Close the Gap: B2B E-Commerce Finishes Where Quote-to-Cash Leaves Off

The B2B revenue cycle is not changing, it has changed. 92% of B2B buyers say that they prefer to buy online, while Gartner analysts estimate that by 2019, 41% of all revenue across all industries will come from digital channels. While the idea of B2B ecommerce has been around for some time, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to enable their digital selling channels. In fact, companies that are failing to invest in Digital channels are quickly finding themselves uncompetitive in today business climate. Buyers have come to expect total omnichannel engagement.

While Quote-to-Cash solutions are solving many of the needs of the modern day buyer and have been established as crucial to the revenue cycle, the self-service model of B2B ecommerce is not far behind, forcing companies to quickly enable their digital channels or risk falling behind.

Quote to Cash Impact

Quote-to-Cash (or the processes connecting a customer’s intent to buy with a company’s realization of revenue, encompassing the entire sales, contract, and customer relationship lifecycles) has become essential to modern day businesses. In today’s customer centric world, these solutions have gone a long way toward creating the optimal buying path.

By encompassing the entire revenue process, such solutions enable companies to gain a true understanding of their customers. Fully integrated Quote-to-Cash solutions ensure that the necessary information about a customer is communicated through the purchasing path; from one stage to the next, every touchpoint is enhanced with this deep understanding of the prospect. Customers have come to expect this level of understanding, and a companies the ability to anticipate their needs.

Not only do business buyers expect to be understood, they also have come to expect speed. Often the team that wins the deal, is the one that gets the quote or the contract out the fastest. Quote-to-Cash solutions do just that. According to one impact study, such solutions see on average a 23% increase in time to quote, as well as 41% faster contract processing.

In today’s fast paced business environment, speed can be the difference between deal won and deal lost. Quote-to-Cash solutions have established themselves as vital to facilitating deal velocity.

E-Commerce Completes the Buyer Journey

There is still a massive opportunity, however, to improve upon this buying path. The majority of B2B customers want to do their shopping online. In the modern, fast paced business environment, buyers are coming to expect engagement through every channel; a complete omnichannel experience. Ecommerce completes this buying journey, connecting the dots between online and in-person experiences. As a result, investment into B2B ecommerce has become essential for companies hoping to successfully engage and promote customer satisfaction.

Companies Need to Invest in B2B E-Commerce Now

Lucky for everyone, SaaS and cloud delivery platforms are making it easier than ever for companies to implement B2B E-Commerce, and create a complete sales funnel.  B2B ecommerce solutions can be deployed rapidly, with minimal headache, eliminating any excuse of not bring the expected experience to the customer. Below are 3 key points to keep in mind when implementing the software.

–        You don’t have to shift all of your products to the channel immediately. Begin the process quickly by removing the lowest hanging fruit from the hands of in-person sales reps. Focus on transitioning low touch products in the beginning. Not only will this get the process in motion, it will also free up significant amounts of time for sales reps to focus on more complex deals. A simplified, uncomprehensive initial push will allow companies to refine their go-to-market strategies moving forward.

–        Don’t make your ecommerce platform an extension of your ERP. Instead move the solution into your agile cloud based CRM allowing you to avoid expensive implementations and bringing all your customer interactions under one roof.

–        Ecommerce isn’t just a storefront. It is a platform that creates and completes an overall improved customer experience. Customers can interact many different ways with an ecommerce channel, such as customer service, requesting a quote, etc. Enable these interactions by incorporating comprehensive features into your solution.

While Quote-to-Cash solutions have gone a long way toward optimizing customer and prospect experiences (establishing itself as a crucial solution), there is still a massive hole in the revenue cycle for companies that aren’t investing in B2B E-Commerce. Every study points to B2B Ecommerce playing an increasing majority role in the purchasing path. As a result, companies that are failing to jump on board are quickly becoming uncompetitive, allowing other companies to create the experiences that customers have come to expect.

Maria Pergolino, SVP of Global Marketing  at Apttus.

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