Bredin Press  >  Press Release 6/18/2014

New Research Reveals How Small and Medium Businesses Make Purchase Decisions

Peers are the number one source for SMBs of new product information, product research and help with the final purchase decision.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, June 18, 2014 – Small and medium business (SMB) principals rely most on their peers, trade shows and email newsletters when learning about products or services for their business, according to a new study released today by Bredin Inc.

Bredin surveyed more than 500 SMBs about their buying behaviors and the sources of information they use to learn about, research and ultimately make a product or service purchase decision

“This research demonstrates the power of peers at all stages of the sales cycle,” said Bredin CEO Stu Richards. “It also highlights the important roles that events and trade shows, vendor web sites, email and sales reps still play in selling to SMBs.”

Key results of the research include:

Peers are critical for awareness. SMBs are most likely to learn about new products from their peers, followed by events and trade shows, email newsletters, and the product section of vendor websites. The least-likely format to learn about new products? Infographics.

…for product research. Peers also play the biggest role when SMBs are researching products and services. After their peers, SMBs conduct product research through events and trade shows, followed by their internal team, vendors, the product section of vendor websites, and sales representatives.

…and purchase too. When looking for information to make a final purchase decision, SMBs rely on their peers first and foremost – followed by a call or meeting with a salesperson, an event or tradeshow, and the product section of your website. If peers are key to awareness, influence and final purchase decision-making, how are you motivating your customers to be your evangelists?

Sales: timing is everything. Three out of four (74%) of SMBs want a salesperson to contact them once they are ready to make a purchase. This is why content marketing has become so popular; SMBs want to conduct their own research and then work with a salesperson to answer final questions and place an order. However almost half (45%) are open to hearing from a salesperson on an ongoing basis, to stay informed of your offerings and promotions.

Email me. To keep in touch with a vendor after a purchase, SMBs most prefer an occasional email from a salesperson, followed by an email newsletter and then an occasional meeting with or call from a sales representative.

Only connect. Facebook is the highest-ranked social media site for new product awareness; almost one-third (32%) of SMBs rate it highly as a way to learn about new products and services. YouTube is the most popular social media site for product research (33%) and to make a final product decision (32%).

And the winner is… The brand that SMBs rate the highest is FedEx, with 67% of respondents rating it a “4” or “5” on a 1 to 5 favorability scale. Microsoft, Apple, UPS and Sony round out the top five.

About the Study
Selling to SMBs in 2014 is based on a May 2014 survey of 540 principals of U.S.-based businesses with up to 500 employees. The objective of the survey was to better understand SMB content preferences and purchase influences.

About Bredin
Bredin helps clients develop profitable, long-term relationships with small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Bredin provides SMB insight through original research, develops marketing strategy and executes impactful acquisition and retention programs. Learn more at