If you’re on the precipice of an eCommerce project for your B2B enterprise or are investing in optimizing your existing online business, then we’re sure you have put some thought into how online revenue will sit among your existing channels.
In our experience helping organizations solve eCommerce problems, we’ve seen five practices that are essential for sustainable B2B eCommerce ROI. Neglecting any of them will result in lost sales.
Here they are:
1. Get sales on board.
Successful eCommerce projects — particularly in B2B — include the input of sales leaders. First off: Your sales reps are some of the few people in your organization who talk regularly with prospects and can tell you how they buy. Second, depending on your organizational culture, they may have the political clout to push things through. It’s incredibly detrimental not to leverage those two attributes.
One leading home security retailer we know struggled several times on a product configuration project until they brought sales leaders in. If your eCommerce project lacks sales participation, you’re missing opportunities.
2. Make the eCommerce channel a boon, not a competitor.
When organizations pay sales reps lower percentages for online sales, they’re essentially fostering competition between the sales team and the online store. This dynamic encourages reps to fight against online sales, encouraging clients to place orders through them directly. It also incentivizes reps to spend less time finding new customers and more time taking orders. (And you can’t blame them for that.)
B2B eCommerce leaders actually pay sellers a higher rate for business done online in their territories. Not only does this create an environment where reps and the online store empower each other, but sellers can achieve higher revenue goals since they are not tied up taking orders.
3. Support resellers.
This ties back to creating allies, not enemies, with your eCommerce channel. Consider addressing dealer problems through online product configuration tools, and also syndicating the ability to sell online. Providing dealers with their own branded web stores, pre-loaded with product information and content, allows you to scale very powerful eCommerce tools to your resellers who might not have the same resources to invest in their online channel It’s little use trying to improve your customer experience if you don’t do the same for the reseller experience.
Delays kill deals. They kill seller engagement too.
It’s in your best interest to enable buyers and sellers to make online selections with ease, as opposed to arduous, back-and-forth cycles. Help sellers close more business with fewer calls by putting the right technology into their hands. eCommerce can speed up product configuration, ordering of replacement parts, or even sales engagements that require a seller to be involved but can still benefit from online tools employed by the salesforce.
If your products are complex and require custom configuration with lots of options and steps, then it’s likely a slow process.
Having sellers gather requirements and fax things back and forth, for example, opens the doors to mistakes, blind spots, and dissatisfaction. Online tools can fix this, with much greater accuracy than traditional methods.
If your eCommerce revenue isn’t where it needs to be, these five components can help you remove obstacles and “unplug” the sales funnel so more conversions come through.
Still not sure if moving to an eCommerce platform makes sense for your B2B business? Reach out to BlueSky to speak with one of our eCommerce strategists about your B2B needs.