Yesterday, we posted a blog on the best practices when adding e-commerce in solution based selling. Today, we'll share the last of our best practice tips.
Best Practice #5: Align your solution to market dynamics. Larger market forces often drive shifts for your customers. Tracking trends in your industry and paying close attention to what buyers most often request can help you target solutions to hit the sweet spot between desire and demand. For example, the realization that their customers were increasingly adopting e-procurement platforms was a key driver in MarkMaster’s transformed sales approach, and the changing nature of content distribution and consumption led cSubs to adopt customized e-commerce-based delivery.
Best Practice #6: Emphasize your solution-based e-commerce capabilities as a differentiator during the bidding process. Though the overwhelming majority of buying organizations cite e-commerce use as a high priority, the percentage of sellers able to provide the capabilities they want lags far behind the demand. For example, a recent study of buyers with annual procurement budgets of 100,000+ USD showed that 71 percent would spend more online if it was easier or more convenient to purchase from supplier websites. The same percentage said that when choosing between suppliers who carry the same product at the same cost, they would buy from the one with easier electronic search and purchasing processes, regardless of loyalty to a current supplier.[iv] Findings like these indicate the clear advantage e-savvy sellers have over their Luddite competitors. Be sure to highlight your e-commerce experience and skills whenever you bid on potential new business, even if this isn’t a stated requirement.
Best Practice #7: Measure your results. Whether it’s customer acquisition, business retention, growth and market share, deal closure rates, or other goals pertinent to your company and market, determine the metrics that matter to you and measure performance to be sure your new approach delivers the results you want. This information will also help you target areas for improvement and make it easier to track your progress over time.
[i] “Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide The Buyer’s Journey,” Lori Wizdo, Principal Analyst Serving Sales Enablement Professionals, Forrester Research, October 2012.
[ii] Train, Coach, Reinforce: Best Practices in Maximizing Sales Productivity, Aberdeen Group, October 2012.
[iii] Sales Performance Optimization 2013: Aligning the Right People, Processes, and Tools, Aberdeen Group, February 2013.
[iv] 2013 State of B2B Procurement Study, Acquity Group, May 2013
This article is part of the current issue of Ariba Supply Lines. Ariba Supply Lines is a quarterly newsletter that provides valuable tips, best practices, and the latest thinking to take your online business relationships with your buying customers to the next level.
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