On June 28, I will be speaking at IRCE, the commerce industry’s biggest and most influential annual event. Sharing the stage with our client, Geriatric Medical, I’ll explore how B2B businesses can use technology to empower their sales teams and transition their operation into the digital world.
In an age of eCommerce, the modern B2B salesperson doesn’t just take orders. Rather, they must operate to be consultants for clients; a helping hand when necessary, and a subject matter expert always. To do their jobs well, sales reps need the digital tools to move forward and add value for their customers while the trends of self-service and eCommerce continue to evolve.
It starts with your sales teams. Often times there’s a disconnect between traditional sales reps and the digital reality. Customer expectations are shifting, and the mindset of your sales team needs to shift with them.
Technology to Do the Job
The B2B buying journey is more complicated and has more people involved than the B2C process. Multiple people – including a researcher, subject matter expert, or buyer – may weigh in before a sale is actually made. When placing an order, the customer may request multiple quotes, materials and spec documents, and other supporting materials. After the order is placed, they will probably want shipping updates, customer support, and the ability to review and reorder past items.
It’s difficult and a waste of time for a sales rep to be interacting with each of these individuals along their journey when they can get the information they need via self-service. Implementing technology to automate tasks like quote generation, shipping information, and re-orders will enable your sales reps to stop acting as order-takers and move into a sales consultancy role, where they can assist customers in product choices and larger issues they may face.
Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing
Just as you want to empower your customers with the data and information they need, you want to extend the same capabilities to your internal sales teams. Endless cold-calling and email sends will not go far without the data to target and market smarter. Your sales team needs access to the data surrounding what their clients are ordering, how they’re buying, and when. With insight into these touchpoints, your sales reps can understand their clients better and create a more personalized experience when they do interact with them.
To improve the marketing experience you’re providing to your customers, you need to tailor your marketing approach as well. Using the data from your clients in your backend systems, marketers can create a more holistic marketing approach. You can target promotions to engage your customers, acquire new customers, and grow revenue. Connecting your data to benefit marketing will help your sales team in return.
Customers are at the center of your experience, and your technology needs to drive that experience. Technologies like marketing automation, customer-relationship management (CRM) systems, product information management (PIM) systems, and other eCommerce tools can enable your salespeople to be more proactive and provide real value to their customers. That is what is going to differentiate you from your competition in the long run.
To learn more about how you can strategically transition your sales team into the digital mindset and improve the customer experience you provide, check out my presentation at IRCE on June 28, 2019. I will be sharing the stage with Geriatric Medical, a client we helped with marketing automation and digital experience challenges.
Senior Commerce Consultant for Perficient Digital, a leading digital transformation consulting firm. Experience includes more than two decades in digital commerce, product management, business development and marketing for manufacturing and distribution organizations. Has provided strategic leadership for global suppliers and brands resulting in innovative techniques for improving the customer experience overall, reducing cost of sales and accelerating efficiencies within complex buying and selling scenarios. Authored articles for leading publications in the manufacturing, distribution and ecommerce industries.