Grow your business without growing your sales team

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing an e-commerce manager who is utilizing SAP ERP at a B2B wholesale company that specializes in safety and lighting products. Her job is to ensure the success of B2B e-commerce for her company, including fulfilling all requirements from both internal and external customers. We discussed her company’s reasons for initiating B2B e-commerce and the challenges she faced along the way to achieving success.

Michiel Schipperus: What are the main reasons for your company to invest in B2B e-commerce?

E-commerce Manager: “As an international wholesale company, we invested in B2B e-commerce because it provides us with the possibility to expand further and quickly improve our business. For example, we are continuously looking for ways to increase the efficiency of our international sales department, combined with an easy way to enter into new markets. Therefore, having an online sales portal available worldwide allows us to scale up and expand our sales efforts without growing our team.”

“Therefore, having an online sales portal available worldwide allows us to scale up and expand our sales efforts without growing our team.”

MS: Can you explain how B2B e-commerce enables you to grow your business without growing your sales team?

E-commerce Manager: “Having an online sales channel enables us to sell in countries where we do not have a significant sales force yet. We found that even in areas where we already had a local sales team, e-commerce made their jobs easier and increased their effectiveness. Adding online capabilities helped prepare our company to grow our reach. For example, dealing with international shipping cost is not complicated anymore because our web shop has incorporated fixed shipping costs based on the information in our SAP ERP. In addition to this, we have found drop shipment increasing in popularity. We see B2B e-commerce as the answer to the transformation that is taking place in our market.”

MS: How do you see the market changing?

E-commerce Manager: “Within our market, and also within the complete B2B industry, we see that ordering by fax and phone is on the wane. Customers in both B2B and B2C businesses expect online capabilities from their suppliers. Not only to be able to order online, but also to inform customers about the products that they have to offer. Our catalog encompasses thousands of products, so providing this information online with the right custom prices is a very important step in better serving our customers. In our opinion, this one of the biggest challenges for being successful with B2B e-commerce.”

MS: Has B2B e-commerce provided you with a way to expand your sales while improving your efficiency and service to your customers?

E-commerce Manager: “Yes, definitely. Of course being successful with B2B e-commerce is an ongoing challenge, but being more efficient, selling more, and adapting to the changing market are definitely our main advantages of selling online.”

“Of course being successful with B2B e-commerce is an ongoing challenge, but being more efficient, selling more, and adapting to the changing market are definitely our main advantages of selling online.”

MS: What was your biggest challenge when implementing your e-commerce project?

E-commerce Manager: “Given the size of our catalogue, we thought our biggest task was going to be organizing all the product information. With Sana Commerce’s ERP-centric methodology, we were able to combine the convenience of our e-commerce web shop with the power of our SAP ERP data. All of our product information and customer specific prices stored in our SAP ERP were funneled directly to our e-commerce web shop, which made Sana Commerce a very pragmatic solution for us to build our online sales channel.”

Michiel Schipperus is CEO of Sana Commerce. Sana is a B2B specialist and delivers a fully integrated e-commerce solution for SAP and Mircosoft Dynamics AX/NAV.

Want to know more about B2B e-commerce? Download our eBook and find out all you need to know about B2B e-commerce!


Originally published at www.sana-commerce.com on March 12, 2015.

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