Technology trends shaping small businesses in 2019
In its recent survey, Salesforce have discovered that close to 60% of consumers and 80% of business buyers say technology has had a significant impact on how they conduct business. However, the question that is on many people’s minds is: how well are small businesses set for new technology?
Nearly 500 small and midsize businesses in US were surveyed to answer this question. The results reveal that small and midsize businesses are increasingly adopting CRM, actively connecting their data across departments.
Here are three main takeaways from the study.
- CRM has become an integral part of growth for small businesses
Most small businesses struggle for resources and time, which means investing into technology and re-training can be problematic, despite the great benefits it brings. However, a good CRM system is less demanding and facilitates the retention and acquisition of new customers, which in turn drives growth.
Over 30% of growing business owners say that instead of losing their CRM, they’d rather give up social media, which speaks volumes of how important it is to some businesses.
- Small businesses are connecting their data across departments.
The reason CRM has become so popular among smaller businesses is because it is so effective at providing an insight into customers’ needs and wants in one place. It is a centralized structure that saves a lot of time and resources, which small businesses don’t have. Almost 60% of respondents said it’s vital for them to connect all their business data now at their current size, while almost 70% think it’s important to connect all their business data in the future, as they grow. Additionally, over 80% of business owners surveyed said it’s important to have business connected in one place, with 49% of them adding that it’s not just important – it’s critical.
- Businesses are slowly adopting AI.
Over 60% of small business owners admit their businesses are not ready for AI, considering it too complex and not vital for their current needs. However, the ones that do integrate AI into their business, witness significant growth.
So, even though most small businesses have not adapted AI technology yet, those companies that experience fast growth are more than 2 times more likely to be using artificial intelligence, which is a very interesting insight.
Even though only 11% of companies surveyed say they have introduced AI into their business, they have seen great benefits, which include:
- 85% automate send times for marketing emails
- 81% use predictive forecasting for sales
- 81% automate basic responses for customer service
- 81% automate recommendations for customers
It might be still early days, but the fact that more than 10% of small businesses are using AI to great effect is very promising and impressive.