One of the keys to creating a great B2B eCommerce experience is ensuring that you build a seamless Admin environment that improves company (and customer) efficiency.

We would recommend that you review your IT environment and consider whether it is operating optimally. – The more integrated it is (all paper processes should be replaced) not only will your administration be more efficient, it will also facilitate “smart” and home working.

The more that you can integrate the following components into an integrated platform the better:

Some of the above need no further explanation. However, others could benefit from a more detailed description, which are provided below.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Your CRM might be the single most important tool when it comes to proper customer journey mapping. A traditional CRM is built on the outdated idea that the relationship with a lead begins and ends with the salesperson. Complete CRM, in contrast, takes a broader view. Your CRM should act as the foundation for all other business efforts, including sales, marketing, customer service, and other operational efforts like event management, invoicing, etc.

An effective CRM system has three goals:

  1. To organize and share customer information.
  2. To measure and report across the company to support sales and marketing insights.
  3. To assist in communication and collaboration between customers and employees.

This process breaks down into a number of key points:

  • Automation: Instead of communicating with groups of leads on a manual basis, marketing automation enables fully automated email marketing and social media campaigns.
  • Nurture: By automating lead nurturing you are able to develop leads that are not ready for a sales discussion.
  • Prioritisation: By making available the full activity of the individual as well as the social media history, sales people can learn more about their prospects before they actually make the sales call.
  • Alerts: The timing of sales calls can be much more appropriate e.g. if a sales person receives an alert that the lead is currently viewing the website or clicked on an action call, then the sales person can reach the lead at the right time.
  • Consolidation: Increase the quality of the CRM data, such as appending duplicates and identifying merging of records. A marketing automation system will assist you in importing the information and holding data from multiple systems.
  • Prediction: Automation integration with the CRM system provides data to help manage the revenue cycle based on metrics. Metrics make revenue more predictable and indicate contributions to the company’s bottom line.

A Complete CRM collects, houses, and organises your data into one single platform. This allows the whole team to have an up-to-date 360-view of the customer at all times. CRMs simplify and centralise internal process, build confidence, and enable teams to do their jobs better. You should expect:

  • Revenue increases per sales person.
  • Decreased sales cycles.
  • Lead conversion rate improvements.
  • Customer retention improvements.
  • Decreased sales and marketing costs.
  • Improved profit margins.

For a list of CRM platforms, see The Exporters Almanac CRMs. No matter what solution you choose, it should have, at a minimum, built-in marketing automation, project management, a mobile app and business intelligence.

ERP Systems

Enterprise Resource Planning ("ERP") is the integrated management of main business processes, often in real time and mediated by software and technology.

N.B. If you do not have the technical expertise in-house to assess and/or integrate these systems then you should look to either hire this expertise and/or use the services of a systems integration company. (See: Training & Recruitment.)