Thought Leadership: B2B Commerce Cloud

5 Things to Consider When Implementing B2B Commerce

In an Amazon-driven world, B2B Customers now expect a seamless digital experience. These B2B customers expect much of the same B2C functionality and personalization. They want instant access to ordering, order status, invoices, etc. Some even expect promotions, coupons, and rewards programs – all without having to call a sales rep or customer service agent.
As a business, you need a way to scale your sales without having to scale your sales team with it. You want to provide your customer with excellent customer service but need to maintain your current staff.
Enter Salesforce’s B2B Commerce platform, integrated with Salesforce CRM. B2B Commerce Cloud allows you to create a commerce site that can:
  • Increase sales capacity with automation of order process
  • Reduce customer inquiry
  • Order status invoice
  • Maintain customers contracted pricing
  • Integrate with your ERP
Sold! So here you are, ready to embark on bringing your B2B portal dreams to life. How should you and do you prepare? Here are 5 areas that you need to consider:
1. Data/Account Structure
Data will make or break any B2B Commerce implementation. When the data isn’t there, advanced site functionality will be nearly impossible implement. Bad data can introduce over-engineering to solve what could have been addressed up front with careful examination of data and the business processes that put it there.
Example: One of the most important drivers of the implementation is a well-designed account structure. When it comes to data relationships such as pricing, shipping rules, localization, account groups, and targeted promotions; the account is the key.  Having a strong account structure will allow you to effortlessly administrate your site and assign your users all the permissions, price lists, and promotions they need to get the most out of your site.
2. Design Your Site for Your Customers
Distributors, invoicing users, purchase users, potential new customers… Who is your audience? Understanding who you are developing for and the needs of the user will allow you to create a painless ordering experience. If moving from a legacy or manual system, utilize user research and interviews with your customers identify pain points that you can resolve with your new solution.
User adoption of your site depends on the interface. Solutions on which can vary from dashboard style, one-page ordering systems on the homepage, to complex categorized product catalogs with specialized filters and search functionality to help users locate products with ease. Listening to the user will make sure that efforts are not wasted and the optimal tool for getting products into their carts and turned into sales and orders is built.
3. ROI Factors
What does success look like to your organization? Having a defined set of goals to solve for will help drive the implementation, i.e:
    • Reduce cost of sale
    • Reduce manual steps to create order
    • Reduce workload on sales reps
    • Reduce cost of customer service with self service
    • Increase sales by allowing smaller dealers/deals via ecosystem
Once you set the criteria for success, use it as your mission statement for the project. Inevitably as the site continues to develop, folks will want to ‘add’ features. Use your mission statement to ensure you stay true the goal. It’s easier to add functionality after a successful launch vs trying to explain why launch is delayed.
4. Integration
Having clean data is one piece of the puzzle, but getting it out of siloed legacy systems and into your Salesforce environment is another. A solid integration plan where fields and data are mapped prior to project kickoff can have major benefits down the line. With the integration points setup, developers can work with real integration points and know exact response times from external systems, which greatly mitigates risk and allows for a more realistic UAT testing scenario – rather than creating sample test data on the fly and hooking up the integrations later.
5. Equip the Project with the Right People
Make sure to staff your project with the people that understand the business process, the customer, and the expectations. Many projects have been burned because the right people were not involved. The folks that are in the weeds of your business everyday know closets have skeletons. They have opinions on how the process should be. Involving them early and often will reduce the risk of having to rework solutions. Also ensure your implementer understands more than just the software. Do they have industry experience?
Creating a seamless experience and the optimal tool for your customers takes proactive organization of your data, goals, and people. These tips will help you get the most out of your B2B Commerce site, and our Team can help bring it to life.
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