Alignable Rankings Show Lead Generation, Hiring Categories Primed for Disruption

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Small businesses are largely at the mercy of the online reviews published on sites like Yelp and Facebook, but now those business owners have turned the tables with some tough critiques for technology vendors in a new report published by the SMB social networking platform Alignable.

According to the results of Alignable’s second quarter SMB Trust Index, 66% of local marketing tech providers are unlikely to be recommended by one business to another, with certain segments — like lead generation and hiring — receiving the most negative ratings, making them the most primed for disruption. ReachLocal and Handy, the lead generation marketplace for home services professionals, came in at the bottom of Alignable’s rankings, with Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of -73 and -71, respectively.

The results of Alignable’s survey are compiled from more than 36,000 ratings and reviews using NPS methodology, where Alignable’s SMB members were asked how likely they would be to recommend a major brand to another business owner.

At the top of the pile were Amazon, which falls into the office supplies and services category, and the payment technology vendor Stripe. Google, Apple, WordPress, and Vistaprint also did well in Alignable’s rankings. MailChimp bested Constant Contact in the email marketing category, with an NPS of 39 versus 8. Emma came in as the least trusted vendor in that category, with an NPS of -48.

Alignable CMO Dan Slagen believes the results of this quarter’s ratings show that major technology firms still have a long way to go in helping small business owners. He says that one of the most noticeable new entrants into the mix is Facebook’s Jobs offering. The company entered the segment with an SMB solution, while others have taken more mid-market or enterprise solutions, and rejiggered its product to fit SMBs.

“Early results look like they still have some work to do,” Slagen says. “In addition, the hiring category more broadly isn’t close to solving for small and local business owners.”

It’s certainly not for a lack of trying, funding, or talent. Slagen emphasizes that there are some great companies in the hiring category — where Indeed and LinkedIn are ranked as the most trusted brands — but says they haven’t been able to solve for hiring at scale.

“Why not? What’s missing? One thought is the top down approach isn’t close enough to a community, where new hires often come from. We’re seeing the bottom up, grassroots approach for both social and professional networking more and more these days, we may find hiring follows suit,” he says.

Not a single vendor in the loyalty and rewards category received a positive NPS, and only one vendor, TripAdvisor, received a positive NPS in the online presence and reputation category. Slagen attributes this largely to aggressive sales strategies, which can put SMBs on the defensive and oftentimes result in business owners feeling like the providers they’re supposed to be working together with are actually holding them captive—especially when the promised ROI does not materialize.

Despite the distrust surrounding certain categories, Slagen says it’s important for SMBs to see that their opinions do matter and they can help others make more informed business decisions by sharing their thoughts and experiences.

“Business owners in the same and surrounding communities are each other’s most valuable resource,” he says. “They don’t have to go it alone. They have the ability to ask others nearby, in their industry, and with similar challenges which solutions work best.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.


Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.