How to Make an e-Procurement Portal That Generates Revenue For Your Business

We live in a world in which we can find the name of the third song on Madonna’s eighth album within five seconds, tops.

Now, that’s a pretty obscure fact to be able to find the answer to in less time than it takes to find the TV remote. Despite the fact that this is an absolute miracle of modern technology, if it takes more than a few moments, the person seeking the information is probably just going to forget all about it and move on with their life.

Why are we talking about “Runaway Lover” in an article about generating revenue for your B2B company? 

Two words: Instant gratification.

Now more than ever, your customers expect to be provided with information and answers to their questions the moment they ask them. If they don’t get the answer they’re looking for within a few seconds, they either become extremely frustrated or forget all about their inquiry in the first place.

(And forget about having them reach out to an actual person. More than two-thirds of B2B customers prefer to find answers on their own than ask a service representative for help. And, ridiculous as it may seem, 33% of them say they would rather clean a toilet than speak to a customer service rep!)

What this means for your company is you need to have a fully-functional e-procurement portal your customers can use to find the answers they need and begin the process of making a purchase from your company.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basic tenets of a customer-facing portal, and explain how offering self-service to your customers can benefit your business as a whole.

Providing Customer Service Through an e-Procurement Portal

The main reason for creating a customer portal in the first place is to provide your customers with immediate access to just about anything they’d need to know, not only about your company but about your entire industry.

For the most part, your customers don’t necessarily need you to hold their hand while seeking out this information, either. As mentioned above, they don’t even want this.

What they do want is on-demand answers to frequently asked questions, and in-depth resources that take their understanding of a specific topic to a whole new level. Your customer portal, then, should have a section dedicated to providing such information (and that points to external resources, as well).

In addition to information regarding the product or service you offer, your customers also want to know what they’re “getting themselves into” when they do business with your company. This is the “procurement” part of the B2B customer portal: where your customers can learn about the additional services you offer, how they should go about ordering from you, and any other logistical information regarding their relationship with your company.

Now, all this isn’t to say your e-procurement portal will basically replace your service representatives; it won’t. 

(As mentioned, though, you do want to provide as much information as possible so your customers don’t absolutely have to reach out to a service rep if they don’t currently want to.)

What the portal does need to do is make such communication as frictionless as possible for your customers. In fact, the implementation of a customer portal actually makes communications more accessible on both sides of the equation: because the customer will have specified a particular topic of discussion, you’ll know exactly who to connect them with within your organization in order to immediately get them the information they need.

As you know, the process of B2B sales doesn’t exactly happen quickly. But by providing your customers with self-service options and streamlined customer service, you can speed this process up - and generate more business in doing so.

Generate Loyalty Through Continuous Improvement

Everything we mentioned above will almost certainly drive loyalty within your customer base.

But there’s one other area to touch on regarding how using an e-procurement portal can improve business operations and generate loyalty.

Creating an e-procurement portal inherently means that pretty much everything your customers do in terms of interacting with your brand is recorded. Through the portal, you can quickly document and analyze the exact process each of your customers go through whenever they log into their account. 

On your end, this means you can identify areas in which your customers know what they’re doing and don’t need much help, as well as areas in which they struggle to find what they’re looking for. In turn, you can then work on improving the “problem” areas (e.g., by providing additional information, improving the UI, etc.) to make your customers’ overall experience more streamlined.

You can also analyze this data in conjunction with the other customer-facing data you collect over time, and use this information to improve the overall service you provide your customers. In doing so, you might notice a need to strengthen a specific area of your service - or even add an additional level of service to your overall offer.

In either case, the point is:

By analyzing the data you collect through your e-procurement portal, you’ll have a much better idea of what your customers want from your company. By making the necessary improvements and giving them what they want, you’ll show your customers you truly care about them and want to help them succeed. In turn, they’ll almost certainly come back to your company the next time they’re in need.

Increase Revenue By Implementing an e-Procurement Portal

Overall, an e-procurement portal can help you generate not just increased revenue, but increased profit as well.

As you probably know, B2B customers can be up to 90% through the research stage of the buying process before they actually reach out to a service representative. By providing as much information as you possibly can upfront, you keep these customers engaged with your company - even when they’re not interacting with an actual human.

In addition to this, you inherently reduce the cost of acquiring and working with new customers through the implementation of an e-procurement portal. Since your new customers will be able to find a good amount of information on their own, they won’t need a service rep to walk them through every step of the process - freeing your employees up to focus on more pressing tasks.

Finally, your e-procurement portal just makes doing business easier, for everyone involved. Your customers will know what they need to do at a given time, and will likely only reach out when absolutely necessary. At that point, it’s almost a sure thing that a sale is imminent, so you can be confident that investing in a customer who has reached out is the right decision to make.

For more on how an e-procurement portal can help grow your business, check out this past article from earlier this year.

(PS: I had to look that song title up...I swear!)

B2B eCommerce Marketing

Posted in B2B eCommerce, B2B Sales, Sales & Marketing