The Evolution of B2B Sales
The dynamics of B2B sales have undergone a seismic shift in recent years. Gone are the days of exclusive reliance on sales representatives for transactions. Today, 83% of B2B buyers prefer to complete purchases online, without ever engaging with a salesperson. This shift is not merely a trend; it’s a fundamental change in how businesses buy and sell.
As B2B companies move towards self-service sales, it’s imperative to understand the driving forces behind this evolution. The reasons include a desire for efficiency, accessibility, and data-driven decision making. Online ordering systems perfectly align with these demands, making them a cornerstone of modern B2B commerce.
Why Online Order Systems Matter for B2B Companies
In the ever-evolving realm of B2B commerce, online ordering systems have emerged as a game-changer. Whether you’re a seasoned industry giant or a burgeoning startup, these systems offer undeniable advantages. They empower businesses to streamline their operations, serve customers more efficiently, and tap into a global market 24/7.
As B2B decision-makers increasingly prefer self-service options, online ordering systems become essential for maintaining a competitive edge. They reduce the complexities of traditional ordering processes, making transactions quicker and more accurate. In a world where speed and precision matter, adopting these systems isn’t just an option; it’s a strategic necessity.
What Are Online Ordering Systems?
Before we delve deeper into the benefits, let’s clarify what online ordering systems encompass. These systems come in various forms, ranging from simple B2B shopping cart + checkout on your public websites to more complex product configurators that help customers build their desired solution and then proceed to purchase or request a quote.
Examples of online ordering systems include:
- Self-service portals where customers can place orders independently. These can be on your public website or behind a registration. In its simplest form, this can be added to your existing website for free. Sometimes this could be a sales channel for existing customers only, sometimes the channel can serve both new and existing customers.
- Product configurators that enable customers to configure products or solutions to their needs and buy them. Product configurators are a great way to offer self-service tools for buyers when you are selling a bit more complex products. Product configurators make it easy to sell even services. Tesla’s car configurator is a great example of a product configurator.
- Integrated e-commerce platforms that offer a seamless shopping experience. This includes customer specific pricing, channel or customer-specific products and a variety of other B2B features.
Online ordering systems aren’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on your business model and customer preferences, you can choose from several types. For instance, if you cater to tech-savvy clients who prefer quick online transactions, a self-service portal might be ideal. On the other hand, a embedding commerce function to your existing mobile app could be beneficial for businesses with frequent on-the-go buyers
The choice depends on your specific business needs and goals, making online ordering systems a versatile solution for diverse industries.
How B2B Order Management Works
B2B order management might sound complex, but it’s essentially how you handle everything after your customer decides to buy. Let’s break it down into simple terms with examples:
1. Placing the Order:
Orders can come in different ways. Customers can use self-service checkout (they pick what they need, add it to their cart, and check out), or they can call a sales rep who puts the order into the system.
We believe in making it easy, so you have options.
2. Order Confirmation:
After you place your order, whether through self-service or with a sales rep, the system will send you a confirmation of your order.
3. Order fulfillment
The customer’s order appears in the Orders view. From there you can manage customer’s orders. If you’re selling a physical product, the customer receives the shipping confirmation with tracking information once the order has been fulfilled.
Five key benefits of online order management systems
1. Streamlined Efficiency with B2B Online Ordering Systems
Efficiency is the hallmark of B2B online ordering systems. They eliminate the need for time-consuming back-and-forth communication, replacing it with a streamlined process that saves time and minimizes errors. Consider a scenario where a customer can place a complex order with a few clicks on your website. This efficiency not only enhances customer satisfaction but also frees up your staff to focus on more strategic tasks.
Real-world examples abound, showcasing how companies have significantly reduced order processing times and error rates. The result? Improved operational efficiency, reduced costs, and happier customers.
2. Accessibility Across Time Zones
The global marketplace operates around the clock, and so should your business. Online ordering systems break down the time zone barriers that can impede traditional sales methods. Customers from around the world can access your products and services whenever it suits them.
This accessibility isn’t just a theoretical advantage; it translates into increased sales opportunities. Businesses that embrace online ordering systems are better positioned to serve international clients and capture orders even during non-traditional working hours.
3. Data-Driven Decision Making
In the digital age, data reigns supreme. Online ordering systems generate a wealth of valuable information about customer behavior, preferences, and sales trends. This data isn’t just for show; it empowers your business to make informed decisions, optimize product offerings, and tailor marketing strategies.
Imagine the ability to identify your top-selling products, understand customer buying patterns, and adjust your marketing campaigns accordingly. With data-driven insights at your fingertips, you can adapt and grow in a way that traditional sales methods simply can’t match.
4. Empowering Small Businesses
Small businesses often face resource constraints, but online ordering systems level the playing field. These systems offer scalability, allowing small enterprises to expand their reach and boost sales without overextending their resources. You don’t need a large sales force to serve more customers; an efficient online ordering system does the heavy lifting.
Real-life success stories of small businesses transitioning to online ordering systems illustrate how this transformation can be a game-changer. It’s about achieving growth and competitiveness on your terms, and online ordering systems make it possible.
5. The Pitfalls of Staying in the Past
While online ordering systems offer a myriad of benefits, it’s equally important to acknowledge the limitations of sticking to traditional sales methods. Relying solely on a human salesforce can lead to slower processes, increased chances of errors, and limited availability. This can ultimately result in missed sales opportunities and frustrated customers.
Real-world examples of businesses that resisted change and clung to outdated practices serve as cautionary tales. The world is moving forward, and businesses that refuse to adapt may find themselves left behind.
Don’t Miss the Digital Revolution
The digital revolution is reshaping B2B commerce, and online ordering systems are at the forefront of this transformation. It’s no longer a question of whether to adopt these systems but when. The opportunities they offer for increased efficiency, accessibility, and data-driven success are too compelling to ignore.