A robust e-commerce site allows customers to set the tone and timeline for a digital sale and frees the sales team from administrative order-placing tasks. It allows sales associates to step into a consultative capacity, focusing on serving customers, answering specific product-related questions and developing new sales strategies to attract or retain clients.
The role of the salesperson has evolved, but sales reps must still develop a thorough understanding of their customers and the product lines. By studying detailed analytic reports based on their customers’ data and shopping history, sales teams can create a more nuanced view of the customer and discover insights that can help save time or money or drive loyalty. For example, a customer who regularly orders a consumable good may be offered a subscription service for that product or a comparable one that may cost more but require replacement less often. A customer may be alerted that inventory on one of their recurring purchases is running low or has experienced a fluctuation that may affect availability or that there may be an issue with shipping to multiple addresses.
These check-ins can happen electronically. By integrating back-end systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), product inventory management (PIM) and customer relationship management (CRM), your e-commerce platform can automate programs and systems, triggered by a specific rule or action. If a problem arises with an order, during transit or after delivery, the sales team must be able to step in to support and assist the customers, using the communications channels of the customers’ choosing, such as text, chat, email, phone or an in-person appointment.
Sales associates involved in complex sales services, such as product bundling, can use information collected in these integrated data platforms to walk a customer through buying the right equipment for a large system. This configuration capability draws from a mix of human input and programming that requires a company’s ability to collect and connect their available data from IT, sales and marketing.
The future of B2B marketing
Wherever a company is in its B2B e-commerce journey, online shopping is here to stay. Creating a good e-commerce experience means putting yourself in the customers’ shoes along their journey from awareness to consideration to shopping to purchasing again. It means understanding their pain points and removing obstacles from the sale.
The future will continue to bring new capabilities, such as virtual reality, virtual showrooms and augmented reality. Businesses will continue to rapidly innovate to keep up with changing times and customer needs. The keys are examining how you can make it easier for your customers to buy from you, rather than your competitors, and differentiating yourself based on the expertise you provide.
Using the extrapolated knowledge from interconnected resources will help you create custom offerings even before clients think of them and will keep you ahead of the curve. In the end, you want your customers to trust that you have met their needs and created a flexible and frictionless online buying experience that complements your existing channels.