This post has been originally written and contributed by Oro’s solution partner – E7 Solutions.
B2B eCommerce changes the traditional approach to increasing sales. More and more B2B companies operating in different industries recognize the high potential of sales in B2B eCommerce and their business’ digitalization. Once you have your eCommerce website up and running – placing and processing customer orders becomes effortless and seamless.
However, one of your company’s business units – the sales team – may get reluctant to adopt the eCommerce initiatives. Sales reps may feel challenged by the eCommerce self-service model as it makes their role look strategically less relevant. We believe that the opposite is true as eCommerce innovates the role of B2B salesforce and engenders a new kind of a sales expert.
Sales in B2B eCommerce
It’s possible to fill out order forms, provide product and pricing information, inform the customers about stock availability and order status via the eCommerce site with no salespeople involved. Yet a sales rep remains a key figure when it comes to establishing and cultivating stable relations with customers which is much more important than performing administrative sales tasks. B2B eCommerce is not a replacement of the salesforce but a supportive tool and a launching pad into growing sales.
One of the Forrester researches addresses the issue of B2B salespeople losing their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020. However, those who not just take orders from customers but are well aware of the entire industry, company’s products and their competitive advantages, being able to consult the clients and keep long-term relations with them, are safe.
Sales in B2B eCommerce are much more streamlined, since sales reps have easy access to centralized customer-related data. They can analyze the products the clients searched for online, track actual purchases, see how long it takes a client to actually place an order, and estimate an overall customer value.
eCommerce sites can also be used specifically for digital marketing. The customers get a single source for the featured information on the industry, e.g. latest trends highlights, articles, expertise and know-how being shared, FAQ sections, tutorials, videos any other sort of content.
As the history shows, the sales rep role has been frequently challenged by the evolution of devices and methods used to make sales efficient. eCommerce doesn’t compete with sales teams but empowers them and enables to focus on customer guidance, new business development and relationship nurturing. B2B companies taking advantage of the best eCommerce technologies have to offer, will generally benefit from lower costs needed to drive sales, more orders placed online, and enhanced customer experience.
About the Author: Darren Sepanek is CMO at E7 Solutions, a Detroit-based, technology consulting firm specializing in custom software development and B2B eCommerce solutions. Darren has 20+ years of tech marketing know-how in every discipline including strategy, brand development, content marketing, digital marketing, events management and partner programs.