Survey: How Small Businesses are Emerging and Adapting from COVID-19

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A Salesforce survey of 200 U.S. small business leaders illustrated how this sector is growing its customer base, using technology, and preparing for the future.

Though small businesses have suffered revenue loss over the course of the pandemic – as more than half of survey respondents shared – these results show promise for businesses that prioritize safety, focus on customer experiences, and commit to technological investments.

Some key findings include:

Despite Challenges, Business Remain Optimistic

  • 79% of respondents reported either seeing signs that business was returning to normal or being cautiously optimistic that it would.
  • 120 of the 200 business owners in the survey reported making drastic changes to operations or business models in response to COVID-19-related challenges.
    • More than half of businesses reported adopting remote-work arrangements and creating socially distant protocols for interacting with customers.
    • 48% of small- and medium-sized businesses globally said they were adopting contactless services such as digital shopping, digital customer service, mobile ordering, and curbside pickup due to the pandemic.

Small Businesses are Prioritizing Safety

  • 64% of small- and medium-sized businesses globally reported they are focusing on safety and sanitation policies.
  • 55% of small- and medium-sized businesses reported that they are more careful in their customer communications since the pandemic began.
  • 46% of small- and medium-sized businesses said they plan to offer more touchless customer interactions, even with a vaccine in place.

According to the survey analysis, “Businesses are making improvements to their communication channels. These include their websites, their social media channels, their local business listings, their email communications, and the text messages they send out.”

Technology Has Been Integral to Help Small Businesses Navigate the Pandemic, Grow Sales

  • Two-thirds of the survey respondents described tech adoption as “very important” or “extremely important” to their operations.
  • 56% of small- and medium-sized businesses globally reported that their companies use CRM technology in day-to-day operations, a 24% increase from last year.
  • One in five small- and medium-sized business leaders reported having implemented at least one of the following since the pandemic began:
    • Email marketing software
    • Customer service software
    • Project or task collaboration tools
    • E-commerce software
    • Marketing automation software
  • Nearly half of respondents reported planning to invest in digital marketing within the next six months, with 29% planning to at least double their investments in marketing and lead generation.
  • 45% of growing small- and medium-sized businesses globally are preparing for future crises by adopting technology that helps digitize their interactions with customers and offers contactless services.

View the full survey results.


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