Based on Gartner's estimate, 80% of sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will be online by 2025. However, just 18% of B2B companies have integrated B2B eCommerce.
What then prevents B2B businesses from adopting B2B e-Commerce? Surprisingly, sales representatives are the ones impeding the uptake of B2B e-Commerce. A little over 70% of B2B decision-makers think that transitioning to B2B e-Commerce will inevitably lead to conflicts with sales representatives.
The biggest fears of sales reps
Losing control over customer relationships
B2B sales reps are protective of their accounts and are reluctant to hand them over to auto-generated software or another salesperson, in case they lose one of their best customers.
Losing control over information
Since information is a powerful tool in sales, many B2B sales reps view their information as confidential materials that should not be readily shared with anybody inside or outside the organization who may benefit from using it effectively.
Many B2B sales reps believe that adopting an order management system will result in lower earnings. They fear that they will be compelled into a market where they lack sufficient knowledge of a good or service and won't be able to successfully compete against another rep in their area who does.
As sales reps are vital to any B2B e-commerce business, new technologies and methods are altering how they do their job. Hence, it’s important to assist them in embracing the future of their field by assisting them in comprehending the implications of these developments for their own future.
So how can you assist your sales reps to adapt to these changes?
Make sure your B2B sales reps are aware of the importance of being customer experts.
This entails being completely knowledgeable about each account, including the customers’ requirements, demands, expectations and offers from competitors, so that all they have to do to close a deal is to request an order number or email address.
It's about time to eliminate static sales reporting, the quarterly vs. monthly cycle, and endless dashboards with subpar data. In today's market, innovative and data-driven technologies are evolving at a rapid rate.
Now, online platforms are developing configurable models that allow users to design simple, interactive dashboards to compare sales trends, select various key metrics, and link to multiple platforms.
This enables B2B sales reps the chance to be more proactive in managing customer relationships as well as providing B2B businesses with a more thorough perspective of what's occurring in real time. For instance, by showing lists of accounts with declining sales over the last three months, accounts with below-average sales, or accounts with no sales at all, can take the B2B sales reps’ progress to the next level.
It's critical for B2B sales reps to understand their customers' needs, how technology can assist those needs, and most importantly, when it's time for technology to take over.
Additionally, as a B2B business owner you should also make clear that sales reps are no longer expected to own or manage any aspect of the customer experience. Make sure your B2B sales reps realize their function is changing but not disappearing if they are concerned about losing their employment due to B2B eCommerce-enabled competition.
As a B2B business owner, try to foster a culture of acceptance among your team members by outlining the benefits of change, including them in the decision-making process, and emphasizing the value of their efforts. That way you can lead your sales reps in the direction of acceptance of B2B eCommerce rather than resistance as you convert and digitalize your B2B business.