If your business utilizes sales reps to make sales, you have a model of business that other wholesalers don’t have to contend with. There’s additional steps, considerations, and processes you need to manage and keep on top of in order to do business.
Businesses that deal directly with their customers don’t have half the headaches you do.
The biggest issues you (and your sales reps) run into aren’t anyone’s fault in particular.
Let’s talk about sales rep ordering efficiency (or rather, a lack thereof).
The old school way of ordering looked a little like this.
Your rep is out in the field. They have a good idea of what you have in stock, but they have no idea that a second rep just pushed through a huge order. The first rep is closing a deal with their customer for a huge order of their own. They don’t bother to call the office to make sure you can fill it; they just call it in after the fact.
When that call finally goes through, everyone’s stomach drops.
Your first rep has to call back the customer (or maybe you do) to let them know you can’t hold up your end of the bargain.
Your customer is mad — they feel like their time and their money has been wasted. They get a refund, but they’re done doing business with you.
If only your rep was able to check your stock in real time.
Or maybe it goes a little differently.
Solving problems before they happen:
Maybe that huge order from the second rep was wrong. Maybe you actually did have the ability to fulfill the order from your now-very-upset first rep’s customer.
The reason the order was wrong was the way it was entered — your second rep knew the right numbers, but, when they relayed the information over the phone, it was misheard. An extra zero got added to the end, or maybe two.
If only there had been a way for your second rep to enter the order directly — both orders would have gone through fine.
Maybe the errors that happen at your business aren’t of such a serious, business-losing magnitude. Maybe there’s just minor issues with misheard items or item numbers, or faxes to reps that didn’t get deciphered correctly.
Maybe your reps just wish there was a faster way to manage and process the orders their customers make, so that they could spend more time out in the getting even more customers.
There’s A Third Option Here Too — What if Both of These Orders Could Have Been Made Entirely Online by the Customers Themselves?
What if your reps hadn’t had to go meet these customers? What if they’d been able to focus on other, higher-value leads somewhere else?
Now, you and I both know that most customers don’t want to do everything online at first, especially if this is their first time filling an order with you. They want to meet someone face to face, to shake hands and get to know the company they’re about to work with.
This is understandable.
But not everyone is like this. There are those who don’t need to do things the old school way.
What if, in the scenarios above, one of those two customers made their order online, with maybe a phone call in to your office to talk things over a bit?
What if you didn’t have to pay a sales rep to travel halfway across the county for every third order? What if you could focus their efforts on the biggest potential new accounts, the most valuable potential sales?
More and more businesses are being opened by a younger demographic, one that is used to placing orders online.
They’re happy to meet with a sales rep, if they have to, but just as often, they’re happy with a few emails back and forth to set up their online ordering process.
They don’t want to have to see the rep every time they make an order.
They just want to do what they’re used to – go online, place an order, and have it arrive exactly as they ordered it.
Even veteran business owners are moving to this preference. Online ordering isn’t some novel technological feat anymore. It’s the standard – as evidenced by the massive increase in Cyber Monday sales, more so than Black Friday.
Even as a wholesaler managing sales reps, you can take advantage of this well-established trend towards online ordering rather than placing all orders in person.
When it Comes to Sales Rep Ordering, Efficiency Is Critical to Keeping Margins High
If you can keep your reps from having to deal with smaller, low-value orders and focus on the big fish, the critical deals, they win, which means you win. More business is never a bad thing, and more business with less effort? What’s not to love?
And if, along the way, you have a system that doesn’t require you to communicate orders over the phone or via email, you cut down the potential for a miscommunication that results in lost business.
If you have a system that keeps your stock and your orders updated in real time, one that your reps can access quickly and easily from the field, you cut down on lost sales.
Now Commerce is that system — it makes you a lean, mean, selling machine and makes your reps able to churn out higher-quality business faster.
Sales reps don’t lose out on the business – they still get the orders attributed to them thanks to their own sales portal within the system.
Customers have more flexibility, something that makes them happier [link to online ordering for small businesses blog]. Your sales team sees more routine business come in, and they can dedicate time to increasing revenue in other ways.
They can still review orders and call up customers to confirm details – and upsell those customers where appropriate. Instead of haggling over an order the customer clearly already intended to make, the salesperson can focus on the upsell.
That’s not just convenient – that’s smart selling.
Learn How Now Commerce Can Make Life Easier for Both Your Customers and Your Sales Reps
Stop living in the previous century — get on board with the wholesaler technology of the future.