Seven Ways to Improve B2B Trade Productivity
Companies are looking to make a mark as the economy recovers from the pandemic. However, organizations selling B2B goods and services cannot just go back to work without analyzing their level of performance. In particular, leaders need to think about how to maintain high levels of productivity and low levels of inefficiency throughout the sales cycle.
Of course, effective B2B business cannot be done without accounting and planning. This is where advanced productivity techniques come in.
B2B Productivity Tips to Optimize Sales Systems
Below are a few strategies that B2B merchants can use to optimize their B2B sales systems. Taken together, these strategies can help a business move forward without wasting time, energy, money, or other resources.
Eliminate points of friction when paying
Getting money quickly is important, but many organizations suffer from inefficient payment processes.
For example, a company might send out monthly bills on net-30 terms. After a customer writes a check, the company has to wait for the check and then the funds. Even offering online payments does not completely solve this problem. It can take several days for your credit card to be deposited. In addition, it can incur high commission fees.
An alternative to such a stalled flow of payments could be accepting payments through an automated clearing house (ACH). ACH payments move funds between bank accounts and tend to be cheaper in terms of fees. Another option is to try FIS’s RealNet, a cloud-based payment process that enables near-real-time settlements between organizations. RealNet leverages existing national and international payment rails to ensure fast and secure transactions.
The bottom line? The easier it is to exchange goods and services, the easier it is for a business to scale. Period.
Normalize the idea of production on demand
One way to improve productivity is to reduce the need to collect, maintain, and store inventory. For example, this can be done using production on demand.
The idea of creating something on demand may seem like a cosmic idea, but it is no longer so. Companies like Gooten produce large orders in a matter of days.
While not all B2B organizations can provide customers with choice on-demand, some can. As a consequence, they will benefit from a minimal amount of unsold inventory. In addition, they can use artificial intelligence software to predict when they will need an influx of raw materials to fulfill potential orders.
Over the years, stories have shown that too much inventory can overwhelm any company. You can often read about the huge stocks of companies forced to go bankrupt. By exploring on-demand capabilities, businesses can increase their competitiveness while offering world-class products.
Offer customers self-service
In an era where people are used to finding solutions on their own, B2B customers may prefer the advantage of a 24/7 system that allows them to answer their own questions.
AI chatbots are a good example of self-service. The chatbot can be programmed to receive information based on customer questions. Having received the information, he can help the client decide on further actions. Some chatbots are so intuitive and natural that people do not even realize that they are talking not with a person, but with a company representative.
It’s not hard to see how delivering self-service benefits to B2B customers improves the overall productivity of an organization. For example, helpdesk agents have more time to spend on complex service cases. Plus, customers don’t have to wait hours to get help.
Explore Methods to Reduce Employee Turnover
Employee turnover remains a hidden source of waste in commercial B2B companies. This is why organizations with revolving doors cannot scale. After all, they are constantly turning the wheels, replacing people leaving.
It’s not just that the employee who says goodbye walks away with inherited knowledge of corporate productivity declines. It is also declining due to the drop in morale of the remaining workers. Often, when one person leaves, everyone else takes his place. This can lead to dissatisfaction, overwork, and burnout for team members who are unable to perform at their best.
Reducing employee turnover usually starts with increasing overall engagement rates. When employees are involved, they want to stay. However, recruiting employees is not an overnight task. This process includes ensuring that employees know their purpose in the organization and also feel rewarded for their efforts.
Several ways to improve communication between employees and employer include regular training, constant updating of tools, and generous compensation. Another way to attract and retain talented employees today is by offering hybrid or telecommuting for convenience and flexibility.
Shortening secular buying cycles
Most B2B businesses know their average buy cycle. For example, a business equipment manufacturer might expect a 100-day purchase cycle based on historical data. As a result, the manufacturer makes plans based on this cycle.
But what happens if the manufacturer can shorten the purchase cycle by 10%? In this case, the cycle will not be 100, but 90 days. It’s not hard to imagine how different enterprise finance will look when the sales cycle is shorter. In addition, sellers would be able to improve their level of productivity by registering more conversions per year.
Of course, shortening the buying cycle takes time and effort. Business leaders can start by charting a traditional cycle. They can then look for ways to shorten the hours or days. Some solutions might be to work with new suppliers or speed up the time it takes for sales representatives to meet with potential buyers.
Rethink slow delivery methods
B2B commercial companies often rely on different shipping methods depending on their product. They can also face high shipping costs when sending orders across zones or countries. However, shipping can be an area for significant performance gains.
For example, a B2B seller may want to analyze the orders of repeat customers to see if they can be shipped in a more cost-effective way without creating problems for the customer. Everything from changing carriers to modes of transport can help optimize a cumbersome system.
It is important to note that adaptability is really the main condition here. B2B customers are getting used to getting what they want as quickly as possible thanks to fulfillment giants like Amazon. Hence, they will naturally expect flexibility in their B2B transactions as well.
Allow existing customers to reorder products online
Reordering in the B2B marketplace usually involves a conversation between a customer and a sales representative. Unfortunately, this can delay the process. While reps want to communicate with customers from time to time, they don’t need to place new orders manually. Instead, it can be done online through a trusted portal.
Customers placing their orders online not only improves productivity. It also frees everyone involved in the process. From a client’s point of view, placing an order does not require any special steps. In addition, the customer can place an order at any time without having to contact any of the B2B sellers. Likewise, a B2B sales rep can stay on top of customer orders without wasting time on unnecessary phone calls.
Make no mistake: Touchpoints between sellers and buyers are essential, especially in the B2B arena. But they are not always necessary. Giving customers access to online orders makes the reordering process smoother and faster.
Increased productivity has countless benefits for B2B merchants. Just a few changes in the upcoming sales quarter could mean the difference between plateau and growth.