Last updated on February 18th, 2016 at 05:12 pm
B2B Online… why would you even consider it?
Your business is going well, you’ve increased turnover modestly year on year, and you’re managing quite nicely with a routine that includes some or all of the following:
• Printed catalogues,
• Direct mail promotions – leaflets, flyers, postcards
• Eshots and emails with seasonal offers
• Outbound telesales calls
• Sales appointments for your reps on the road
• An online catalogue of products, or just a corporate website.
• Backed up with a large inbound sales team
But your competitors are all going ecommerce. Their businesses seem to be booming, and their year-end figures reflect this. Your customers are asking you for online buying capabilities and you know you’ve got no choice.
You’ve done a King Canute for long enough. Now you’ve seen the evidence, the research, and you’re ready to stop holding back the tide, and move to ecommerce.
Where would you start? .
Aspidistra Software has been integrating online B2B ecommerce systems for nearly 20 years. MD, Paul Dorey says: “Keep it simple: look at the systems you’ve got already and how these work for you. If you are going to make this change, it is important that it is going to make life easier and more profitable all round. For this reason, I recommend a total review of what’s going on in your business, so we can ensure your customers and staff all greet your B2B ecommerce as a welcome asset.”
Integrate, integrate, integrate. .
Anyone can build an online shop – a catalogue on a website. But this isn’t going to cut the mustard. Instead you need a fully integrated system, one that frees up time and reduces costs. By integration we can automate processes to suit your team. For example, rather than having your sales team spending time on finding and emailing copy invoices, they can be on with the next sale, supporting, selling.
Integration also means that you are putting your clients in charge of their buying process. So, they can add in extra’s like white labels and delivery requirements. They can pay their account, and check their balance. And they are using their time to do this. Not taking up the time of your sales people.
So that your customers can buy 24/7..
They can order 24/7, 365, they can buy at times that suit them. You are giving them self-sufficiency and flexibility. They will reward you by buying more.
Remember, everything will change .
That expensive catalogue you print twice a year? Those direct mailers? Those seasonal deals and offers, the cost of postage, the overtime that your sales people work, to take orders … It’s all going to change. And for the better. You can expect to reduce costs considerably, and fairly quickly. “A typical turnaround can be between 6-12 months, by which time you can confidently review your marketing costs and make the cuts you need”
Involve your staff and teams.
There is no point in building a B2B ecommerce system that isn’t going to support your staff. They need to understand that with an ecommerce system, selling is different. Rather than pitching up to your customers to just take an order, your sales people can spend time getting to know their customer base even better. Building relationships and ultimately selling more. And once you’ve got your B2B integrated ecommerce site up and running what can you expect?
Let’s look at cutting out that expensive catalogue for a start. Then consider how much more cost-effective your inbound and outbound sales teams will be when they are concentrating on selling, not on admin. But that’s not the whole picture – now your customer is in charge of the buying process, they are inputting their own orders, their own delivery requirements. They are ensuring that the products are correct, that their orders match what they want. No more costly inventory errors, or questions over “who mis-typed that address”.
Finally, instead of having a full call-centre to manage customer queries, you can provide a full system of FAQ’s, manuals, videos and instructions. And your people will be focused on the customer’s orders. Present and future.
Talking of which, here are a few more benefits…
More customer focus..
People buy from people. They buy into the person before they buy the product. So with this in mind, your sales people can spend their time selling instead of doing admin. They can work with your customers, identifying their needs, upselling new products, or even identifying new gaps in the markets. Which gives you…
The Competitive Edge.
Of course some of your competitors will already be ahead of the curve, but there will still be some that are behind. Your move to B2B Ecommerce can still provide you with the competitive edge. Particularly when it is a fully integrated customer service experience. Which, of course it will be.
Who knows what your customers really want? Yes, you know about their needs today – but how about tomorrow? A flexible, integrated and adaptable ecommerce system means your business can adapt and stay ahead of the game.
If you’d like more information about moving over to B2B integrated ecommerce, call Aspidistra.
*Typical increase on sales = B2B buyers overwhelmingly prefer to research, and increasingly buy, products and services via a self-service website, https://www.forrester.com/Death+Of+A+B2B+Salesman/fulltext/-/E-RES122288
– See more at: http://www.aspidistra.com/Blog/B2B-Online-why-would-you-even-consider-it#sthash.bi9mzncy.dpuf