Let's continue the conversation with Ariba’s strategy specialist on turning your eCommerce experience into a highly optimized sales channel. Please use this discussion to share your thoughts, technical and business-strategy questions on eCommerce challenges, metrics, tips, best-practice strategies and whatever else you can dream up!
Here is a first portion of the chat transcript:
Leah Knight: First, I wanted to start by setting the stage around what we mean by “turning eCommerce into a sales channel”. We all are familiar with shopping carts and web sites like Amazon.com that are designed to make purchasing simple. But often, we see that B2Bi and eCommerce managers bring the technology to their organizations, but struggle to get sales to use it effectively or see it as a way to generate new customer deals.
Leah Knight: That is what we want to discuss. The idea of getting your current B2B eCommerce solution, to deliver B2C-like sales growth.
Leah Knight: As you think about some of your questions, I would like to ask both Kevin and Robert to go ahead and post some of their initial thoughts. Then we can continue with the agenda and some dialog.
Kevin Govin: Thanks Leah. It’s seems funny now, but one of our customers actually pushed us to start communicating electronically with them. She said it would replace our fax machine—which at the time seemed almost unbelievable. Since then, we have embraced eCommerce and it is our primary channel for generating new sales.
Robert Calvert, HP: Thanks. At HP, about 25% of all of our direct orders in the US come through what I call the B2Bi program. Clearly we have more than one storefront, but from a customer-based perspective our focus is predominantly our large corporate enterprise customers and select public sector clients. That’s well over 100 customers and pretty sizable revenue coming through our eCommerce channel.
Comment From Natasha: How can I get sales to use our eCommerce tools to increase revenue?
Kevin Govin: One of the best stories that I can think of is how we worked with a customer and they were so excited about the fact that we were so versed in eProcurement that they wrote a contract and forgot to ask price until the last thing.
Robert Calvert, HP: Sales is used to their traditional sales motion. Many times they don't think about Ariba or eBusiness as a component of that sales. We struggle here too. The key is the benefit to reduced quoting time by making customers be self service.
Leah Knight: Interesting - it sounds like from Kevin's comments that sales adopted after they saw initial success
Comment From Elle: I am in purchasing, how can I convince my VP of sales to think about our new PunchOut solution for inputting orders?
Latané: Think about punchout as a brand new sales channel that is an way to get incremental business not to convert revenue from another channel. its addiative
Comment From Kevin Turner: Rob@HP, Kevin Turner from Dell...hope to see you at an upcoming summit, question...how do you convince your sales teams that driving sales online and "out of their control" is a benefit? We struggle here as well.
Robert Calvert, HP: With a self service model you loose potential of upselling. Unless you incorporate the collateral sales into the store. We continue to work with sales. It improves incrementally over time
Robert Calvert, HP: @ Kevin, The Sales Team must view it as another Route to market
Comment From James: How are the skills needed in your traditional sales channel different than the skills needed for an e-commerce channel?
Kevin Govin: James. Much more consultative and less product oriented. You need to make sure your sales team can work as a trusted advisor as well as a product expert