Purchase Trends, October 2021

Time to Shine

Stepping back, SMB online marketing – website-based or otherwise – continues to grow rapidly.  SMB SaaS startups and online services providers are correspondingly thriving as it continues to grow as a leading subsector of the broader SaaS universe. There’s a long-tail opportunity at play.

Meanwhile, new SMB SaaS users could represent permanent adopters – a concept that’s accelerated in the Covid era as SMBs are forced to boost their digital transformation. This sends them into the arms of SaaS providers to accomplish a range of marketing and operational functions.

We’ll return in the next installment to go deeper into Localogy original survey research. That will include SMB goals and success factors. Let us know what additional insights jump out at you from the above data, and stay tuned for more breakdowns in our Benchmark Bytes series.

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