How B2B eCommerce Platforms Enable Sales

B2B eCommerce Platforms

B2B eCommerce platforms are no longer just another optional sales channel but a priority for B2B players who want to remain relevant. According to a recent McKinsey report — due to the pandemic — 10 years of eCommerce adoption was compressed into just a few months. This explains why the demands of B2B buyers have dramatically shifted to online post the pandemic.

But what is sales enablement, and how do B2B eCommerce platforms enable sales? This short and to-the-point article will reveal expert insights that can help you maximize your B2B eCommerce sales in 2021. Read on!

B2B eCommerce platform: what is it?

A B2B eCommerce platform is an internet-based end-to-end software solution that helps businesses buy or sell services or products more efficiently, offering features that simplify various aspects of the purchasing process for both parties. These can include streamlining inventory, pricing, request for quote (RFQ) management, and self-service,  among many others.

Overall, B2B eCommerce platforms allow for scalability, improved business efficiency, and productivity.

What is sales enablement?

Sales enablement in B2B commerce is the continuous process of equipping sales teams with the tools they need to engage buyers and close deals. 

A sales enablement program is usually defined by the resources and skills that salespeople get. Here are the two categories of information that your salespeople need to acquire for a successful program:

  • Information that they can share with buyers;
  • Resources and skills they can use internally, e.g. software, hardware, and best practices.

Why is sales enablement important in B2B eCommerce?

Sales enablement is critically important in B2B eCommerce. Today’s buyers now require the same online buying experience as their B2C peers. However, what many sellers don’t understand is that B2B is much more complex than B2C.

For instance, B2B buying decisions usually involve one person and can be done on impulse. On the other hand, according to Gartner, the decision process of the typical B2B company will involve about seven people. And on top of that, more than 83% of B2B buyers will require support during and after the buying process.

To efficiently keep up with these new demands, B2B sellers have to employ sales enablement techniques. The more complex your product or service is, the more the buyer’s decision-making framework increases in complexity. A carefully crafted B2B eCommerce platform is one of the most effective ways to improve sales enablement in the B2B landscape today.

Building a successful B2B sales enablement strategy in 2021

B2B eCommerce is constantly evolving, hence the need for sales strategies that match today’s trends. The process of building a rewarding sales enablement strategy in 2021 involves the following steps:

  1. Finding loopholes

This is the part where you search for the loopholes in your processes, particularly your sales funnel. You look for areas that might require improvement or attention, always keeping customer experience as your reference point.

However, some of these shortcomings will never be found by you, the vendor. And this is where your customers come in. Survey your customers to get comprehensive feedback on the product or service. Most importantly, compile your survey in a way that will encourage customers to participate fully. 

  1. Analyzing existing processes

After you have recognized the aspects of your eCommerce business that require improvement, you analyze existing processes. Find out which processes should remain as is and which should be automated or taken offline. While doing this analysis, think like a buyer. Prioritize customer experience above everything.

  1. Getting your people involved

Do not leave your employees out of the loop. Keep them updated on the change in company culture, from focusing on closing deals to concentrating on customer satisfaction.

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Your employees might have ideas that would also help your business achieve its goal. Therefore, you need to ensure that you communicate regularly with them and equip them with all the resources they will need for success. Sales training should also be held continuously to help them not only sell more effectively but also satisfy customers.

  1. Introducing technological tools

New technology, if implemented right, can be a gamechanger. To test the waters, you might want to start with a minimum viable product (MVP). This method allows you to test and validate your new tech with the most minimum capital and resources. The upside to this approach is that it reduces the risk of investing large sums of money and resources into a technology that doesn’t work.

How to improve your sales strategy model in sales enablement

At this point, you must have realized that there is a need to update your sales strategy model. While doing that, these three factors have to be put into consideration:

  • Focus on the customer’s needs

Your sales strategy has to become more customer-centric. Ask yourself questions like: How does my product solve my client’s problem? Is it easy for them to use, or does it complicate things further? How can I make their experience with this product seamless?

Today, customers prefer products that tick all the boxes, that is, both quality and value with ease. Your sales team has to evolve and focus on these new trends. 

  • Personalize the customer experience

Ensure that every customer receives the best care they can get, and most importantly, make sure that it’s tailored to their needs. Research shows that 33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship in 2020 did so because personalization was lacking. To keep your B2B business ahead, pay special attention to every customer.

Furthermore, all prospects, before they even conclude a sale, should receive service worthy of a paying customer.

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  • Ensure customer satisfaction

Your sales funnel does not terminate after the product has been purchased. Customer satisfaction is another aspect of sales that boosts brand loyalty. Your team has to pay attention to feedback to ensure that the product is indeed solving customer problems.

The automated, online, and offline aspects of your eCommerce platform for B2B should focus on these factors to boost sales.

Sales enablement tools for B2B ecommerce

Any tool utilized by your platform should lead you closer to your ultimate goal —client satisfaction. In B2B eCommerce, multiple tools can be used for different purposes. These include:

  • Experience management tools, e.g., Genesys
  • Product information management tools, e.g., Pimcore
  • Commerce Management tool, e.g., Oro or Shopify
  • Order management tools, e.g., Ordoro

These online tools are built in such a way that they can be connected effortlessly with third party solutions you will need. This should help create a top-notch experience for both you and your customer.

How to Measure Successful Sales Enablement in B2B Commerce

The performance of a sales enablement strategy has to be tracked before you can determine if it is successful or not. The goal you set before implementing the system would greatly determine the key performance indicators that you will use.

Some other KPIs to keep in mind are:

  • Leads-to-opportunities conversion rate
  • Customer satisfaction level
  • Sales cycle length
  • Sales volume
  • Opportunities-to-closed-deals conversion rate
  • Sales productivity per sales representative

Over to you

As much as B2B buyers widely appreciate the self-serve model, that doesn’t entirely eradicate the need for a sales rep. Today, an ideal B2B eCommerce platform is not supposed to replace sales reps. Instead, it’s meant to be used as a sales enablement tool that will significantly improve the buying journey as well as the  sales team’s efficiency.

Evidently, B2B eCommerce platforms help with sales enablement.  However, as a savvy B2B seller, you need to determine when your buyers would need an automated experience or human help. Keep your customer as the north star and use eCommerce as a way to complement and maximize your sales team’s efforts.

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