A study released by Forrester Consulting shows that B2B buyers are now demanding more omni-channel capabilities when it comes to making purchases. The study, “Building The B2B Omni-Channel Commerce Platform of the Future,” discovered that customers today not only desire but demand access to multiple touch points and options for buying their item of interest. This is made possible for B2C consumers through point-of-sale systems for eCommerce and portals linked to catalog for your B2B customers. With all interactions recorded on a CRM a part of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
In layman’s terms it means a seamless journey for the customer when browsing or buying, regardless of the channel they’re using. It’s the ability for the customer to go from the starting line to the winner’s circle without having to change lanes.
The customer-facing advantages that are derived from an omni-channel presence paired with an ERP extends to your staff as well. There’s nothing worse than having a customer come through the door (which is no longer limited to physical location, or a sales call,) interested in placing an order, only for you to keep rushing back to your workstation or the counter to pull information on prices, volumes and so on.
When you invest in an ERP system, you can ensure your sales representative will never have to scramble for information again. ERP system – containing the likes of an online catalog, warehouse stock, shipping estimate times, and more – can be accessed via smartphone or tablet, meaning the answers to customers queries are literally at your employees’ fingertips.
This empowers your sales representative to do what they do best, sell! This leaves customers feeling confident and taken care of in a timely manner. An ERP system paired with a point-of-sale system delivers a level of diversity in reference to the platforms utilized to transact commerce.
Beyond building a good relationship with new and existing customers, the ability to take an order from start to finish regardless of the channel utilized, massively reduces the overhead per order for your sales representative. Thus freeing up their time to pursue and complete other tasks.
When a sales representative is stuck behind a desk filling out order forms in triplicate, faxing them to other branches or heading out to the warehouse to talk to its manager, he or she is not doing the job they were hired to do, nor what they want to do.
Sales representatives are a different breed that combine energy, positivity, and intuitive interpersonal abilities that make sales possible. These skills are underutilized on a large scale, as the standard tools and systems representatives must use, restricts them to completing numerous tasks that are integral to the company but are otherwise a misuse of their particular skill set.
To cite an example, a 2013 study by Harvard Business Review found that employees spend up to 41% of their day on tasks others could do competently. Imagine giving your sales representatives an additional 41% of their work day to properly utilize their abilities without paying them an extra penny.
An investment in the right ERP software could see the aforementioned improvements become a reality, and as efficiency rises, so will your bottom line.