B2B eCommerce sales have grown 11% to reach $1.08 trillion in 2018 and show no sign of slowing down. While there's no question that you need an eCommerce website to stay competitive, you may wonder how it fits in with the traditional sales functions in your organization.
An eCommerce website isn't an alternative to traditional sales methods. Especially for B2B sales in which personal relationships and one-on-one interactions still carry a lot of weight in the decision-making process, eCommerce is unlikely to replace sales reps any time soon.
Instead, it's a great touchpoint to reinforce your existing sales channels and enhance their effectiveness. Most importantly, it frees up your sales reps' time and attention from tedious and repetitive tasks so they can focus on developing meaningful relationships with high-quality prospects, become more productive, and close more sales.
Here's how to leverage your eCommerce website to increase B2B sales productivity:
Attract More Prospects
89% of B2B buyers use the Internet to research products. Having the ability to get in front of prospects at this early stage of the buying process will give you the opportunity to build trust that increases conversion.
An eCommerce website optimized for SEO will rank high in relevant search engine results and attract more prospects seeking the exact items you're selling to your website.
By driving high-quality traffic and capturing those leads, your eCommerce website can help fill your pipeline so your sales team can focus on following up and building relationships with prospects that are most likely to convert.
Explore New Markets
Opening up new markets often take some trial-and-error. An eCommerce website can help you explore different markets and experiment with tactics without taking up too much of your sales team's time and resources.
An eCommerce website also allows you to connect with smaller accounts, which may not be on your sales team's radar, and reach more remote geographic markets, which may not be cost-efficient for your sales team to service in-person.
Your sales team can also gain insights into new markets based on the eCommerce website's analytics so they can communicate with prospects more effectively and increase conversion rates.
Educate Prospect About Your Products
An eCommerce site rich in content can educate your prospects about your offerings before they get in touch with the sales team. This helps ensure that your sales reps are investing their time and resources on leads that understand the products and are interested in making a purchase.
This approach is particularly effective if your products are more complex and require a lot of information to explain how they work. Your eCommerce website can provide visitors with pertinent product information so your sales team doesn't have to spend time presenting the same content to each prospect.
For example, visitors can access video demos, product guides, pricing information, case studies, white papers, and product-centric blog posts on the website. This will save your sales team time and efforts while accelerating the sales cycle.
Leverage the Power of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a highly effective strategy to attract the right prospects through organic search (SEO). In fact, these inbound leads are 8 times more likely to convert than outbound leads (e.g., generated from advertising and direct mail.)
Inbound methodology increases sales productivity by sending prospects that are actively seeking your products or services, and therefore more ready to make a purchase, to your sales team.
In addition, metrics from your eCommerce website help track your prospects' interaction with your content. With the right CRM system in place, you can implement a lead scoring strategy so marketing leads can be passed onto sales at the most optimal time to increase your close rate.
Progress Prospects Down the Sales Funnel
Your eCommerce website is a great platform for distributing targeted content to move prospects down the sales funnel. When they get in touch with your sales team, they're further along the purchasing path and require less effort from the reps to close the sale.
For example, you can educate prospects in the awareness stage about their challenges and introduce your solution to move them into the consideration stage. For visitors in the consideration stage, you can use in-depth content to demonstrate your products' unique features (e.g., video demo.)
Prospects can also learn about your pricing structure and the value of your offerings on the eCommerce website. When they get in touch with your sales team, they already understand the cost and benefits, thereby reducing the time and effort needed from your sales reps to close the deal.
When you integrate your eCommerce website with a CRM platform, you can automate customer communications such as behavior-triggered targeted content or reminders to reorder a product without any manual involvement from your sales team.
This will not only free up sales reps to focus on developing relationships with prospects and close more sales but also help you stay on customers' radar, deliver a better purchasing experience, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
With a robust eCommerce platform, you can also allow customers to automate their account activities, such as making recurring purchases or setting up payment methods such as purchase orders, extended credits, or e-procurement so your sales team don't have to spend time on these tasks.
Increase Sales With Personalization
50% of B2B buyers participated in a survey indicated that improved personalization is a key consideration when selecting suppliers. Incorporating personalization into your sales strategy can accelerate the sales cycle and help your reps close more sales.
Your website analytics provide insights into visitors' behaviors, preferences, and the products they're most interested in. When you integrate the eCommerce platform with your CRM system, you can collect information on prospects and customers to help your sales team deliver targeted content and personalized sales experience that will increase conversion.
Such personalization is particularly important when implementing account-based marketing (ABM) strategy. Your sales team can leverage account-specific information to address the concerns of the various decision-makers involved in the purchasing process and maximize conversion.
According to Gartner, B2B customers will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human by 2020.
As more B2B buyers prefer to self-service instead of calling a sales rep -- e.g., update their account information, set up a delivery, or reorder products -- your eCommerce platform will not only improve customer experience but also free up your sales team to focus on developing meaningful relationships with prospects and acquiring new customers.
In addition, an eCommerce website is a useful channel for prospects and customers to get pre- and post-sale support without contacting a sales rep (e.g., through product demo videos or a knowledge base.) This will further alleviate your sales team's workload so they can focus on the most productive sales activities.
Your eCommerce website plays a key role in the sales and marketing process. It helps attract more high-quality leads, distribute targeted content, and improve the customer experience. It also takes repetitive and tedious tasks off your sales team's plate so they can focus on high-value activities that foster customer relationships and generate more sales.
- Having an effective eCommerce site frees up your sales reps' time to become more productive in their job
- By leveraging your eCommerce website you can attract more prospects, explore new markets, educate prospects about your products.
- You can leverage inbound marketing, move prospects down sales funnel, enable automation and self-service, and personalize to your liking
- Having a functional and efficient eCommerce site is crucial in the growth and development of your company