Tackling the challenges of legacy b2b sales processes

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Whether you’re a manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor, b2b selling comes with many complex challenges. As most b2b organisations continue to prioritise working towards streamlined processes and operational efficiency, inconvenient and non-intuitive ordering procedures can quickly frustrate customers as well as your own staff. Let’s take a look at some of the issues that can arise when sellers have inadequate technology in place to support smooth online sales processes…

Lapsed customers

If a customer stops ordering from you, how can you win back their business? You could try sending them marketing emails, special offers and promotions, or task your sales reps with undertaking a campaign of face-to-face visits and phone calls. But if a customer finds it difficult to do business with your company, you need to offer them a different way of working.

This is where a modern b2b eCommerce solution can help to overcome the shortcomings of an out-dated traditional ordering system and encourage lapsed customers to buy from you again. Make it effortless for your customers to work with you, and experience shows the reward will be more orders.

Lack of order management

With a traditional manual ordering system, the frequency and volume of orders can stress old-fashioned processes and create annoying backlogs. On the occasions when companies are unable to process orders efficiently, customers get frustrated about late delivery times, and unnecessary pressure is placed on customer services teams to input data and resolve issues. On top of this, the company’s capacity to take on more orders is also compromised.

An eCommerce platform that is integrated with your business and accounting system (such as Sage or Pegasus) automates the order management process. And because the customer-facing part of your website is automatically syncronised with the back office, it also allows customers to immediately see a real-time stock position for the products they want to order. With this type of automated order management, processing errors are eliminated and delivery times accelerated.

Support for multitasking buyers

Business-to-business buyers are busy people – they need the support and flexibility to be able to research products and place orders wherever they are – in the office or on the move. From our experience, long, complex, ordering processes will quickly end up in lost sales. While most b2b eCommerce solutions make it easier for buyers to browse product catalogues and place orders online, time-poor buyers need a smart mobile solution to help them maximise productivity.

A recent survey found that eight out of ten b2b buyers are using a mobile device for their work, and six out of ten report that mobile played a significant part in a recent professional purchase. What’s more, mobile orders can be completed more quickly, speeding up the process by up to 20%. The companies we work with are able to capitalise on these opportunities with eCommerce websites sites that are optimised for mobile. They’re typically seeing an increase in search queries, site traffic and transactions, with a substantial amount of revenue coming from mobile.

Poor product sales performance

Companies often list products that fail to sell at all, or sell in much lower volumes than anticipated. Sometimes this is due to low customer demand, but frequently it’s because the product is not obviously visible to buyers. Product discoverability is crucial, and in successful b2b eCommerce the traditional printed product catalogue needs to be replaced by a high performance digital version.

Today’s top b2b eCommerce platforms have advanced product search functionality and the capability to support a variety of rich content – from detailed product descriptions to imagery and video that can all be easily uploaded to the site. With the opportunity to feature product cross-sell and up-sell options, as well as customer-tailored promotions, these b2b platforms help you break customers out of routine ordering cycles and ensure that your products get noticed.

Inability to scale operations

If your business is building but your sales and ordering processes are unable to keep pace, growth will be compromised. Inadequate systems invariably result in unacceptably slow response times, overworked staff and poor customer service – which can lead to fewer orders and lost customers.

Businesses that have implemented a best-in-class b2b integrated eCommerce solution are able to automate their ordering process. By removing manual processes and allowing customers to self-serve 24/7, without the need to interact with sales staff or customer services teams, buyers enter a streamlined system with the capacity to handle an infinite number of transactions. By eliminating legacy ordering processes, your business can scale to meet demand well into the future.