B2B sales enablement: When straightforward eCommerce won’t cut it

Gibson Toombs

August 15, 2022

9 min read

When most people think of eCommerce, they think of Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other brands that provide online shopping experiences for everyday consumers. But the rise of eCommerce has also changed how businesses interact with and sell products to other businesses.

Manufacturers, wholesalers, government agencies, and other B2B organizations can benefit from deploying online sales portals—where their customers can find products, customize orders, make payments, track deliveries, engage with helpful content, and so on.

For companies with straightforward, low-complexity products and back-office workflows, a templated eCommerce storefront may be enough to successfully bring the customer experience online. But for B2B companies with strict requirements from buyers, internal teams, and third-party vendors, building a customized, user-friendly, and secure online sales portal is critical—especially in today’s increasingly competitive eCommerce landscape.

Let’s take a closer look at B2B sales enablement for eCommerce merchants.

Providing a self-service buyer experience

When it comes to customer expectations, the difference between B2B and B2C buyers is shrinking rapidly. Due to the influence of Amazon, Walmart, and other eCommerce giants, today’s consumers expect brands to provide fast and easy online shopping experiences across all browsers and devices. And companies that don’t keep up with this expectation will certainly struggle to compete.

The traditional B2B sales process involved taking orders from clients in person, over the phone, or by email, then executing those orders through a series of manual tasks. But with a modern online sales portal, the customer can create an account, find the product they’re looking for, include additional production or delivery instructions, and check out—all without the help of a sales representative. Other features specific to B2B portals include the ability to set up recurring orders, view transaction history, and use alternative payment methods like electronic bank transfers.

The goal here is to create a portal that mimics the speed and convenience of a B2C eCommerce store, while also providing custom features and functionality that meet your clients’ particular wants and needs. Giving buyers the freedom to move through your B2B sales process independently—at any given time or location—will help improve customer satisfaction, sales, and retention over time.

Automating back-office tasks

In addition to making your customers’ lives easier, online B2B sales enablement helps streamline processes for your internal staff and third-party vendors. After all, with customers creating their own orders online, your sales and customer service reps are free to focus on other high-priority objectives. And since payments are handled within the portal and processed digitally, your accounting team won’t have to worry about mailing invoices or following up with buyers on outstanding payments. Finally, the data from each transaction—whether it be shipping information, product details, or payment credentials—can be automatically transferred between internal and external systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry.

These streamlined back-office tasks enable lower costs and greater productivity, which means you can spend more time, energy, and resources on really growing your business. While these changes may require an investment in new, modernized tools and strategies, the long-term ROI will come from higher business flexibility and scalability—on top of a superior customer experience.

Leveraging chatbots

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) technologies, chatbots help B2B companies deliver smoother digital buying experiences. These bots—acting as a virtual front-desk receptionist—help users move through the customer journey, answering basic product questions, directing them to certain pages, providing order status updates, and so on. They also help customers connect with real sales or customer service reps when necessary.

Unlike human employees, chatbots are available 24/7 to assist customers, resulting in a faster and easier buying experience for all parties involved. Research shows that 40% of millennials interact with chatbots daily, and implementing this technology can increase your average sales by 67%.

Key B2B sales enablement solutions

Bringing the B2B sales process online—then continuously optimizing it based on new market trends and customer expectations—requires the integration of advanced tools and processes. To ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction and internal efficiency, these tools must be integrated seamlessly into your business’ current technological ecosystem, from its eCommerce platform, to its ERP, to its warehouse management system, and so on.

These four key B2B sales enablement solutions help streamline the following tasks:

  • Order management solutions: Establishing shipping rules, managing returns, processing payments, tracking inventory and orders, and sending status updates to customers.
  • Experience management solutions: Updating UX and UI designs, building landing pages, creating and sharing content, performing usability tests, and managing digital assets.
  • Commerce management solutions: Designing shopping cart and checkout pages, establishing price rules, adding promotions and coupons, facilitating customer accounts, creating sales quotes, configuring products, and displaying product recommendations.
  • Product information management (PIM) solutions: Establishing product taxonomy, updating product details and attributes across channels, collecting and visualizing product data, and maintaining product governance.

Get started with B2B sales enablement for your business

When your brand is ready to enable B2B sales on its eCommerce website, or digitally transform the buyer experience from top to bottom, you’ll need a technology partner that can provide the necessary tools, resources, and expertise. And that’s where Codal comes in.

We’re a UX design and development agency that specializes in B2B eCommerce. Our award-winning team has built, tested, launched, and managed B2B sales portals and other custom solutions for organizations across all industries—helping them to improve customer engagement, increase sales, and maintain a competitive advantage in their niche.

In our thirteen years of experience, we’ve worked with many different technologies and formed partnerships with leading solutions providers like Shopify and BigCommerce. These partnerships allow us to stay on the cutting edge of new digital trends and technologies, and ultimately provide the highest ROI possible for our clients.

Interested in learning more about how Codal can help implement B2B sales enablement tools and create a superior customer experience for your business? Get in touch with a member of our team today!

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