How a Powerful ERP System Will Help You Digitize and Hit Your B2B Sales Targets During COVID-19

John WaldronArticle, Blog

How a Powerful ERP System Will Help You Digitize and Hit Your B2B Sales Targets During COVID-19

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Supply chain disruptions, work from home orders, customer behaviour changes, in-person meetings cancelled, and more — COVID-19 has affected both the buying and selling processes in big ways, leaving many sales teams across the globe struggling to reach their revenue and sales quotas. In fact, according to data from Contemsa, almost three-quarters of B2B salespeople (73.9%) say their sales opportunities have decreased since the beginning of the crisis, and nearly two-thirds (65.2%) have reported losing deals due to the outbreak.

B2B Sales Coronavirus Statistics Infographic Lost sales opportunities - Contemsa

B2B Sales Coronavirus Statistics Infographic —Source:

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus has forced a rapid transition to digital sales processes — processes that a powerful and modern ERP system like metasfresh is designed to facilitate and support — and savvy B2B sales organisations are learning to adapt.

Indeed, a new digital normal has emerged — and research suggests that the big digital shift is here to stay. According to April 2020 figures from McKinsey, the importance of digital channels for B2B companies rapidly increased in response to the COVID-19 crisis, with sales leaders rating digital channels approximately twice as important as they were pre-pandemic.

Digital interactions are twice as important - McKinsey

The shift to digital —Source:

Fast-forward to October, and the data reveals that both B2B buyers and sellers now prefer the new digital reality. In fact, more than three-quarters of buyers and sellers say they now favour digitally-enabled self-service and remote engagement over face-to-face interactions — a sentiment that has only intensified after lockdown restrictions have ended.

Current way of interacting with suppliers' sales reps during different stages - McKinsey

Both B2B buyers and sellers prefer the new digital reality —Source:

The shift to digital has made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders, and arrange service, McKinsey explains — and customers have enjoyed that speed and convenience. “B2B sales leaders have moved from being ‘forced’ to adopt digital in reaction to the widespread shutdowns in the early stages of COVID-19 to a growing conviction that digital is the way to go,” the report says.

The reason is that online and remote selling has proved just as effective — if not even more so — than in-person engagement. And this holds true whether selling to existing customers or new ones.

Effectiveness of new sales model in reaching and serving customers - McKinsey

Remote is working for prospecting too —Source:

Digitisation Is Here to Stay

The dramatic shift to digital presents huge opportunities for B2B sales organizations to lower their costs, extend their reach, improve sales effectiveness, delight their customers (who are increasingly demanding these new ways of interacting), and keep revenues and quotas on track — even while salespeople continue to work from home. As such, nearly nine in ten decision-makers (89%) intend to keep their new commercial and go-to-market sales practices through 2021 and beyond.

Likelihood of sustaining new go-to-market models for 12+ months - McKinsey

The future is digital – and optimistic —Source:

For many organisations, this will represent a huge shift in the way B2B sales processes are conducted — but the shift must take place. Indeed, businesses without online or digital selling capabilities are left badly exposed — and the race is on. The need for digital transformation has never been more urgent to meet customer demand in order to survive.

A modern ERP system like metasfresh can be extended to B2B sales channels with integrated ecommerce, allowing organisations to sell their products online through web stores and customer portals with smart sales automation driven by ERP data.

Here’s how a powerful ERP system will help your organisation reach its sales targets during COVID-19 and beyond.

Equip Your Sales Reps to Sell, Cross-Sell and Upsell from Home

First and foremost, in order to hit sales targets during COVID-19, your sales reps need to be equipped with the right data and the right tools to win at B2B sales while working from home. This means they need immediate access to all relevant customer and inventory data so they can identify cross-selling and upselling opportunities, and a mobile-ready ordering portal so they can place orders on behalf of customers from any device.

A powerful cloud-based ERP system like metasfresh functions as the central nervous system of the business — an overarching business information and process management tool that ensures all data is kept in one place and instantly available to all departments. It is a centralised database, constantly updated in real-time, that sales reps can access immediately on any device from anywhere with an internet connection.

With deep integration with your sales solutions and CRM systems, sales reps can utilise the instant insights provided by metasfresh ERP data to view full order histories from all channels, by customer, and make related product recommendations to those customers and realise upselling and cross-selling opportunities. With up-to-the minute real-time inventory accuracy, your sales reps can quickly prepare an offer, send it with a single click, and complete the order directly within the ERP.

Enable Self-Service B2B Sales

B2C-style B2B ecommerce platforms were already on the rise even before the pandemic struck — now, as McKinsey’s research has revealed, they are fast-becoming a baseline expectation.

Importantly, for B2B ecommerce to work, you need to communicate real-time inventory data to customers. There are essentially two ways to give customers access to this data — 1). via a phone call or email exchange, or 2). via the self-service B2B ecommerce channel itself.

The former can create friction and delays in B2B customers getting the information they require, negatively impacting the customer experience. A B2B ecommerce solution with deep ERP integration, on the other hand, provides customers with real-time inventory data directly within the web store, enabling customers to get the information they need — and build and place orders — through self-service.

By integrating your B2B ecommerce solution with a powerful ERP like metasfresh, you can make comprehensive product and pricing data available to the customer at all times. Ordering and invoicing can then also be automated with no delay or risk of error. This allows your buyers to keep placing orders throughout the coronavirus pandemic with minimal disruption, while sales reps have more time to give greater attention to high-value B2B sales. Indeed, even with an ecommerce platform in place, for big deals, the client is likely still going to want to speak with a human sales representative. The self-service automation of an ERP-integrated B2B ecommerce platform allows your sales team to give high-value clients the attention they need, fostering customer confidence and loyalty.

Furthermore, transparency is crucial at this time — especially as both your own teams and your customers’ teams are working from home. Supply chain disruptions are still ongoing, and they may be affecting your supply. As such, it’s crucial that you keep your customers informed about the status of their orders.

With a robust ERP solution like metasfresh behind the scenes, you can build an order tracking portal for your customers that they can access online, revealing the status of every order associated with the account — providing the self-service capabilities B2B buyers now want and expect.

Talk to us here at metasfresh. Since 2006 we have been developing our ERP software non-stop with open source components and under the open source licences GPLv2 and GPLv3. Our mission is to enable each and every company to access a powerful ERP system that supports digital transformation and fuels corporate growth. Get in touch today for more information and insights.

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