Deciding to sell online is only the first step that you need to follow in order to make this a reality. Once you make this important decision keep in mind that the whole company needs to adopt a new mentality so that you can make the e-commerce project a success. One common myth that people buy is that having an e-commerce portal will automatically translate into more sales but the truth is that this won’t happen by itself: it requires work, a lot of work.
So what do you need to do in order to maximize your e-commerce sales? Here are some of our recommendations:
Your sales team has to be on-board
You shouldn’t really force anyone to do anything, specially when it’s something that will affect your sales team. For this reason your sales team has to truly believe in the benefits of online sales. One common mistake that companies make (in my personal opinion) is that they reduce the commission for web sales. Really? If I were a salesperson and my commissions were LESS when selling online I would tell my customers that the e-commerce didn’t work, that it was slow, that it was painful, etc. Try a different approach: one in which your sales team can make some extra money by getting their customers to buy online.
Tell your team: E-commerce will not replace salespeople
One common thought is that e-commerce will replace salespeople all together. This couldn’t be less true! What can change is that salespeople can start making a shift towards being more of account managers and not just salespeople. However you look at it the e-commerce is just one additional tool that the sales team has to approach their customers.
You need to promote your E-commerce
Once you setup the e-commerce customers will not be flocking towards your site. That’s just not the way that it works. You need to setup marketing campaigns reminding your customers that you have this service available and that they can start taking advantage of this right away. In addition to this your sales team must communicate this to your customers while they have them on the phone. Once a customer starts buying online chances are that they’ll keep doing so after that. Running promos for a month or a week are also good ideas to have your customers try the system.
Be persistent and follow up
Don’t give up if the customer says no at first. You need to remind the customer (FYI: remind, not harass) every now and then that they can buy online. Run a report and look at the customers that are not buying online and try to figure out why. Do you have a low assortment of product? Are your prices too high? Do they find it difficult to use? You need to find out and follow up. Make sure that you listen to what they want and let us know so that we can improve the system altogether.
Make sure that your sales team knows how to use the e-commerce site
We have a great feature that allows the sales team to log in on behalf of their customers. This is extremely useful when a customer calls in and they’re not sure what to do since the salesperson can give them step by step instructions since they’re seeing the exact same thing. If your sales team does not have the confidence to use the e-commerce system then your customers will not feel supported when they call in for help. Make this a requirement for your team.
Set a goal
I’d assume that everyone in sales has a budget. Part of that budget should be comprised of e-commerce sales. If you can get each of your salespeople to get 10% in e-commerce sales this will start representing a good chunk of change.
Don’t try to set everyone up at once
One common mistake is that companies sign up to the e-commerce feature and try to do everything on the first week. It’s just not going to happen. Instead of doing this in a rush get each person in your sales team to contact one customer per day. This way the salesperson will have time to call the customer and follow up. Within 2 – 3 months you could easily have many of your accounts buying online. You just need to be patient.
Hope this helps!