Defining B2B Marketing Channels & Strategies—How To Sell...
How to harness your representatives’ expertise to optimize your B2B ecommerce sales.
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As a Miva Sales Engineer, I often speak with manufacturers whose businesses use a “traditional” B2B sales process that relies on a sales team taking orders from customers.
But in 2022, not everyone wants to talk to a sales rep. Today’s buyers are used to pressing a button on their phone and having a car show up with food or goods within the hour. If those same buyers have to go to the office, call a sales rep, leave a message, send an email, receive a quote, and fax an order form just to complete a purchase, they might become frustrated.
As you further digitalize your operations and adjust your strategy to better serve your buyers’ evolving needs, your B2B sales team can continue to serve as a valuable resource. While they may not have as much direct contact with buyers, your sales representatives likely have a wealth of targeted knowledge and expertise that your business can harness to win more sales and delight your buyers online.
In this article, I'll explore a few ways you can translate your sales team’s practical expertise into meaningful content for your ecommerce website. In doing so, you’ll transform your representatives from order takers to money makers, and position your B2B ecommerce business for future growth and success.
There’s an old adage referenced by Clayton Christensen of Harvard Business School: “People don’t want quarter-inch drill bits; they want quarter-inch holes.” The phrase reminds us that buyers are typically much more aware of the problem they’re experiencing than they are of the solutions available for that problem. Unfortunately, too many companies only advertise their product without offering any content on their website appealing to the problems they help solve.
You can overcome this challenge by tapping into your sales team’s expertise. After speaking with so many of your customers, chances are that your sales representatives are well acquainted with the problems your company can help solve. Ask your sales reps what specific questions they hear most often from your buyers. What kinds of problems are they experiencing? What language do your customers respond well to when your sales reps are working to clarify those problems?
The answers to these questions can be turned into high-quality written content that can boost your ecommerce website’s SEO. This content might take the form of blog posts, guides, whitepapers, infographics, and more.
The key is to create content to rank for search terms related to the problems your buyers are experiencing instead of the solutions your business offers to those problems. For instance, if you can rank for terms like “How to hang a picture” and “How to drill a quarter-inch hole” instead of terms like “Stainless steel quarter-inch drill bit,” you’ll have a better chance of attracting more customers and gaining an edge over your competitors.
Implementing rich product content into your ecommerce site—such as detailed product descriptions, high-quality product images and graphics, product videos, and more—can help to answer your buyers’ questions and convince them to make a purchase without traditional hands-on sales tactics.
Fortunately, this is another area where you can consult a sales representative for additional help. Your sales team should be extremely familiar not only with your product line, but with how to communicate the value of those products in a way that resonates with your customers.
Pick some of your top-selling items or product categories and ask your sales team a few questions:
Each product and category may have different information that surfaces as a result of these questions. The goal here is to extract as much detail as possible so that you can refine it and publish it later.
You might have seen ecommerce websites with interactive features like Exploded Parts Diagrams, Quizzes, or Calculators. These tools can sometimes be challenging for businesses to create because they require a more thorough articulation of rules, applications, and other technical components than is needed for straightforward product descriptions.
However, that initial hard work can reap a number of benefits. These interactive website tools promote product discovery and can boost sales for customers who prefer self-service shopping. They can also serve as useful resources for new sales representatives who don’t yet have the industry knowledge of your more experienced team members.
Here are some questions you can ask your sales team to help identify the right tools for your website:
When you invest in building great self-service tools for your customers, you’ll free up time for your sales team to focus on the highest impact activities—the ones that actively generate revenue for your business.
We live in a world where buyers expect to have as much information as possible instantly available to them. Instead of having this information guarded behind a sales representative with a multi-step process, buyers want to be able to consume information at their leisure within the context of the platform they’re on.
But all this means that an experienced sales team is now a more valuable resource to B2B companies than ever. By tapping into their representatives’ deep understanding of their customers’ wants and needs, B2B ecommerce businesses can transform their team’s expertise into meaningful content that will attract buyers, boost conversions, and drive sales.
For a deeper dive into the strategies that will grow your ecommerce business in 2022, download our free whitepaper.
Benjamin Arp is a Miva Sales Engineer focused on driving ecommerce growth. He’s helped hundreds of ecommerce merchants develop their growth strategy, evaluate existing systems, and create plans to grow sales. In addition to working with merchants one-on-one, he is a regular contributor to the Miva blog and hosts webinars on a variety of ecommerce topics.
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