At Infusionsoft, we’ve long recognized that small businesses have a wide variety of values and attitudes that are influenced by their unique backgrounds and experiences. This diversity is one of the many things we love about small business.
Earlier this year, we conducted a market research study called “The American Dream: What Really Motivates Small Business Owners” to discover if values and attitudes influence how small businesses make technology buying decisions. Our findings helped us make sense of the many ways small businesses think about sales, marketing, and the systems they use to manage it all.
Small Business Survey Participants
Nearly 1,200 small businesses across a variety of industries completed the survey.
- 78 percent had fewer than 10 employees; 89 percent had fewer than 25 employees
- 81 percent have been in business for 3 or more years
- 47 percent earn more than $250,000 in revenue per year
In addition to demographic factors, we researched the attitudes, values, and beliefs that make small business buyers unique. The results were analyzed by specialized software that created highly correlated “psychographic” groupings out of all the possible factors identified. (For the statistics geeks out there, we used orthogonally rotated factor analysis. Fun stuff.)
4 Types of Small Business Buyers
Our analysis uncovered four unique types of small business buyers, which we immediately recognized from our own day-to-day experiences at Infusionsoft: Strivers, Customizers, Maximizers, and Supporters.
Strivers Strivers struggle with sales and marketing concepts and are reaching for solutions that will help them both develop a strategy for success and implement the solution with confidence. To be successful, Strivers need education on the sales and marketing strategies that will work best for their businesses as well as help selecting and implementing new technologies.
Customizers Customizers already have proven, systemized processes for sales and marketing in place, but are unsure of how to use technology to organize and automate their businesses. They are skeptical about using technology to automate the personal touch they’ve used to build their businesses but also recognize that their current manual processes won’t scale for growth.
Maximizers Maximizers have already organized their business around technologies that help them automate their sales and marketing to be more efficient and get results. That said, they recognize the value of software and are continually looking for new solutions that can give them a competitive advantage. They are more likely than other groups to invest the time to research and implement new systems.
Supporters More than any other group, Supporters are proud of their small business identity and actively support small business interests in their community. They prefer to purchase technology from vendors that demonstrate support for the small business community and connect with them as entrepreneurs.
Quick Facts About Small Business Buyers
Here are some other interesting facts from our research: Strivers have lower sales and marketing acumen—and they know it.
- Strivers strongly agreed with the statement, “I know my company should do a better job with sales and marketing than we’re doing now.”
- 78 percent of Strivers say, “I need help or someone else's expertise to build a system to automate sales and marketing.”
Customizers are established and have built their business on reputation and relationships.
- 30 percent of Customizers frequently use LinkedIn for social media marketing, which is higher than any of the other three segments.
- 66 percent of Customizers spend less than $2,500 on marketing and 49 percent spend less than $1,000 per month.
Maximizers spend more time in sales and marketing activities than any other segment, which is likely due to their love of technology and automation.
- Maximizers strongly agree that, “My company’s sales and marketing system is a key part of our success.”61 percent of Maximizers spend more than 11 hours/week in sales and marketing activities and 39 percent spend more than 21 hours/week.
Supporters believe that being small is core to their identity and favor vendors that understand small business.
- Supporters strongly agree with the statement, “I’m proud to be a small business.”
- Supporters also agree that, “It’s important to work with vendors and suppliers who understand small business.”
Survey Results in Action Infusionsoft is actively applying what we’ve learned about our small business customers to improve our products and services. For example, earlier this month we revamped our service offerings to align with the needs of each group. We’re also sharing our findings with partners, customers, and other small business technology vendors to help them improve their offerings as well. We will continue to research what small businesses need to succeed and will share our findings with you in the future. What would you most like to learn?