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How To Automate The Order Process For Existing Accounts

Supplier Change Management: Why Automate The Order Process For Existing Accounts

By not embracing change management, industrial suppliers are forcing their existing accounts to turn over to competitors that have already automated their ordering processes.

As mentioned in our first article, one of the biggest roadblocks holding you back from consistent growth is your sales team’s inability to hunt new business and turn around failing accounts. That’s because most of their time is spent with the “Golden Goose”, and who could blame them? You may have inadvertently incentivized your team to stay stuck in this cycle of eroding margins and stale business. If this is you, relax. It’s fixable. 

A culture shift in your sales operation is going to require no small amount of tenacity and commitment on your part. The answer is to automate the ordering process and customer touchpoints.

Supplier Change Management: Change Hurts, But Not Changing Hurts More.

You may, in fact, have some legacy accounts that have zero interest in implementing any changes. They don’t want eCommerce. They want “Fred”, and donuts, and write their order on a napkin. That’s fine. But leaving you for some other supplier could cause the same frustration. 

Don’t be so discouraged by change management. In today’s business environment, change is inevitable and frequent. Even the most archaic customers get it. With a great onboarding process and incentive programs for sales reps and customers alike, you can turn change management from a liability to an asset. Automation of customer shopping, quoting, ordering, and account management processes are the way forward.

But Why do so Many Suppliers Fail to Automate Order Processes? 

It’s not because the software doesn’t exist, and it’s not because they don’t know any better. Honestly, it’s because industrial suppliers are afraid.  They are afraid to lose their best customers and sales reps if they were to implement an eCommerce solution. We absolutely understand that sentiment. 

Contrary to their belief, automating sales processes online is self-serving and fulfills the highest degree of ordering experience. While eCommerce ensures your business availability 24/7 across geographies, sales reps can move away from manually entering orders into their system and truly add value to the back-end activities to focus on their customers and achieve revenue-driving results. 

Order automation is the way forward for industrial suppliers as they embark on a journey to differentiate themselves from marketplaces by offering consultative product recommendations, extended warranties, or replacement parts in specific cases. 

Sales Order Process Automation through CRM 

Advancements in technology have resulted in the automation of the sales order process to 99-100% accuracy with minimal human interaction. But streamlining customer journeys still remains a challenge. Multiple touchpoints can improve the experience; however, siloed operations are restricting people from different departments to gain insights and other data to nudge a change in customer behavior. 

Implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and linking it with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system like Netsuite is the best way for industrial suppliers to automate order processes for existing accounts. 

A CRM solution can help your sales team understand each account in-depth and enable account reps to be more proactive and consultative. Further, linking it to your ERP system could automatically process the order and invoice to improve accuracy and reduce delay.

Using CRM automation of order processes, the sales reps can maintain a client database with upsell & cross-sell opportunities and order tracking. Further, they can optimize RFQ, enable omnichannel communications, and rely on performance metrics for better-targeted actions. 

PS – Want to learn more about how we’ve helped companies like yours successfully implement sales tools and customer onboarding campaigns? We’re experts in change management for industrial suppliers covering the entire supply chain,from OEMs to Wholesale and D2C Distributors, and we would be happy to share some ideas. Click here to book a quick meeting with me, Matt Johnson. 

You may target this (example) SMART Goal:

“By August 31, 2023, we will have successfully launched a customer eCommerce onboarding process that automates customer shopping, quoting, ordering, and account management so that our sales team can focus on growing new business.”

Action Item Checklist:

  • We have the right software application(s) and partner(s) to help us implement a new customer ordering process.
  • We have a documented strategy for both staff and customer training and onboarding.
  • We have created or adjusted our compensation plan to encourage a new approach to sales.
  • We have a documented customer onboarding strategy and incentive program.
  • We have the technical ability to customize each customer’s online purchasing experience to achieve operational efficiencies for us and for them.

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