The survey found that digital-forward SMBs are better equipped to handle market volatility. Over half the respondents said that they use a customer relationship management system, a 24% increase from 2019. Even during the pandemic, SMBs are continuing to adopt new technology, with at least 1 in 5 SMB respondents reporting they’ve implemented at least one of the following technology solutions in the last six months, including email marketing software, customer service software, project task collaboration tools, or e-commerce software.
“Globally, SMBs’ are at a critical juncture. The key to accelerating consumer demand and solving problems for scale, come down to how they leverage technology to deliver the best customer experiences. Amidst a challenging business environment, SMB leaders have displayed remarkable strength and resilience with only 16% of SMB respondents in India expecting an entirely new structure post the pandemic,” said Sunil Jose, Senior Vice President, Salesforce India
The study showed that growing SMBs, defined as having 1% or more revenue increase over the last six months, are most likely to have taken actions to change customer interactions since the pandemic took hold and also seem better poised to offer customers flexibility, such as, easier return policies and payment plans. In addition to pre-pandemic challenges, SMB leaders are now faced with operational restrictions, compliance mandates, and shifting customer expectations. However, SMB leaders remain optimistic about the future of their businesses. As of August 2020, 22% of SMB respondents say they are very optimistic and 50% of SMB respondents say they are somewhat optimistic about the future of their business.
Other key findings:
- 31% of SMB respondents in India implemented a CRM solution in the last year, and 66% have an existing CRM solution.
- Top considerations for new tech evaluation among SMB respondents in India are ease of use, trustworthiness of the vendor and impact on customer experience.
- Meeting customer expectations is the top constraint on operations for SMB respondents in India.
- SMB respondents in India most commonly find it challenging to bring innovative offerings to market, personalise customer engagements and keep up with demand when meeting customer expectations.
- Financial management is the top challenge SMB respondents personally face when growing their business and maintaining financial growth is the top challenge constraining future business growth.