Study: SMEs facing new technologies and innovation


How do SMEs relate to innovation? Some answers with the Salesforce “Small and Medium Business Trend Report” white paper.

Artificial Intelligence, CRM, social networks … What technologies attract SMEs? © Hurca! / adobe.stock.com

On the occasion of the third edition of its “Small and Medium Business Trend Report”, Salesforce surveyed more than 2,000 executives from companies with fewer than 200 employees to find out what drives them, but also their vision of the business. ‘innovation. After looking at the motivations, obstacles and challenges of entrepreneurs in a first article, this time we will shed some light on their relationship to technology.

The budget, the first limit to the use of new technologies

On average, SME managers use 5.2 applications to manage their business. Almost a third (31%) use 5 or more. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or CRM are democratizing and are used more and more by all types of companies, but still have some brakes. The most cited is that of budgetary constraints (68%), in front of insufficient use to justify the expenditure (61%) and the difficulty of implementing and deploying new technologies (59%).

Social networks, emails and CRM can strongly attract customers

At the heart of the challenge for SMEs is obviously the acquisition of new customers. The top 3 tactics for achieving this goal are social media marketing (46%), email marketing (38%), and campaign management (22%). Looking more closely at the results, another method is preferred by growing SMEs: the customer relationship management system (CRM), which they are 139% more likely to cite than stagnant or declining SMEs.

CRM, an asset for successful SMEs

Among the SMEs surveyed, 45% use a CRM system. 62% of them have been doing so for less than two years, proof of a strong increase in power. It is once again interesting to note that growing SMEs are much more users of these solutions, since they are 61% more likely to have a CRM at their disposal than a stagnant or declining SME. Proof that it is a strong asset to optimize its economic activity. Among the advantages cited for CRM systems, we note in first place better customer service, ahead of report generation and greater lead generation.

Artificial Intelligence, the next big thing for SMEs

While only 8% of SMEs use Artificial Intelligence today, they are 32% to plan to implement this technology within three years. The main fields of application in the long term should be automatic recommendations for customers (30%), audience forecasts for marketing objectives and sales forecasts (29%).

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