Recent advancements in mobile technology have given brand manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers opportunities to sell, market and connect with customers and prospects more efficiently and effectively than ever before.
Where tools like carefully-crafted, mobile-friendly websites, ERP and accounting systems, and social media marketing were once considered a competitive advantage, they are now the linchpins that hold an entire business together. B2B companies are quickly recognizing the necessity of another cornerstone that can change the way they do business: B2B software solutions.
What is B2B software used for?
As a manufacturer or wholesaler, if your customers are independent retail stores, retail chains, c-stores or distributors, you are selling business-to-business (B2B). Sales, marketing, accounting, and support software all help you serve your business customers in the best possible way - and that’s exactly what the term “B2B software” refers to.
B2B software solutions include CRM, order taking, merchandising software , B2B e-commerce platform, special “members only” portals, and customer service applications. Depending on specific business needs, B2B software solutions can unify your CRM, customer data, inventory, ordering, and payments in a single platform. And thanks to rapidly advancing mobile technology, vendors of B2B platforms are now making it as easy to work on-the-go as sitting in an office, with no loss of functionality.
B2B Sales Software and the Customer Experience
There’s no question that B2B solutions are a vital tool for optimizing your business operations, but what value do they provide your customers?
According to a recent key account survey from McKinsey and Company, larger companies value service, support, and the overall sales experience more so than price, even without explicitly realizing it. With that in mind, you can utilize B2B technology to fit their expectations of a seamless experience:
- Allow for self-servicing. Nuance Research shows 2 out of 3 people would rather find ways to help themselves rather than talk to a representative. It’s quicker and more convenient, plus it reduces the workload of your reps. B2B solutions can automate ordering, manage inventory, provide a knowledge base, and offer other features that can save them valuable man hours and make you appear more favorable. And while cutting off opportunities to strengthen the human connection might sound like a bad idea, remember to think like a customer and deliver the experience they want. You’ll be glad you did.
- Increase Sales Reps’ Mobility. The sales industry continues to shift its emphasis on mobility, and B2B solutions are transforming with it. In today’s mobile-driven environment, there’s no reason traveling sales reps shouldn’t be able to access all the information they need from a smartphone or tablet. Place orders immediately, seize upsell opportunities, check inventory levels, send emails, look up customer information – it can all be integrated into one easy-to-use mobile order taking software. When you arm your reps with the same in-office arsenal of sales tools out in the field, they can serve their customers in the moment without the fear of missed opportunities.
Selling in a B2B environment presents its own set of unique challenges that are typically avoided when dealing with casual consumers. Sales reps face longer sales cycles, and must fuel the interests of multiple decision makers, spark the right solutions to fit their needs, and continue to tend to the relationships long after making the initial sale. B2B solutions facilitate the entire sales process to maintain healthy ongoing relationships, promoting longer customer lifetime.
B2B Commerce Software’s Role in Your Company
What is B2B software worth to your company? That depends on how long you plan to stay in business, and how customer-centric your goals are.
Aside from the direct benefits to your customers, consider how leveraging the right B2B solutions can stifle your competition. Technology has made it easier than ever for competitors to enter new markets, and you can bet they’re capitalizing on opportunities made possible by software advancements. New and better ways to serve your customers help you remain on the edge of innovation, rather than becoming a “look-alike” player. If you don’t protect your territory – or at least stay on par with competitors – their rapid growth could signal your slow decline.
As a business selling to other businesses, you understand the needs, desires, and challenges a growing company encounters. B2B software platforms help you address these pain points whilst enabling you to take advantage of opportunities that differentiate and provide you with a competitive edge. And that’s the mission B2B software accomplishes.
Related reading - 6 Tips for a Successful B2B Sales Strategy.