Using Online Sales Portals to Boost Efficiency in B2B Markets
We all know that online sales are the norm for most retailers today, but what about business-to-business (B2B) organizations? Using online sales is much less common for these companies, but if you’re one of them, did you know that moving sales online could be the best transition you ever made? In fact, 46% of buyers said they would increase online purchasing in the next year, according to the 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study conducted by the Acquity Group. This indicates that the demand for online sales is high and rising. Therefore, it’s worth looking at providing it. Here are five ways online sales can streamline the sales process.
Less processing time, minimized stock-outs
Streamlining orders through an online portal can save your company time, money, and resources. Compared to orders that are processed manually, whether over the phone, fax, or email, online orders are much quicker and easier to process because they are automatically administered through your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system if it is integrated with the portal. You can also reduce processing time and costs by minimizing stock-outs. When a stock-out occurs, you not only have opportunity cost, but also the cost of potential lost sales, processing costs of back orders, and other issues that are a hassle to deal with. The goal is to eliminate unsatisfied customer orders, as these lengthen the overall order processing time. With online order placement, inventory stock levels are much more visible – therefore, minimizing the risk of running out of stock. Additionally, customers have direct insight into the most accurate product inventory levels, rather than relying on “offline” information that may or may not be up-to-date and accurate.
Miscommunication is one of the leading causes of error in any organization. With an online sales portal, you can eliminate the step where most mistakes are made: manual data entry. Your customer support or sales representatives no longer have the responsibility of manually taking orders and entering them into the system, leaving room for error with typos, spelling, and verbal miscommunication. The automation achieved through online sales is the most effective way to simplify the order fulfillment process. This is a very valuable benefit as errors such as returns are very expensive and time consuming to correct.
People generally don’t enjoy asking for help, and it takes time to provide it. An online sales portal is a win-win because of this reason. Customers can easily find the answer to most questions that they may have, without having to talk to ask a sales representative. This not only increases customer satisfaction rates because of the visibility of information, but it also saves the organization’s time. An online sales portal eliminates the need to answer all simple customer questions because they can find the information themselves.
Better information gathering
An online sales portal is a very useful tool for instantly accessing all product information anywhere, at any time. It is a highly convenient means of accessing information such as prices, product images, and stock levels. If done right, all employees in sales and customer support will embrace the system, which will lead to increased efficiency– especially if employees urge customers to use it, too.
Boost in sales team effectiveness
Information about customer order history, accounts receivable, pricing, inventory levels, and the most frequently ordered products can all be gathered with ease. Not only that, but with this easily accessible information, sales representatives can use it more effectively. For example, in meetings with customers, they can make product recommendations on the spot.
Using an online sales portal for business-to-business sales is not just about boosting your company’s efficiency; it’s about providing better customer service and a well-rounded experience for all stakeholders. If you’d like to learn more about getting an online strategy in place, talk to experts at ArcherPoint.