I want to share a conversation I had with a company a few weeks ago. I had been invited to meet them by their sales director, and I found myself in a large airy board room, meeting the MD and company accountant across a glass table. The sales director was seated next to me.
The meeting started less-than-promisingly – “But we’ve already got a website….” Said the MD, kindly. “So I’m not really sure why you’re here”
SD: “I’ve invited Elliot to talk to us about B2B ecommerce. Our website is a brochure site, and we need to *sell* our products online”
MD: “Fair enough – I suppose this is the way everything is going. We use Magento for our retail outlet”
SD: “Yes, it’s OK for B2C, but our B2B requires so much more… integration”
MD: “Well Magento does seem to have all that sorted, and we can just download it and plug and play… tell me, Elliot, is your solution this simple?”
SD: “With respect, the two solutions are poles apart. I mean, one of them is for end users. Our customers place their order online. They add in their delivery details, pay by credit card or PayPal. This action alerts our warehouse and they ship it out. Then it sends an alert to our retail accounts who add it to our sales figures”.
MD: “Yes, and….”
SD: “Well with Elliot’s solution, it’s a whole different ball game. This isn’t just a website – it’s a business application. It will actually manage our business processes. It fully integrates – and by that I mean it bolts-right-into our Sage 200 package.
It works to draw down information from Sage200 and to simultaneously upload that information. So as we change our stock levels, or pricing, or any number of factors, it’s kind of sucked (he made a sucking noise) straight through into the ecommerce site. Our trade customers can see the information in real time.
“And our customers can order what they want, when they want to order it. Did you know that most people are now using their m
obile phones and tablets to place orders – and they are ordering any time of day or night?”
“And customers can immediately see their own pricing structures, their own arrangements, change their delivery address, order white label for direct to customers, and even check on their own account balance.”
MD: Looking thoughtful
SD: “Have I missed out anything, Elliot?”
Me (finally!): “Well, yes, customers can also download their own copy invoice PDFs, and….
SD: “We can save money, make money, we can use it to promote our products, and we can take orders 24/7. We can get our sales
force to be more focused, and not just order-takers… This will even impact on our accounts department, instead of having to deal with companies who have reached their credit limit, we can set the system so it simply won’t allow any more orders through.
Accountant: “What sort of cost are we looking at?”
Well that was all a few weeks ago. I’m delighted to say that today I received the purchase order and we’ll be starting work on this project in the next 10 days. This must have been one of the easiest sales calls I have ever made.
PS: I also enjoy a challenge – so if you’re not sure whether we can help your business with a B2B ecommerce system, then let’s talk and find out. I’m always available for a meeting. And, you are welcome to make it as challenging you wish.
Article by Elliot Stevens.