The Paper Catalog is Dead: Why You Should Be Using a Sales Portal Today

sales-portal-Years ago, it wasn't uncommon to see buyers sitting at their desks thumbing through stacks of paper catalogs in search of a specific product, then filling out order forms by hand and hoping they copied down the product number correctly, or waiting on the phone listening to elevator music as they held for a sales representative. Thankfully, those days are over.

The internet has enabled us to not just find the products we are searching for more easily, but to evaluate them, check availability, and place our orders with just a few clicks. If your B2B business doesn’t offer your reps and dealers an online sales portal, here are a few reasons why you should:

What is a Sales Portal?

A sales portal is software that enables your wholesale customers and sales reps to view product and account details, check pricing and inventory availability, and place orders 24-7 without needing to bother your inside staff.

Why Should You Use a Sales Portal?

A sales portal eliminates a number of problems and inefficiencies that are associated with the ordering process including:

  • Time consuming order entry

  • Errors that can occur from data entry

  • Out-of-date pricing and inventory availability information

  • Time consuming phone calls, emails and faxes

  • Inconvenience due to time zones and office hours

What Should You Look for in an Effective Sales Portal?

It is important to remember that not all sales portals are created equally and some offer advanced features that make them much more effective than others. So what should you look for?

  • An interactive customer portal is essential. Look for a sales portal that enables customers to have the tools and information that they need in order to help themselves and you will eliminate the need for many sales and customer service calls, emails and faxes. A good customer portal will:

    • Provide customers with the ability to search for specific products and  access product information and images

    • Provide information about product inventory

    • Provide access to order history and payment information

    • Allow customers to place orders with the use of interactive order forms that include drop down menus

    • Enable customers to view ship dates and tracking numbers

  • A sales rep portal enables sales reps, customer service reps, and managers to access important information in order to better assist customers. It should:

    • Provide a searchable database that includes product details and images

    • Enable professionals to view specific customer information including order history, customer specific pricing, balance due, and payment history

    • Enable access to inventory and availability in real time

    • Access tracking numbers

    • Allow reps to place orders

  • An effective sales portal should be able to seamlessly integrate with your accounting software (QuickBooks, etc)

Employing the services of a web based sales portal can significantly improve your order entry, processing and fulfillment process. An effective sales portal is much more efficient than the paper catalogs that were previously in service, and much more effective than manual order processing.

Order fulfillment guide