Chambers Gasket builds a self-service B2B online storefront.

See how Chambers Gasket built an online portal that frees up sales reps to pursue new business.


May 2021

3.5 min read

At Chambers Gasket & Manufacturing Co., a custom fabricator of nonmetallic gaskets, sales representatives were spending too much time entering information rather than pursuing new client opportunities. This was stifling business growth. So, President G. Michael Kenny wanted to deploy a digital commerce system that would allow customers to order items online, reducing internal manual data input and order-entry time.

“Every sales order line I enter costs the same amount of time. About 75% of our accounts are under $10,000, but that’s only 11% of our revenue. I really wanted to drive those accounts to online ordering. That would free up my people to quote new business and create new opportunities because that’s the only way we grow.”

G. Michael Kenny
Through four carefully considered steps, Kenny built a simplified self-service B2B storefront that frees up his sales staff to capture new clients.

1. Go to boot camp to learn how to implement the storefront without the help of a third party.

Although he’s self-admittedly not the most tech-savvy, Kenny wanted to build the storefront and deploy it using Salesforce B2B Commerce.

He attended a B2B Commerce boot camp in Chicago, where Chambers Gasket is located. After four days of intense learning, Kenny felt confident enough to build out the architecture connecting B2B Commerce to the other Salesforce elements Chambers Gasket had already deployed. Then he got to work building the storefront.

“There were some delays in working on it, but all in all, it took me two or three hours a day over six months to implement it in the sandbox and then put it into production.”
G. Michael Kenny President

2. Know customers well and give them exactly what they need.

Kenny’s customers already know the items and quantities they need. They don’t want bells and whistles from a digital commerce site, sales pitches, or hand-holding to help them select an item. They want a simple site where they can buy their items quickly and get back to work.

So, Kenny built a site offering a streamlined experience. Shoppers have multiple ways to quickly find the items they want, drill down for more details, enter the quantity, add it to the cart, and check out. The B2B portal includes tiered pricing to encourage orders of higher quantities. Customers can also use the quick order feature to paste the part number and quantity right into their cart.

“We really tried to tailor the shopping experience with no frills — just in and out, and make it as simple as possible. Frictionless.”



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3. Create order fulfillment automation and transparency.

Once completed, an order automatically becomes a Salesforce record and is placed in the ERP. Customers are notified right away that their order is being fulfilled.

Previously, order fulfillment might take much more time. For example, if the order was sent in by email, it might linger in a sales rep’s inbox for days before being filled.

“Now the customer doesn’t have to deal with, potentially, an out-of-office notice, or go back and forth to get their order filled. They can be confident their order is in our system, and I can be confident the system is checking raw-material inventory, checking if we can meet their dates, and responding to the customer.”

4. Use automation to free up sales reps to pursue new business leads.

Kenny also incorporated order-process automation into the system. Chambers Gasket sales reps no longer enter information on a piece of paper by hand, then type it into the purchase order, then enter it into the larger Salesforce ecosystem. Customers are doing that themselves through the self-service portal.

Order totals are automatically computed based on quantities purchased.

This automation is especially important because the company offers multiple price breaks based on quantities and various maximums and minimums. Sales reps previously had to swivel back and forth between systems to compile those numbers, a process that took up a lot of time.

“Converting an online sales order to B2B Commerce will save 18 minutes of human time per transaction, which translates to, on average, $7.50 in savings per transaction. Over thousands and thousands of sales order lines we process every year, that adds up.”

With that extra time, Chambers Gasket sales reps are working to close new business. For example, when COVID-19 began, many of Chambers Gasket’s medical technology customers pivoted to manufacturing PPE and medical-testing equipment. Those customers, and many new ones, turned to Chambers Gasket for help cutting the Plexiglas.

As a result, Chambers Gasket saw its business in the medical technology sphere jump sevenfold in the first quarter of 2020, its best quarter ever, revenue-wise.

“I have 10, 15, 20 requests from new accounts that I’ve never heard of before looking to make filters and facemasks and whatnot,” Kenny said. “Without being able to drive many customer orders to B2B Commerce and lower that cost and time, I wouldn’t have time to chase these new opportunities.”


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