Companies are eager to make their mark as the economy chugs back after the pandemic. B2B companies that sell products and services need to be careful about their productivity. Leaders must ensure that they keep their production levels high and their inefficiencies low throughout the entire sales cycle.
Of course, running an efficient B2B commerce operation doesn’t happen without consideration and planning. This is where productivity best practices are important.
B2B Commerce Productivity Tips for Streamlining Selling Systems
Here are some strategies B2B commerce companies can use to improve their B2B sales processes. These strategies, when combined, can help businesses move forward with minimal effort, time, money, and other resources.
1. Remove payment friction points
It is important to get paid quickly, but many companies suffer from poor payment workflows.
A company might send monthly invoices that have net-30 terms to its clients. The client would then cut the check and the business would need to wait until the check is cleared. This problem can’t be solved by offering online payments. It can take several days for credit card deposits to be resolved. They can also be subject to high fees.
Accepting automated clearing house payments (ACH) is an alternative to this slow payment flow. ACH payments transfer funds between bank accounts and are generally less expensive from a fee standpoint. FIS’s RealNet is another option. This cloud-based payment system settles funds in real-time between entities. RealNet makes use of existing payment rails across the globe to speed up secure transactions.
The bottom line: Businesses can scale more easily if it’s easier to exchange goods or services. It doesn’t matter what.
2. Normalize the idea of on-demand manufacturing
It is possible to increase productivity by reducing the amount of inventory that must be collected, maintained, and stored. This can be done with on-demand manufacturing.
Although it may sound futuristic, the idea of being able to create anything on demand is not new. Gooten is producing large-scale orders in a matter of days.
Although it may not be possible for all B2B companies to offer clients on-demand options, others can. They will see the advantages that come with having less inventory. AI-driven software can be used to predict when raw materials will be needed in order to fulfill orders.
Stories have been telling for years that excess inventory can cause companies to collapse. There are many stories about companies that have large inventories and ended up in bankruptcy. Businesses can increase their competitiveness and still offer world-class products by exploring on-demand alternatives.
3. Offer self-service to your clients
B2B commerce clients might prefer a 24/7 system that allows them to solve their own problems in an age when people are used to solving their own problems.
AI chatbots are a great example of self-service. Chatbots can be programmed with the ability to retrieve information based on customer questions. The information is then available to help customers make informed decisions about their next steps Chatbots can be so natural and intuitive that customers don’t realize they are not talking to a human representative from the company.
It is easy to see how self-service can increase the productivity of your B2B clients. Support agents will have more time to deal with complicated cases, which is a great way to save time. Customers won’t need to wait for hours to receive help.
4. Explore methods to reduce employee churn
In B2B commerce businesses, worker turnover is a major source of waste. Organizations with a “revolving door” cannot scale. They are constantly replacing people who have left, so they spin their wheels.
Corporate productivity does not just suffer when an employee says goodbye, but also because they leave behind legacy knowledge. The lower morale of the remaining employees can also cause it to the tank. Many times, the job is taken over by everyone else when one person leaves. This can result in unsatisfied, overworked, and exhausted team members who are unable to do their best.
Reducing turnover usually starts by improving overall engagement levels. Employees are more likely to be engaged if they feel valued and wanted to stay. Engaging employees isn’t an easy task. This involves making sure employees understand their role within the organization and feel appreciated for their efforts.
There are several ways to increase the employee-employer connection. These include offering regular upskilling and tools upgrades, as well as generous compensation. Offering remote or hybrid work is a great way to retain and attract top talent.
5. Trim age-old buying cycles
B2B commerce companies are familiar with their average buying cycles. A manufacturer of business equipment might expect a 100-day buying period based on historical data. The manufacturer then plans according to the cycle.
What would happen if the manufacturer tightened the buying cycle by 10% The cycle would take place over 90 days instead of 100. You can easily imagine how much better the business’ finances would be if they had shorter sales cycles. Sellers would also be able to increase productivity by recording more conversions per year.
It takes effort and time to give a buying cycle a haircut. The traditional buying cycle can be mapped out by company leaders. They can then look for ways to cut down on the time or reduce the number of days. One solution could be to partner with new vendors, or to reduce the time required for sales reps to meet prospects.
6. Rethink sluggish shipping methods
Many B2B commerce businesses rely on multiple shipping methods to ship their products. Shipping orders to other countries or zones may be costly. Shipping can still be a source of productivity gains.
A B2B seller might want to examine repeat orders in order to determine if shipping costs could be reduced without causing problems for the customer. Any combination of switching transport types and carriers can streamline an inefficient system.
It is important to remember that adaptability is key here. Amazon and fulfillment giants like Amazon are helping B2B customers to get what they need quickly. They will expect flexibility in B2B transactions.
7. Allow existing clients to re-order online
A client usually speaks with a sales representative to re-order in B2B commerce. This can slow down the process. Although representatives may want to keep in touch with customers from time to time, they don’t have to place any new orders by hand. This can be done online via a reliable portal.
Clients placing orders online is not only productive, but it’s also more efficient. It is also convenient for all involved. Ordering doesn’t require special steps from the client’s side. The client can place an order at any time, without needing to speak with a B2B sales representative. A B2B sales representative can keep in touch with clients without making unnecessary calls.
It’s important to remember that touchpoints between buyers and sellers are crucial, especially in the B2B arena. They are not always required. Online ordering is easier for clients and makes it quicker to reorder.
Companies involved in B2B commerce can reap many benefits from increased productivity. A few small adjustments can make the difference between scaling or plateauing in the next quarter.