Some salespeople are distrustful of online ecommerce, perhaps due to fear of it taking away their ability to sell to customers or its disruptiveness into existing processes. But contrary to popular belief, sales teams will continue to play an essential role in organizations that sell to businesses.
Buyers made it clear they prefer a cross-channel mix of interactions, including remote, in-person, and digital self-service. Ecommerce aims to support all existing selling channels by making them more consistent, convenient, and efficient across the buyer’s journey.
Customers feel empowered when they can take action independently and satisfied when they find the support they need. Both roads have the same destination: increased customer loyalty.
Let’s discuss how digital technology improves the productivity of sales representatives and empowers them to perform their jobs at a higher level.
Eliminate repetitive, tedious tasks
Instead of manually processing orders, following up with smaller clients, and checking customer order status and inventory levels, many of these tasks can be automated and handled through ecommerce and online self-service functions.
For many businesses, the website has replaced the online catalog, providing product information and specifications. With comprehensive product information available online, salespeople can easily send customers to their company’s website to compare products, find the right choices for their business, and move ahead with orders more quickly.
Recommending an alternative product that better suits a customer’s needs is as easy as sharing a link to it in WhatsApp or email.
A correctly implemented B2B ecommerce site shows customer-specific pre-negotiated prices, which eliminates a lot of price-related requests. Real-time product availability and delivery time further improve productivity for both buyers and sales reps.
Self-service functionality provided by ecommerce makes it easier for customers to check order status and repeat a previous order.
New tools to support complex orders
The time saved by eliminating repetitive, tedious tasks allows salespeople to act strategically and spend more time closing the highest-value sales opportunities, where solutions-based selling is critical.
Many ecommerce vendors have implemented tools that allow sales reps to access the ecommerce storefront on behalf of the customers. Sales agents can log in to a store and find a customer they want to help.
They can view past orders, create a shopping list, prepare a shopping cart, or even place an order on the customer’s behalf using the same optimized storefront user interface as customers. That is an excellent way to provide personalized service and support your customers.
If salespeople in your industry tend to make recommendations before purchase, leveraging sales quotes to build draft orders can be another way to use modern technology to guide the order process. Customers get recommended orders built by their salesperson online and convert the quote to order from their office without further interaction.
There are multiple ways to implement the request for quote process in ecommerce. A quote can be initiated online by a customer or a sales rep who received the customer’s request via email or during a phone conversation. A customer adds products she wants to buy in a shopping cart, but instead of going through checkout, she submits it as a quote to a sales agent.
When a quote is created, it is used to negotiate the deal. A sales rep can edit the quote by modifying quantities, prices, and delivery conditions or suggesting alternative products.
To facilitate collaboration, it is important that both buyer and seller can add comments to the quote and keep the history of the quote changes.
Using the ecommerce website as the home base for all orders placed by customers or salespeople, you have uniform data and a single source for keeping an eye on all orders placed. Customers can log in to see orders input by salespeople, and salespeople can see the last time customers placed an order. That will give them valuable data on when to check in with their customers to place another order.
Digital commerce operations enhance the productivity of a sales team by reducing repetitive and mundane tasks. This allows sales reps to focus on high-value sales opportunities that require strategic thinking and a solutions-based approach.