Some thoughts around best practice in B2B ecommerce

Posted by Uncategorised • September 18th, 2015

Adopting best practice in a continually evolving b2b ecommerce landscape is vital to meeting the expectations of your customers and ensuring your business is fit for the future. Here are some areas to consider that might help you refine your approach…

Compensate your sales reps for their role in driving online sales.

When you’re building your online sales channel, don’t forget the contribution your sales reps have made and will continue to make in driving sales. As well as the orders they take in person, sales executives should also be compensated when their accounts order online – because invariably, reps will have invested considerable time and effort in building the customer relationships that result in those ecommerce sales.

Make your sales team the agents of change

As b2b ecommerce gathers pace, the traditional role of the sales function is changing to support the introduction of new technology and new ways for customers to buy. Your sales team will still make direct sales because some of your customers will always prefer to do business face-to-face. However, reps are now also playing an important part educating their customers in how to purchase online – for some businesses, they are becoming the agents of change and therefore should be remunerated accordingly.

The problem is, inadequate ecommerce systems can create significant extra work for the agent in resolving issues and dealing with frustrated customers. So adopting a best-in-class solution that provides an intuitive and rewarding customer experience is crucial.

Bring sales and marketing closer together

Ultimately, sales and marketing teams have the same goal: to increase revenue. It’s their combined efforts that deliver this, from both direct sales and ecommerce sales. Research has shown that a b2b online approach that aligns sales and marketing teams result in over 35% higher customer retention rates. An integrated sales and marketing team able to collaborate and share information, ideas and common practices is at the heart of a successful transition to ecommerce.

Incentivise your customers with price-led promotions

Special offers and price incentives can encourage existing customers to use your online sales channel and also attract new customers to your site. A good ecommerce solution will allow you to tailor offers to individual customers based on their product preferences and purchase history, as well as incentivise prospects with ‘sign-up’ or ‘first purchase’ type offers. These price-led promotions can help current customers embrace the move to buying online, stimulate the trial of new products and increase overall order values. At the same time, carefully selected offers can be important new business drivers.

Ensure your customers can buy when they’re on the move

According to Shopify, mobile now delivers more ecommerce traffic than desktop, and is a trend that’s heavily impacting on b2b markets with an increasing amount of business being conducted on smartphones and tablets. Forrester says that 52% of b2b buyers are researching products with mobile devices, using their phones to search for products, browse catalogues, and read reviews. It’s therefore important to ensure that your ecommerce site is mobile-optimised and offers an intuitive and convenient mobile experience.
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