Businesses are taking a leaf out of the B2C eCommerce industry by implementing eCommerce for their B2B clients. This is a fantastic move with a recent survey revealing that 80% of the B2B eCommerce companies surveyed claim that their customers’ expectations strongly reflect those of the typical B2C customer. If you are considering adopting B2B eCommerce to promote an enhanced customer experience, you will need to be aware of some best practices.
Encourage collaboration between Marketing and Sales
A company’s income from sales is composed of two main streams, those from direct sales and those as a result of its eCommerce strategy. Since the total value of the company’s sales capacity is a compilation of these two things, it makes sense to optimise the Marketing and Sales to maximise the end result. In fact, the writing is on the wall with aligned Sales and Marketing teams reported to increase retention rates by 36%.
So, what does this look like in reality? It means the sharing of information between the two departments and the combined forward planning so that Marketing can put their best foot forward with Sales following up on any leads; and vice versa.
Compensate sales reps appropriately
Traditionally, sales required building a long-term relationship with a potential customer, understanding their requirements and slowly, but surely, encouraging a purchase. Any sale made would then be as a direct result of the time spent fostering the relationship. The sales rep would get the commission for their work, and the company’s bottom line would grow. With eCommerce, a client can go directly to the webstore and purchase what is needed without consultation of the rep. In fact, if they did ask questions through live chat or a phone call, they may not even speak to their long-term sales rep. As the relationship was established prior to the implementation of the eCommerce strategy, it is still a result of the rep’s hard work and therefore, they should still be compensated as such.
Re-imagine the role of the sales rep
Although the interaction between sales reps and customers would logically decrease with the adoption of a B2B eCommerce strategy, the sales rep role is not redundant just yet. It must just be re-designed to fit with the company’s new initiatives and of course, they should still be compensated appropriately. In fact, the sales reps become the people championing the changeover as they are equipped to iron out issues and are in a prime position due to their established client rapport.
Until smarter customer service technology is designed and implemented where it can solve dilemmas based on natural language, the sales rep must deal with frustrated customers who simply need answers. In some ways, their role is even more important than before.
As with anything new, clients can often have dubious reactions to a new eCommerce strategy. They need incentives to branch out and experience the benefits of change. This is where promotional pricing comes in and a carrot is provided if you will, that will encourage them to visit your webstore and commit to a product.
For new clients, this could be in the form of a trial or starter package so that there is no fear of a long-term commitment. For existing clients, this could be offering them add-ons or contract renewals online for a bonus, simply to prove to them how easy and advantageous the change can be.
Providing a mobile storefront that functions through an app can boost sales by an incredible 20%. This is certainly not to be scoffed at and is such a great tool for customers as it allows to them to compare products, view stock levels and assess reviews all while shopping in-store. This also ensures any items viewed or placed in their cart so that a user-friendly, seamless experience is created.
The smooth and professional eCommerce tools utilised in B2C shopping must be recreated for the B2B sector as customers come to you with higher requirements and expectations. It is important to meet these expectations head-on and provide a truly excellent service. Of course, these implementations often rely on a solid inventory management software, which is capable of incorporating multiple sales channels into one, streamlined system for transparent and accurate data collection and inventory management.