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28Apr, 2017

Open Letter to B2B Sales Team – E-commerce ERP Integration is not your Foe

Greetings to the brave and resilient sales team,

Conducting sales in a traditional B2B scenario has always been a mixed bag of emotions for any Sales representative, and every sales rep would vouch for that. Staying motivated during those long sales cycles, navigating through the hierarchy of decision makers, and customizing your sales pitch for each one of them is nothing short of fighting a battle in the trenches; you really have to get your hands dirty.

But, times are changing. Mobile and internet penetration, technology adoption, increasing influence of B2C shopping experience, etc. have all had their impact on how sales are carried these days. Customers do their research even before they talk to a sales representative and they expect sales representatives to have information on their fingertips.

For sales representatives to stay relevant in this environment they have to adopt technology and use it to their advantage; instead of considering automation as an enemy and creating hurdles in adopting it. The same is true for E-commerce and ERP integration. See if this sounds familiar to you:

I was all sold on B2B e-commerce platform and ERP integration. I could see how that could dramatically change my business. But, I could never get a buy-in from my Sales team. While I persisted and adopted a B2B e-commerce platform, the adoption from sales was very low. In fact, they did everything to avoid using the platform.

For all those sales representatives who think E-commerce and ERP integration is their enemy and will steal their commissions read on. In this article, we will highlight how an integrated e-commerce (with your ERP system) can help you do more (close more sales) than less.

1) Reducing the Communication Gap

Agree with me or not but a lot of sales representatives have a bad reputation of not doing proper research of their customer prior to a meeting. Customers of today demand spontaneity from the sales representative they are meeting, as time is too precious to waste. A sloppy presentation is not an excuse for a deal gone bad.

Traditional B2B business, even today, are clueless to this option due to improper communications between their backend team and sales team, leaving scope for miscommunication and a lost opportunity for the sales team.

How does E-commerce ERP Integration help? 

This is where an E-commerce ERP integration can be your most reliable friend. The integration can easily convert your e-commerce store to a sales portal. The sales representative will have access to all the information like the product, inventory, order, customer, etc. to make informed decisions. With access to this, they can now better nurture a lead and close a sale faster than before.

For more information, read about i95Dev’s Sales Person Module.

2) Get a 360-degree View of Customer

This is another major hurdle hitting the B2B sales team hard, not having a 360-degree view of the customers they are supposed to service. It is common knowledge among the B2B sales community, the tight schedules and the constantly changing order requirements of the customers.

Topping the pressure of achieving the monthly sales target, finally taking its toll resulting in a botched up sale opportunity and the sales commission taking a dent.

How does an E-commerce ERP integration help?

The E-commerce and ERP integration as mentioned above enables sales representatives to access all customer information that was not accessible to them before. Sales representatives can build a 360-degree view of customers by using data like customer information, order history, payment history, and more. In addition, this information comes from multiple channels like your ERP system and your e-commerce store (which can be further extended to include other channels like CRM, POS, etc.).

3) Streamlined Allocation of Leads to Sales Representatives

It is well known that lead allocation amongst the sales representatives has always been a bone of contention amongst the B2B community. While businesses do their best in assigning territories and targets to all sales representatives, any mistake can lead to a lot of bad blood amongst the team members finally resulting in the loss in revenue due to bad sales.

How does E-commerce ERP integration help?

With E-commerce and ERP integration, administrators can manage all sales representatives and their commissions online. They can also set up rules to automatically assign leads to sales representatives based on a pre-agreed set of parameters and logic; avoiding any misallocation and confusion.

Further, they can also run reports to review the performance of sales representatives, calculate sales commissions, and more.

4) Reduce Quote to Order Cycle by Managing Quotes Online

Quotes are usually the first step of most B2B transactions. In the traditional B2B scenario, a lot of back and forth happens between the customer, sales representative and back-end business team to raise a quote, modify a quote, and finally to convert a quote to an order. This back and forth communication dramatically lengthens the quote to order cycle and has a negative impact on customer experience.

How does E-commerce ERP integration help?

E-commerce and ERP integration takes this entire process online. With all information at their fingertips, sales representatives can quickly create quotes for a customer on the move. Customers can then view these quotes online, request changes, or approve quotes to convert them into an order.

With B2B e-commerce and ERP integration, a process that would traditionally take weeks can be easily be completed in few hours or faster – while the sales representative is with the customer.

For more information, read about i95Dev’s Advanced Quotation Module.

5) Give your Customers the Best Deal

B2B sales representatives often face the dilemma whether or not to offer the customer a particular deal. Often the confusion stems from B2B products’ complex pricing structure, approval hierarchy and lack of information about margins and customer history. This problem gets aggravated further with the increase in the size of product portfolio and customer base.

In traditional B2B scenarios, a lot of back and forth communication is required between customer, sales representative and back-end team to agree on a price/ offer. This not only increases the sales cycle but also negatively impacts the customer experience.

How does E-commerce ERP integration help?

With E-commerce and ERP integration, this complex situation becomes child’s play for sales representatives. The integration enables the e-commerce store to leverage the complex pricing rule engine (tier prices) of the ERP system to calculate the best possible price for a specific deal/ customer.

Businesses can also extend this feature directly to end customers. Thereby giving customers complete clarity over pricing; enabling sales representatives to focus more on increasing order size, cross-selling, up-selling, etc. than on activities like price negotiations.

6) Give your Customers Flexibility of Multiple Payment Options

With everything moving online, how can the most important aspect of B2B business – Payments, stay offline. Payments in the B2B industry is a long and complicated process – with sales happening on credit and varying payment terms.

Collections/ Payments plays an important role in maintaining the liquidity for the company and payments happening via cash, cheque, etc. complicate things because of delays in actual payment realization.

How does E-commerce ERP integration help?

By enabling your customers to pay pending invoices online, you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to realize payments. This also saves sales representatives the time it takes to constantly follow-up with customers for payments.

While this is mostly an e-commerce benefit, the E-commerce and ERP integration helps in keeping the accounting books complete by synchronizing this information back to the ERP system. Moreover, the pending invoices are usually managed in the ERP system and integration ensures communication to the e-commerce system for accurate settlement of the account.

For more information, read about i95Dev’s Bill Pay Module.

The purpose of penning this letter is to make the sales rep working in the B2B scenario all over the world understand that having a negative perception about B2B E-commerce and E-commerce ERP integration will do them more harm than good.

Remember technology is here to say and adopting them is the best option. Happy selling.

 

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Open Letter to B2B Sales Team – E-commerce ERP Integration is not your Foe