You constantly need to be thinking about your business’s future, so you’ve done the clever thing and invested in sales order software. But is that the end of the story? What will happen as things change, in the B2B industry, technology and of course in your own business? Is your sales order software built to face the challenges ahead?
How are things changing?
Here at Pepperi, we are seeing three main trends…
- B2B customer demands are changing. The new millennial customer wants their buying process to be fast, simple, easy, like the seamless buying experience of the B2C world.
- The role of your sales reps is evolving. As customers are becoming more accustomed to self-service buying, your sale reps are freed from a lot of administrative tasks giving them time to be more strategic and perform other high-value activities.
- There is far more data to manage. As sales processes move online, it’s possible to gather far more customer data than ever before. You will need advanced reporting tools and analytics to understand and get to know your customers and use the information to increase revenue.
What does your sales order software need to keep up?
So, bearing in mind these three major trends, what should you be looking for?
There’s no escaping omnichannel, not just in the B2C world, but in the B2B one too. Your sales platform must be able to work across all channels, phone, email, in person and eCommerce.
Even with the advance of online sales, field sales reps remain an important part of the picture. So, if you want your company to keep up, your sales solution must give them the tools to sell anytime and anywhere on a mobile device.
Even with the great advances of internet connectivity there are still times when the internet is not available. Your sales teams still need to be able to take mobile orders even offline!
What does this mean in practice? Your order-taking software must be a mobile app that can be opened on a mobile device and not be reliant upon internet connectivity. The orders can be taken on the device and then synced and processed when the device is back online.
These days sales order software is so much more than just taking orders. Sales reps and customers need real-time access to all their data, so they can view, search, and edit existing orders, view important relationship information, payment history and more.
The availability of an advanced, professional e-Catalog makes online ordering simple, quick, intuitive and user-friendly. Both your customers and reps will benefit from this improved order taking experience.
You hope and plan for your business to grow so you need to ensure that your investment in a sales platform pays off in both the short term and long term. You don’t want to spend time and money on a platform that cannot grow with your business. The platform you choose must be able to accommodate an ever-growing database of items, customers and of course orders. It must also be flexible enough that changing company processes can be replicated in the software so make sure the software gives you the ability to update based user-friendly workflows and rule engines.
Integration with your existing business systems
You can provide your customers with an elevated buying experience by integrating your order-taking software with your ERP to provide inventory and shipping information. Integration also improves you with efficiency and cost-effectiveness by having one point of sales order entry and one system to manage the whole process from order to delivery, which brings us on to the final point…
One of the most recent trends in B2B sales is to no longer have separate field staff for order taking, merchandising and direct store delivery but to have a ‘super’ field person that can fulfill all those functions. In the same way it makes sense to provide one platform that can support the same functions and not have separate software for each.
If your software is part of a one solution platform like this then you’re already ahead of the game.