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Four from the Small and Medium Business trends report

Salesforce released their fifth edition of the Small and Medium Business Trends report.    They have four major trends, quoting generously from ZDNet:

  1. Communities and Governments Step Up for SMBs – Due to pandemic shutdowns, SMBs found themselves even more resource-strapped — all while struggling to maintain revenue streams. Governments and local communities alike stepped up to help. Two-thirds of SMB leaders say community support has been important to their company’s survival. More than half of SMB aid applicants received help, with small businesses more likely to have received national/federal government aid
  2. Customer and Employee Engagement Take Priority – After a period of turmoil, SMBs are looking to deepen trust. To do so, they’re focusing on providing employees with transparent communications and flexibility, while also meeting customer expectations. More than seven in 10 SMBs say their customers expect online transactions, and nearly the same proportion have an ecommerce presence.
  3. SMBs Embrace the Digital-First World – In an increasingly unpredictable world, SMB leaders are accelerating their tech investments — seeking technology to help their business survive even the most tumultuous times. More than half of growing SMBs accelerated investments in sales and customer service technology over the past year.
  4. SMBs Foresee Long-Term Changes from the Pandemic – Many SMB leaders have rethought their strategies in order to keep their businesses afloat; in doing so, operations became more efficient. SMBs now plan to keep some of those changes permanently. Three-quarters of SMB leaders believe shifts they’ve made to business operations over the past year will benefit them long-term.

The report also has 10 takeaways, focusing on improving the employee experience to improve the customer one, a priority for employees on flexible work and safety, the use of technology and moving businesses online, and work from anywhere, among others.  

Why do we care?

This period of time has been a great change agent – mostly accelerating previous trends.     “Sales and customer service technology” is code for ecommerce in the broadest definition.    It’s also code for digital transformation, as much as that makes me shudder.    And… a lot of these changes are here to stay.

I’m left pondering how many services being offered by most providers are built for yesterday’s customer needs, not today or tomorrow’s.