Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and their channel partners are benefiting from adoption of Marketing Automation tools and applications, according to one of our recent surveys. SMBs have embraced Cloud-based Services, including Marketing Automation, in large numbers to control costs and stay competitive. The ability to leverage robust offsite infrastructure, systems software, applications software licenses, upgrades and maintenance services as a monthly subscription bundle allows companies, and especially SMBs, to tackle much more complex competitive challenges than in the past.

What are SMBs doing with Marketing Automation?

With Marketing Automation point solutions and add-on modules, SMBs are able to add very powerful communications, filtering, data management and workflow components to the base CRM system; enabling more efficient sales process management. For many SMBs, especially at the lower end of the spectrum, sales lead management is done on spreadsheets with a move to a CRM system when the firm gets to the point where there are three or more staff working sales and marketing roles. Ultimately the core functions of lead generation, opportunity conversion and lifecycle customer relationship management remain at the center of marketing objectives and are the focus of automation. Substantial improvements of any of these areas can offer big dividends to companies in terms of ROMI.

Eighty Percent Satisfaction Level

Our survey revealed consistent praise from the ~80% of “satisfied and very satisfied” SMBs, who reported better demand generation, lead management, improved ROMI, better customer targeting and communication and several other benefits that help bring more structure and better capabilities to small organizations.

Benefits Differ by Company Size

As companies deployed Marketing Automation solutions, the benefits they realized were slightly different: all saw a broad variety of benefits but both small and medium businesses reported relatively more benefit in specific areas. For example, as seen in the chart below that Small Business reported “More Leads” by 18%, and “Shorter Sales Cycles” 12% respectively, compared to what medium companies stated. Small companies also reported relatively “Better Lead Quality”, “Lower Sales Costs”, and “Improved Personalization and Targeted Messaging”. Medium Businesses said they saw better productivity through identification of “Sales-Ready Leads”, “better understanding of prospect behavior”, “Better Campaign Reporting”, etc.

Generally it appears the results reported by the Small Business are more likely to cover basic issues involved in getting a sales process up and running, while the Medium Business results seem to revolve around improving an existing process, improving collaboration and process integration.

The important takeaways here are that 1) there is an increasingly high level of adoption of Cloud Services by SMBs, 2) the Cloud model is working for them, and 3) the benefits are tangible and supported by an ~80% level of satisfaction.

We will continue to share results from recent surveys covering several important topics for SMBs and Channel partners.

Davis Blair