The words ‘wholesale eCommerce platform’ may well have struck fear into the hearts of B2B sales reps a few years ago. Thanks to the article ‘The Death of a Salesman’, published by Forrester, stating that ‘1,000,000 US B2B salespeople would lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020’, many sales reps were dreading the future.
But the future hasn’t proven to be quite so scary after all. Change is inevitable, and the real question is whether you view B2B eCommerce as good or bad news. The challenge is understanding how the change affects your business and your sales reps. By converting your sales reps in to ‘consultants’ rather than manual ‘order takers’, there is a new opportunity.
So, how can you motivate your sales reps and encourage them to promote your wholesale eCommerce platform?
The role of sales reps is changing
Reassure your sales reps that their job is not disappearing, just changing. According to the above Forrester report 91% of B2B buyers still want to talk to a sales rep for negotiating a price and 80% want to talk to someone when it is a complex purchase, so they will remain a valuable resource.
Sales reps are either order takers, explainers, navigators, or consultants. The greatest job losses will be seen amongst the first 3 types. But those that turn their role into a consulting one will be in the most demand. The new consultant sales rep will need to be capable of relationship building, solution selling, a product expert and a problem solver.
Empower them to make the most of this new situation
Provide the reps with full access to their customer’s entire order history, not just the orders that were made through them. Being able to see their customers’ online order history will help them to offer their customers better deals – and better advice.
If your reps are going to be consulting more, give them the tools for that: product-related videos, presentations and PDFs will help them train ad engage the customers, resulting in increased order size and sales.
Commission, commission, commission
Some companies may decide not to pay their sales reps commission on orders made using the eCommerce platform. In that case, it’s highly likely that your sales team will view it as competition and won’t encourage their customers to use it.
It makes sense to pay your team commission however the sale is made, or wherever it originates, either offline or online, to ensure they embrace the new platform and drive your customers to utilize it.
It will save them time
Many of the sales reps we encounter tell us that one of the downsides of their job is the amount of manual data inputting. They want to be out on the road selling, not sitting in a hotel room late at night, filling in order sheets.
Your wholesale eCommerce platform can help them change that by minimizing the time spent doing order-entry and maximizing their time building relationships and promoting your company.
Digital sales tools can help sales reps quote faster, provide full purchase history, view real-time inventory levels and more, saving them countless hours. These tools allow the customer to self-serve basic things giving sales reps more time to focus on the more nuanced consultancy parts of selling.
Use the above points to convince your sales reps that B2B eCommerce is no threat to their job. It will change their role for the better and help them take more sales and increase your revenue