Small businesses continue to set the pace of hiring, growth and innovation in the US. They are typically first to adapt, quick to move into new areas of opportunity, and easily move away from activities that do not produce results. Small business owners have learned the power of web tools.
Sales and marketing leaders should open a line of communication with these small businesses to learn what is working to help them grow their revenue and customer base.
Constant Contact published the results of a survey in which they asked small business principles to compare their current activities today with those from five years back. Five years back will catch some significant challenges and changes in the business climate. The economy was approaching chaos status, social media was beginning to gain some traction with business, and inside sales was starting to become more than just a training ground for the outside sales team.
As I read through the results of their survey, it became clear that many of the changes that small business have made can be implemented in companies of any size. I suggest that you should consider introducing some of these changes into your sales team, marketing team, and frankly even into your own individual sales practices.
Some key results from the survey include:
- 59% of small business said that it is harder to run their business today.
- Biggest reason for the difficulty – Economy
- #1 Biggest change in how you do business today – use, or use more, online marketing tools
Which marketing tools are they using and how does it compare to five years ago:
Email Marketing (53% growth)
- 2008: 64%
- 2013: 98%
Social Media Marketing (770% growth)
- 2008: 10%
- 2013: 87%
Online Surveys (158% growth)
- 2008: 12%
- 2013: 31%
Mobile Marketing (1050% growth)
- 2008: 2%
- 2013: 23%
Over this period, all forms of online marketing have taken off for small business. Which of these are you using in your organization?
What you should be excited about after reading these results is that you can implement many if not all of these actions yourself, either as a team or even individually.
Email marketing – I have many individual clients that have their own personal account with an email provider like MailChimp, allowing them to communicate with the quality and professionalism that matches their service. Even if you work at a corporate giant like HP or Prudential, you should set up your own personal account to manage your customer and prospect communication.
Social Media – If you are not leveraging LinkedIn and Twitter in your B2B selling, you will fall further behind your competition in the next twelve months.
There are powerful, easy to set-up and free/inexpensive web tools for all the items on the list. Take charge of your success and learn from small business owners. Embracing the use of web tools in your business will produce results substantially greater than you are achieving today.[box] Questions:
- Are you using more web tools in your business activity?
- What segment of your business has grown the most?
- What is the next area you are going to automate with web tools?[/box]