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B2B eCommerce Success Depends on Effective Planning & Implementation

Well-designed B2B online commerce creates more sales opportunities via new channels and audiences. To make the most of these opportunities your digital integration planning should consider these core areas:

  • Mapping Existing Operations: Your existing marketing, sales, and delivery operations should be carefully integrated with new technologies and associated processes. This integration will require a thoughtful mapping from your existing operations to the future state.

  • Integrating Systems: B2B integrations vary from business to business, but typically include connecting systems that depend on product, customer, and transactional data. Thoughtful integrations can reduce manual and duplicative efforts while improving accuracy and timely availability of data.

  • Diversifying Channels: With properly designed data architecture, accurate and consistent product data will be available to multiple systems and channels including brick and mortar locations, eCommerce websites, marketplaces, retail partners, distributors and more.

  • Centralizing Data: With more integrated systems, businesses are able to use each tool for its own best function. These tools become the single source of truth for their slice of the data pie and are integrated into the larger whole for improved efficiency, consistency, and accuracy of data.

  • Personalizing Marketing & Sales: Marketing and sales teams will have greater access to real-time engagement data paired with historical searching and purchasing behavior. This data will offer opportunities for automated personalization in both marketing messaging and product presentation.

  • Improving Customer Access: B2B digital integration, allows you to create a digital ecosystem with greater access for your customers to view order history, request quotes, and process transactions.

B2B Digital Integration Challenges

The effort to move a B2B business into the online space is often referred to as digital transformation. In our experience, it is rare for a business to be transformed using digital technologies. We prefer the term digital integration which highlights the importance of integrating existing systems, teams, and operations with new technologies. While each B2B business is different in its existing operations and in the technology selected for future growth, there are several common challenges to be overcome:

  • Team Buy-In of the Digital Vision: At the end of the day, technology is only as good as the teams that adopt it. Team buy-in involves early project involvement, participation in new workflow development, and ongoing training. The more buy-in, the greater the chances of concrete value being delivered from your digital integration efforts and less chance of making common mistakes.

  • Sales Alignment: Traditional sales teams are notoriously anxious about change. New technologies may in theory benefit the sales operation, but if sales targets, commissions, and workflows are not carefully aligned with your sales team expectations, the clash can create chaos. Building on the buy-in idea above, technology should be viewed as a sales enablement tool - helping support your existing teams and infrastructure to build efficiency, effectiveness, and possibly even job satisfaction!

  • Pricing: B2B pricing demands flexibility. For example, sales teams may need to build up custom quotes for clients based on approved client pricing or even on-the-fly discounts. Translating this flexibility into your online systems can be a challenge, but an effective implementation can allow for more efficient quote creation and faster client approval and payment than previously possible with manual, offline processes.

  • Inventory Availability: Digital integration of disparate systems can immediately improve access to accurate inventory data. This inventory data is critical for sales teams to sell more of what they have while setting expectations for future availability of what they don't. Access to this information reduces frustration for both buyers and sellers and likely reduces support calls and queries.

  • Shipping & Logistics: For businesses selling physical goods requiring transport to the customer, a comprehensive shipping and logistics solution is a necessity. This solution must provide accurate estimates for specific orders so that quotes and transactions accurately reflect will support both buyers and sellers buying process as well as the internal logistics operations. B2B logistics can get complicated with multiple inventory locations resulting in multi-package shipments, or larger deliveries requiring freight management. The right digital solutions are adept at giving customers accurate transport information while also providing efficient tools for internal teams to delivery the goods as promised.

  • Payment Options: B2B commerce may or may not include credit card payments. Some B2B sites may not offer any online transactions, and rely on quote processing instead. Often, a B2B business interested in processing sales online will want to offer a variety of options including ACH, wire transfers, and payments on terms. More comprehensive solutions will incorporate outstanding balance, partial payments and credit review processing. There are various quote and online payment solutions available to fulfill each of these needs, and your preferred approach will need to find the sweet spot balancing your business needs and your customers' expectations while delivering an efficient process that presents no barriers to order processing.

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Empowering B2B Sales Enablement

Sales enablement constitutes the strategic provision of resources and tools to empower sales teams, propelling them towards success. Some areas of focus should include:

  • Real-time Product Insights: Furnishing sales teams with access to current product information equips them with accurate knowledge to address client inquiries effectively.

  • Advanced Training: Empowering sales teams through comprehensive training on sales tools and technologies enhances their proficiency in utilizing these resources optimally.

  • Holistic Customer Insights: By providing sales teams access to robust customer data, sales enablement enhances the personalization of interactions, nurturing lasting client relationships.

  • Interdepartmental Support: Sales enablement facilitates collaboration between sales and other business segments, harnessing a collective effort to meet customer needs effectively.

B2B Sales Enablement Results

The use of digital commerce technologies enhanced with thoughtful connections to existing systems, yields concrete results including: 

  • Greater Sales Insights: With real-time customer data across all touch points, your sales team can make more personalized selling approaches delivering higher conversion rates and faster sales cycles.

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Customers benefit from multiple ways of buying. Whether they prefer a traditional sales outreach or an online quick order form on their personalized portal, customers will be more comfortable purchasing from you more regularly.

  • Improved Efficiency and Productivity: By leveraging digital tools and systems, B2B entities optimize their workflow, expediting processes, and enhancing overall efficiency.

  • Sharpening your Competitive Edge: Embracing digital integration brings a B2B businesses into a competitive space with industry leaders rather than industry laggards.

  • Deliver Unparalleled Customer Experiences: The integration of digital technologies fosters enhanced customer interactions, translating to superior accessibility, experiences, and strengthened client relationships.

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Looking for B2B Digital Commerce Expertise?

IronPlane Designs and Develops for B2B

Whether working with Magento Open Source, Adobe Commerce Cloud, or BigCommerce, IronPlane has the experience of designing and building B2B websites for our clients including the custom features and functionalities at the root of their digital transformations.

Our B2B services include:

  • Digital Integration Planning
  • Systems Integrations
  • Complex Product Merchandizing Design
  • Personalized Client Portals
  • Tech Stack Consulting and Architecture Design
  • Marketplace Optimization
  • Quote/PO and Custom Payment Functionality
  • Multi-site Development for Internationalization

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Bespoke B2B Digital transformation

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IronPlane Delivers a Phased Approach

Our primary focus with a new B2B client is understanding their existing business model, including their marketing strategies, sales channels, product offerings, and internal operations. This understanding informs our custom-designed approach to their digital integration project. 

In most cases, a phased digital integration allows for less disruption, better cost management, stronger team buy-in, and more lasting results over time. 

  • Phase I: A deep-dive discovery of your business needs, your existing technology stack, your products, your customers, and your future plans. The result is a bespoke design covering critical aspects of your B2B business in the online space.

  • Phase II: Design and implement integrations to improve accurate data sharing across systems. Improve product data throughout the eCommerce platform including visuals, technical specifications, and product manuals as needed.

  • Phase III: Implement functional components to support B2B operations including personalized customer portals, quote and purchase capabilities, customer service tools, and marketing integrations.

  • Phase IV: Team onboarding and training with a focus on driving adoption by both your internal teams as well as your customers. 

 

“IronPlane’s team found multiple smart shortcuts in what could’ve been a lengthy, painful migration process. I respect how they operate with integrity, an open mind, and a can-do attitude.”

Marketing Leader / Tacony

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B2B Case Studies

Don't just take our word for it — our development experience speaks for itself.
Take a look at these case studies to see what working with us is really like — and the results it can bring you.

Gat Creek

Gat Creek wanted to create an online product catalog that could convey the personalization that goes into their furniture and make it easy for customers to place an order. We helped them set up a hybrid B2B/B2C Magento site that resulted in a 25% increase in revenue along with a 23% increase in conversion rate.

Read the full Gat Creek case study to learn more.

IronPlane-Gat Creek Media Cabinet

 

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Omni International

Omni International, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of laboratory homogenizers, consumables, and accessories that had a site running on Magento 1 — and they partnered with us to migrate their store to Magento 2. When we did, they saw a nearly 108% increase in revenue and 67% increase in number of transactions.

Take a look at the full Omni International case study to see what made the difference.

ControlTek

ControlTek was using two different sites to manage their eCommerce orders: WordPress, and the other was Magento. To help them streamline, we merged both sites into one Magento store that resulted in a more secure, personalized, intuitive, and scalable website.

You can read the complete ControlTek case study to learn how we did it.

IronPlane-ControlTek Vault

 

Empower Your eCommerce Growth With Magento Development Services

Ironplane is a leading provider of Magento, Adobe Commerce, and BigCommerce development services. No matter what your needs are, our experts can help — get in touch with us to learn how.