Benchmark Bytes: What Do SMBs Want from CRM?

As part of the ritual of examining local commerce and SMB Saas strategies, we decided to go 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 during a global pandemic that has hit local businesses hardest?

Localogy’s latest Small Business Trends report answers these and other questions across the SMB SaaS product set, which we examine one-by-one in this Benchmark Bytes series. After the last installment examined how SMBs have adopted CRM over the past year, we shift focus this week to their goals.

The data tell us that the biggest thing SMBs want out of their CRM platform is help marketing to old customers (50 percent of responses). The second highest response (35 percent) was the help marketing to new customers, followed by guidance on how to leverage internal data for marketing (27 percent).

Other top responses include help repositioning the business (27 percent), enhancements to websites for mobile commerce (25 percent), enhancements for online scheduling (25 percent), help targeting customers for new business segments (20 percent), and help targeting customers for a new service (18 percent).

These figures reference the time period between March 2020 and when the survey was fielded in October 2020, indicating that a considerable portion of SMB sentiments were Covid-driven.

What Does it All Mean?

Going a bit deeper, a few things jump out at us:

— CRM’s growth in new SMB adoption is logical, given that this is a time when SMBs need to optimize every customer relationship to mitigate losses.

— SMBs may have more time to apply to longstanding admin projects and “cleaning house,” during lockdowns, where CRM projects make sense.

— SMBs are also more driven to pursue any means necessary to boost business.

— The prevalent goal of marketing to old customers is also logical because these are individuals with proven needs.

— Because CRM can tap into existing/past customers, it’s “low hanging fruit” in terms of marketing rigor… at least relative to new customer acquisition.

— In the same category of low-hanging fruit, the desire to leverage internal data for marketing efforts (27 percent) indicates the need to better utilize things that are right under SMBs’ noses.

— Though it trailed in responses, the desire to help marketing to new customers was still meaningful at 35 percent of respondents.

— This shows a strong desire to grow to new customers and to find any means necessary to increase revenue and near-term cash flow.

— Other responses represent a similar desire to reach new customers such as “help targeting customers for new business segments (20 percent).

— The desire to enhance online scheduling is a sign of the times: SMBs are accelerating their digital adoption due to Covid-era demand signals. Online scheduling is no exception.

CRM Converts

As noted last week, CRM is on a clear uptick in the Covid era. The question is if that growth will sustain as SMBs reopen. A certain degree of SMB CRM sales will evaporate as they themselves do… which isn’t good for CRM providers nor any vendors that serve this segment. But there could also be new Covid-driven converts.

These new users could represent permanent adopters — a concept that has gone into hyperdrive in the Covid era as SMBs are forced to accelerate their digital transformation as a survival imperative. This often sends them into the arms of SaaS providers to accomplish a range of operational and marketing functions.

We’ll return in the next installments to go deeper on CRM, including segmenting what types of SMBs are most interested CRM and what verticals index high for adoption. 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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