Far from monolithic, the B2B commerce arena is full of variety — there are nearly as many different “flavors” of B2B commerce as there are companies. But across the board, the most effective B2B commerce programs feature a digital self-service model. And not coincidentally, digital self-service has the potential to align exceptionally well with your organization’s CRM.
The right CRM can function as a valuable resource for communicating with customers. With customers already operating online, digital self-service enables them to directly input information and interact with your brand via your CRM. By taking advantage of commerce built on CRM, commerce activities directly translate to improved value and can lead to organization-wide CRM adoption.
Commerce incentivizes adoption of CRM
The goal of a CRM is to provide a hub for critical information about your brand’s relationships with customers. It serves as a central record of interactions with customers — a resource that prompts and drives the actions of sales and service teams.
Since your CRM operates as a hub for customer information, it’s logical to view B2B commerce as an extension of the CRM. Many B2B organizations have established portals that allow customers to manage address book information, payment terms, and other aspects of their relationship with the business. B2B commerce and digital self-service extend those capabilities to enable customers to proactively participate in the process, sourcing data to the CRM in real time.
Unfortunately, many commerce platforms don’t connect to CRM. Without this connection, salespeople tend to overlook the value of commerce. But when commerce is built on CRM, the customer is able to seamlessly interact with the organization through digital self-service, enabling access to information vital to sales and other functions.
As a result, salespeople can go into the CRM and enjoy real-time visibility to customer orders. When salespeople place orders, they have access to current information about the customer’s commerce activities in addition to other data that informs sales strategies. This access directly incentivizes sales teams and other stakeholders to increase the adoption of CRM.
B2B commerce has the potential to benefit the organization in several ways. But when it comes to CRM, there are at least two important benefits that are worth noting:
Improved insights – B2B commerce equips the organization with additional insights using the information provided by the customers themselves, typically through digital self-service, and other commerce capabilities.
Sales efficiency – By enabling customers to directly participate in the sales cycle, salespeople not only gain access to better and more immediate information, but also benefit from a reduced administrative burden — freeing up time for upselling, cross-selling, and new customer acquisition.
Customers benefit from B2B commerce built on CRM, too. As customers interact with the CRM via digital self-service, they receive information and communication from the system. This transforms CRM into a hub of communication for the customer as well as a data repository.
But even more importantly, B2B commerce motivates the adoption of your organization’s CRM as a go-to resource — a single point of interaction that provides a more complete view of the customer and gives salespeople the tools they need to effectively perform their jobs.
It’s all about the customer
Across industries, successful B2B commerce hinges on positioning the customer at the center of the process. In most cases, when you make customers the focal point you discover that they want a single digital location for brand interactions.
Regardless of their relationship with your sales team, customers look for a digital resource that provides up-to-date information, offers self-service capabilities, and allows them to accomplish other activities they historically perform offline. The catch is that they resist using multiple systems to request quotes, pay invoices, or perform other tasks — they want a single digital location.
And that’s what drives the adoption of CRM in your organization. By demanding a single hub for brand interactions, customers create a ready-made resource for communication and information sharing. When commerce is built on CRM, internal stakeholders flock to the CRM because that’s where your customers are.
Ready to take the next step? Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can leverage B2B commerce as a catalyst for improving the adoption of CRM in your organization.