Sales and marketing in the B2B world can sometimes feel impossibly complex. Tactics and trends continue to evolve, and the industry develops software that tries to make our job easier. Now, the number of available CRM and marketing automation (MA) solutions, all clamoring to earn your business more revenue with little effort, are enough to make your head spin.
It’s even more frustrating if your website operates and maintains a B2B Ecommerce store. In addition to designing a user-friendly, virtual storefront, you’re left chasing down valuable data across disparate systems, wasting time that could be better spent on forward-thinking business activities. Considering the amount of money you’ve already invested in these tools, you owe it to yourself to learn how to get the most value out of them.
Thankfully, there’s a solution that delivers on the outcomes you were promised when you first opened your B2B Ecommerce website: higher revenue, more valuable leads, and happier clients, among a host of other lucrative benefits that will improve the way you run your business. All it takes is an effective integration solution that combines the sheer power of data from your CRM as well as the automated activities and workflows from your MA system with your Ecommerce store.
The Power of a Successful Integration
The three elements of this integration project are your customer-facing Ecommerce store, your MA software, and your CRM system. Together, these pieces allow the integrated platform to function as a sales and marketing powerhouse that provides near real-time data about your prospects, customers, and missed opportunities. While your business may currently rely on on these systems separately, by not integrating their features, you’re missing out on valuable information such as potential up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and the ability to view historical analytics in a comprehensive report.
However, a B2B Ecommerce store is only successful if it speaks directly to your buyers—it should answer their questions (usually about price, features, and styles) while establishing a sense of trust. Trust is a direct byproduct of professionalism—today’s buyers are no longer fooled into purchasing by a cheap-looking Ecommerce website. It’s not enough to talk the talk. That said, a professional and trustworthy B2B Ecommerce website will utilize the following features:
- Essential product information, such price, sizes, etc.
- Reviews and ratings from past customers.
- Easy-to-find contact information, such as a phone number, mailing address, and email address.
- Helpful and engaging content, including blogs, whitepapers, and case studies.
- Professional product images.
- Modern and user-friendly website design.
- Pages that load quickly.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a great place to begin when evaluating the effectiveness of your Ecommerce website. The bottom line is that clients won’t just shop anywhere, especially when they have thousands of options literally at their fingertips. Instead, you need to give them a reason to stay, shop, and buy.
This brings us back to our key point: a successful integration will help your business greatly simplify the process of converting leads into customers. In fact, a successful integration draws on the unique strengths of each platform. From the MA side, we take the benefits of automation; from the CRM perspective, we’re able to interact with and create intelligent lists based on your ever-evolving data; and from the Ecommerce front, we curate the raw customer data we need to make critical business decisions.
When these systems work in sync, we create a powerful platform that works specifically for your business, giving you the ability to design a custom sales and marketing strategy that meets your unique needs and solves your most frustrating business challenges.
Tools of the Trade
We’ve discussed how integrating your B2B Ecommerce website with a CRM and MA platform increases the effectiveness of your team. Now, let’s take a look at some of the specific features that this allows you to take advantage of.
- Automated Email Sequences. Depending on the number of contacts you have in your database, it can be an overwhelming and time-consuming task to manually create and schedule email sequences. An integrated platform allows you to create workflows that will automatically nurture or follow up with leads depending on which pipeline they are assigned to. Example workflows include abandoned cart, promotional deals, and discount outreaches.
- Up- and Cross-Sell Opportunities. A customer relationship doesn’t end when you make a sale. Rather, you want to build loyal and repeat customers, so designing an automated workflow that finds opportunities for up- and cross-selling can save your team the time of manually reviewing customer purchase data. Examples of these opportunities include accessory purchases or relevant products that customers may have missed in their initial research.
- Quoting. Some products may require a custom proposal to provide the most accurate price. Your integrated Ecommerce platform will give you the ability to make quoting products an option, so customers won’t feel pressured to make a major purchase on the spot—and so your team can appropriately nurture them towards the sale.
- Fulfillment Notification. Notify your fulfillment team when a purchase is made immediately. Furthermore, the integration project gives you the ability to hook into your specific fulfillment system to create an all-in-one platform for ease of use.
- Social Capabilities. An active social media presence is key to connecting with your audience. Our integrated Ecommerce platform allows you to create, schedule, and review social media posts on your preferred social channels so you can monitor activity all in one place.
- Live Chat. Live chat gives customers the ability to receive immediate answers to their questions. It can either be programmed as an automated bot that answers pre-determined questions or as a member of your team. Live chat is great not only for its immediacy but also for its ability to drive complex sales so you don’t lose customers.
- Full Commerce Reporting. It’s nearly impossible to make strong business decisions without data to back them up—but data by itself can be difficult to decipher. Fully custom Ecommerce reports that detail how your business is performing provide actionable data. With this information, you can make informed business decisions that will move your business up and to the right, rather than settling for stagnation.
While this isn’t a full picture of what an integrated platform will offer, this list does offer a glimpse into the ways in which integration can save your team time and thus allow you to earn more revenue.
Another vital feature is the ability to customize and brand your outreach efforts (including landing pages and emails) with your company’s colors and style. The ability to automate your email sequences while maintaining a professional image (instead of a basic or plain template) helps to establish your company as a trustworthy source. Branded reports and marketing documents may seem like frivolous, extra features, but they reflect an essential outcome of a full Ecommerce stack: your team now has the ability to focus on the client without sacrificing the established brand your company has worked so hard to build.
Recommended Next Steps
There are several features and workflows that we highly recommend implementing:
- Clean, modern, and user-friendly product layouts for your Ecommerce store. These choices are based entirely on best practices that look for easy to read text, clear and accurate product images, and enough white space to help the customer navigate the page.
- Sales pipelines that rely on lead tagging. Examples of different kinds of pipelines you may choose to build include cold leads, warm leads, demonstration, abandoned cart, or purchased. Really, the types of pipelines can be as simple or specific as you need.
- Automated sales and marketing workflows that reach out to leads on your behalf when they take pre-determined actions. This way, your leads continue to be nurtured while you focus on building relationships with qualified and/or interested leads.
- Email integration with your CRM so any correspondence your team has with leads is automatically recorded for ease of reference. From a management perspective, this also helps you keep an eye on your team to ensure that they are properly communicating with prospects and customers.
- Branded landing pages with strong content and calls to action to increase conversions. By integrating this feature into your platform, you can easily make adjustments (should you need to) based on customer feedback or for A/B testing purposes.
Benefits of an Ecommerce Integration
The golden question, of course, is how. How can an integrated Ecommerce platform possibly deliver on such lofty promises as higher revenue?
The answer is simpler than you might think. A more effective, streamlined, and automated sales process makes your team more efficient by reducing the amount of time wasted on normally tedious and time-consuming tasks. So, sales activities that require a human touch (such as follow-up phone calls) can be completed with genuine care. And when you spend more time where it matters most—with your prospects and customers—your revenue will invariably grow.
Sales and marketing, after all, are based on relationships. A successful sale reflects the positive relationship that your business has developed with that person. When your team dedicates time to building and nurturing personal relationships (instead of manually building reports or scoring leads), prospects are converted into customers much more often.
In this regard, as well, your team can actually take the time to create custom sales and marketing strategies for your target audience, such as customized and original content that educates and informs. When you can establish your company as an innovative thought leader, it helps you stand out against your competitors. Specifically, an integrated platform gives you the tools you need to supercharge your business without reinventing the wheel.
Final Thoughts: Building a Custom Solution
Given the scope of the project as well as the inherent complexity involved in marrying two (or three) very separate systems, you want to depend on an experienced and knowledgeable partner to walk you through the process—one that can successfully work with complex tech stacks while delivering an efficient and custom solution that meets your specific needs.
At obo. Agency, we have deep experience in data projects: from cleaning to organizing and everything in between, we have a defined process that helps to make our clients’ projects successful, including custom integrations. Contact us today for more information on beginning your Ecommerce integration project.
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