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SMBs Don’t Want Calls & Probably Will Delete Your Emails. Now What?

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The ease with which consumers can research a product, service or business has called into question long-standing sales tactics and philosophies. In many ways, modern consumers sell themselves and if a sales rep is part of the journey, he or she is merely to fulfill or close the sale.

As it relates to SMBs, this shift in the buying behaviors was explored in detail in a new LSA and Mono Solutions report which focused on SMB buying habits when it comes to marketing software and tools. The biggest takeaway is that across the digital marketing stack, it is more common for SMBs to self-purchase than to purchase through an agency or rep.

Despite these findings, some major media and technology companies continue to prioritize traditional inside sales efforts. Others are taking advantage of comprehensive digital strategies that offer lead generation through tried and true digital tactics like SEO, content, email, reviews, etc. While easier to integrate, traditional sales aren’t what the majority of SMB/B2B buyers want.

According to 2017 Forrester data, 68% of B2B buyers said they prefer to gather information on their own when conducting product research. This was a big jump up from 53% in 2015, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that 68% continue to climb.

Not only do B2B buyers and SMBs want to do the research themselves, they don’t want to be pestered. However, a recent study from First Orion found that next year 50% of mobile calls will be scam/spam calls. As SMBs are inundated with spam, scam and sales calls, even the phone will be ignored, leaving inside sales groups with one less channel for reaching potential customers.

According to a Borrell study from 2016, SMBs got nearly six sales calls each week, but almost 80% said they would prefer to be contacted via email. This doesn’t suggest the emails will be read or engaged with, it is merely easier to delete an email than it is to answer the phone and tell a sales rep “no.”

Aggressive sales tactics driven by organizational quotas and sales pressure simply result in reps repeating old sales behaviors or engaging in low quality tactics like list buying, automated social messaging and more. Despite all the “growth hack” articles out there, B2B/SMB sales is a process that takes time and relationship building.

On the marketing side, it does appear that many B2B marketers are prioritizing owned and earned media strategies which aligns better with what buyers prefer. According to a study from Demand Gen Report, B2B marketers put 32% of their spending toward owned media, 25% to paid and 24% to earned. As it related to the earned media side, “creating share-worthy content” was the top priority for B2B marketers.

All of this is to say that traditional sales efforts aren’t as effective as they once were. Strategies need to embrace lead and demand generation that is the result of great content, brand awareness, positive online reviews, engaging social media channels, smart SEO strategies, strategic partnerships, online ads and sponsorships that help you reach new audiences.

For more on the SaaS buying behaviors of SMBs, check out the new LSA and Mono report, “Meet the New Small Business SaaS Customer: How to Adapt to Today’s Impatient, Independent and Intelligent Buyer.”

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