So, you’re considering implementing a B2B eCommerce site. It can be intimidating for sure and there are a lot of moving parts, but if you plan the project well it can be a straightforward process. While the project may not be a piece of cake, we’ve found that breaking it down into a few crucial ingredients is a great way to whip up a successful B2B eCommerce site. Here is the next installment of our 13 ingredients for B2B eCommerce success. (Be sure to check out Part One and Part Two as well.)
Assign Team Roles
Remember when we talked about this project’s head chef? Well, the sous chefs are an integral part of that kitchen’s success. You can’t have everyone cracking eggs and no one sifting dry ingredients; team roles need to be clearly assigned.
A B2B eCommerce project is a team effort that affects every department in your organization. It’s certainly a collaborative project and will require clear definition of roles so that everyone involved can contribute effectively. It’s important to clearly define the roles of your sales, marketing, and operations staff, and your external partners, particularly when it comes to when their contributions will be needed the most.
First things first with the sales team: you need to remind them that eCommerce is an asset, not a competitor. We’ve found that it’s not uncommon for your established sales staff to feel threatened by the new eCommerce system; as if it is a replacement for their hard work instead of a valuable tool. Be sure to engage the sales team, get their input, and define the benefits of the new system.
Once the sales team is on board, they will be helpful during the implementation by weighing in on merchandising capabilities and user experience. After all, these people are on the front lines with your customers and know best what customers are looking for. Use that knowledge and experience to build a successful site.
Once the site has been implemented, the sales team will have a large role in the operations of the live site. A fully integrated B2B eCommerce site brings with it several new tools and strategies that can improve the lives of the sales team. Essentially, the eCommerce system can be leveraged as the Sales Force Automation (SFA) tool, making the sales team’s job easier and allowing them to dedicate time to more complex and valuable efforts.
While the marketing team won’t be overly involved during the implementation, their preparation for using the new site should start before the site goes live. B2B eCommerce marketing has evolved to be more like B2C marketing, which can be a transition for those who have been in the B2B sphere for most of their career.
The marketing team will require training in B2C marketing techniques and how to apply tools like SEO, SEM, targeted ads, email marketing, and B2B outbound/inbound marketing strategies. Getting new customers to your site will be the main focus of the marketing team once your new B2B eCommerce site is live, so the sooner they can start preparing, the better.
The operations team will take an opposite involvement in the project to marketing in that they’ll be heavily involved in the implementation but should (hopefully) level off once the site goes live. This team is crucial to making sure that order management is under control. Order processing, including pick, pack, and ship, is important to figure out early on to ensure that your new eCommerce system can work as well as possible. And, by figuring those details out during implementation, the processes should be set up to run effortlessly once the entire system is live.
It may seem overwhelming to bring in third party teams, but the truth is that no eCommerce system will solve all of your issues and you might need to consult another source. When it comes to external teams it is tempting to go to one place for everything, when in reality you need to go to the right place for everything, even if that means multiple external teams.
Most partners, like most platforms, don’t do all things well, but they will do a few things excellently. Work with those who do their job well. How can you tell? Ask for examples. Whether that’s case studies or client testimonials, they should be able to prove that they know what they’re doing. If there are applicable certifications that they should have, make sure they have earned those as well.
There's more to come! Stay tuned for part four.