Uber and Lyft are taking over taxis. Self-check-out kiosks are taking over store clerk positions. B2B eCommerce webstores are taking over salespeople’s roles – or are they? The answer, in short, is no; however, some salespeople still seem to fear otherwise.
While the salesperson’s role is not becoming obsolete, it is changing; however, before we dive in to how we can get our sales team to corroborate a digital transformation, it’s first imperative that we can explain to them why this additional sales channel is essential.
Why B2B eCommerce Matters
It is estimated that by 2020, 80% of the workforce will be comprised of millennials, meaning that the window of customers willing to do business with you without an eCommerce site is drastically shrinking. When entering a new sales channel, especially one as vast as the digital space, every person within a company must alter their way of working in some capacity. In fact, if utilized properly, an eCommerce channel can actually be a powerful tool for salespeople to grow their sites.
Even so, when salespeople first hear about their employer incorporating eCommerce, they object for numerous reasons including fear of diminished credit – and pay – for sales made through the eCommerce system, and loss of relationships with customers since they are no longer participating in the order-taking process.
Admittedly, these are valid points. But the truth is, when salespeople are educated on eCommerce, this implementation can be used to their advantage, helping them sell larger orders to more customers in less time. It is up to management within these organizations to take action and ensure their sales team that these fears will not come to fruition. A few techniques to do this are as follows:
3 Tips to Get Your B2B Sales Team On Board for Digital Transformation
1. Include your sales team in the initial building phase of your eCommerce platform.
These are the people within your organization who have the most frequent and personal contact with your customers; they know what your customers like, dislike, need, and can do without. By getting a few sales managers introduced to eCommerce and its benefits early on, they can disseminate information into their teams, thus getting your entire sales team on board prior to launching your digital sales channel.
2. Create a payment plan that is as appealing – or more appealing – to your salespeople commission-wise.
For starters, make sure that your ERP correctly reports out for commission. Again, it is smart to include influential members of your sales team in this process, as it allows for true transparency into how their pay is being handled. It is imperative that your organization is on top of this; if salespeople feel underpaid or skipped out of pay entirely, they will be reluctant to use your eCommerce platform and will convince their peers and your customers to revert to old ways of order placement.
3. Incorporate your salespeople on the actual eCommerce platform, providing their contact information to customers when they log in to place orders.
This is a gentle reminder to your customers that their sales contacts still exist. If any questions arise while they’re browsing your store, they’ll be able to dial their representative’s direct line and speak with a familiar voice.
When an organization truly adopts an omnichannel approach for B2B, salespeople can focus on relationship building, new customer acquisition, and other imperative tasks that were once consumed by filling out sales sheets and providing quotes. The key is to involve your sales team in the early stages, so they can contribute to the eCommerce build-out, have plenty of time to learn how to use the webstore as a tool, and understand that this new sales channel will not impact their commission and job necessity.
Keep reading about how to improve your B2B eCommerce efforts:
- How to Choose the Best B2B eCommerce Platform for Your Business
- Tips for B2B Merchants Launching their First B2C eCommerce Site
- Increase Lead Generation with a B2B Content Marketing Strategy
- Top B2B Marketplaces (and How to Sell Successfully on Them)
- How to Navigate B2B eCommerce: Go-to-Guide for Manufacturers and Distributors Selling Online
About the Author:
Lena Bent studied Business Management with a focus in Entrepreneurship at DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Lena’s passion for fusing the creative art of story-telling with proven business practices led her into the world of marketing five years ago. In 2018, she dove in to the world of B2B eCommerce, now serving as the Global Marketing Lead for ES Tech Group. In her role, she works closely alongside the sales team to create effective multi-channel marketing campaigns and provide industry resources to customers and prospects alike.
About ES Tech Group
ES Tech Group offers a webstore platform and web catalog service that enables a uniquely comprehensive and personalized B2B eCommerce capability for manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.
Unlike competitors, ES Tech Group provides the full solution: content, commerce and connectivity to meet all your digital business needs in a fraction of the time required compared to traditional implementation approaches.