February 21, 2018
Many traditional B2B companies are scared to embrace business-to-business eCommerce because they feel it will ostracize their sales representatives. Sales representatives are the lifeblood of almost any B2B organization, and making sure they are happy and incentivized to perform well is key to success.
Global B2B eCommerce sales account for more than double B2C eCommerce sales. Yet why does it feel like B2B companies are so far behind B2C companies in the eCommerce world? It’s time to stop operating scared and start embracing the digital revolution that can help turn your sales reps into superhuman sellers.
How Digital Commerce Can Help Your Sales Reps
B2B eCommerce growth is expected to exceed 7% each year from 2016 to 2021 and is already accounting for 11% of total eCommerce sales. Therefore, ignoring over 10% of sales, with expected growth showing it will likely reach closer to 20% of total sales in coming years, is a major miss-step.
It is also clear that almost all B2B purchases start with online research, and having a high-quality digital presence via B2B eCommerce will lead to more overall sales. Numbers are great, but we need to look at the actual ways B2B eCommerce can help reps increase sales.
Here are 6 ways that digital tools can help
1. Provide In-depth Relevant Product Information 24x7
Since your website is likely the first place your customers will look, appropriate product and company information is essential. Like your customers, sales reps can also refer to the site for information, on any device, wherever they are too, helping them sell and upsell even in the field or on the go. Along with being convenient and time-saving, accurate site information frees sales reps up to focus on closing activities that need their expertise like price negotiation.
2. Create Personalized Experiences—at Higher Volume
Before digital tools, getting a customer quote was a time-consuming process and often difficult to track at volume. With digital automation, sales reps can manage more customers more quickly, without losing the personal touch. Sales reps can segment their customers to deliver unique site views like product and pricing, and send them tailored correspondence and promotions. Because they can automate this process, sale reps can connect with more customers, throughout the sales process, than they could manage clients manually.
3. Deliver Valuable Real-Time Data
Perhaps the most valuable thing digital tools will give your sales reps is data. From your commerce platform to integrated systems like ERP and OMS, your sales reps can get actionable insights into their customers that would be impossible to track manually. I have worked for multiple clients who told me they couldn’t easily get to sales data of their customers, let alone accurate insights into which customers are at risk. Data can also be made available to customers to help with the sales process including:
Real-time inventory of products
Real-time delivery estimates of products
Real-time pricing & discounts
4. Save Time
This is probably the most obvious one but the amount of time saved can’t be overstated. Sales reps should be focusing on building relationships and promoting the value proposition of your company. Digital commerce tools can help sales reps quote faster, build requisition lists, and much, much more, saving them countless hours. The more these tools can allow the customer to self-serve basic things like reordering products, the more sales reps can focus on the more nuanced parts of selling.
5. Bring in New Leads!
Bringing in new leads via cold calling is getting harder and harder. People don’t want to be bothered. They can search online for what they want and it’s easy to sort through the mess to find what you want online. Almost all B2B sales start with online research, so a high-quality website can be a massive lead generation tool for your sales reps via digital channels like SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, and Social Media—and you’ll easily be able to collect, manage, and utilize customer information to tailor the sales process.
6. Offer Unparalleled Convenience
The truth is, people will do almost anything for convenience, even paying more. We live in a push on-demand world with Tinder, Uber, Netflix and other insanely convenient digital products. According to a Sullivan Study, 88% of executives bought online, and 49% based their buying decision on how to buy more easily. B2B eCommerce allows your sales rep to provide 24x7 easy buying, and the easier you can make this for them, the easier it will be for your sales rep to sell to prospective customers.
About Isaiah Bollinger and Trellis
Isaiah Bollinger is the CEO and Founder of Trellis who started the company in 2012. Trellis is a full-service eCommerce solution provider that specializes in implementing Magento based websites. Our capabilities allow us to plan and design a solution that not only meets your specific goals and budget today, but will also scale with you as you grow. Once a site is launched we stick side by side with our clients to help them improve the site and market the site to generate more customers. For more information, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Find Isaiah on twitter @IsaiahBollinger