To help you stay on track with the latest developments in the world of wholesale, we have compiled a list of 10 B2B sales trends that your wholesale brand should follow if you don’t want to fall behind.
With the development of new B2B solutions, the world of wholesale is slowly but surely changing. Old ways of doing business become ineffective and new trends appear that quickly take over the entire industry.
These days, it’s almost impossible to run a successful wholesale industry without setting up an eCommerce website, with real-time integration and customer ratings and reviews. User experience and customer-centricity have replaced product-centric approach and became a new mantra, the one every wholesale brand has to adopt if it wants to stay afloat.
And while focusing on the needs of your customers will help you create better bonds with your clients, increase loyalty and retention, omnichannel sales tools, product management systems and mobile apps will help you improve productivity and expand your reach.
By providing your customers with an opportunity to place their order at any time from anywhere with a click of a button, you’ll significantly expand your reach, gaining a new generation of clients, that feels perfectly at ease in the digital world.
An array of software solutions will help your sales team get accustomed to its new role as a consultant and a trusted advisor. From people trying to make a deal, the sales reps have in recent years became those who customers rely on to show them new ways to improve their business.
Here are the top 10 B2B sales trends your wholesale organisations needs to implement.
If you are thinking about bringing your wholesale to a new level, setting up an eCommerce website is definitely a step in the right direction. In the digital era, buyers are used to having everything available online.
Online retailers – like Amazon and Alibaba have created eCommerce businesses with a billion dollar net worth. And with more and more wholesale companies turning to online trade, it’s just a matter of time when this business model takes over wholesale as well.
Setting up an eCommerce store might be the most efficient way of expanding your business.
Product catalogs are bulky and ordering over the phone is complicated and limited by working hours. But if you set up an eCommerce website, you’ll be able to reach new clients at every time of day and in every geographical area – even those where you don’t have sales rooms or a sales representative.
Additionally, eCommerce will save you a lot of time. Magento Commerce 2018 Forester study concluded that the majority of organizations with eCommerce in place list this channel as a major component in reaching company goals (ahead of the physical store).
Instead of fulfilling orders, tracking inventory and talking back and forth with your clients, eCommerce solutions will automatically take care of all those tasks, with a click of a button. As soon as your customers make a profile on the site, they will be able to make orders in just a few clicks.
2. Customer-centric approach
Wholesale customers are customers just like any other. And just like regular customers, they want their needs to be placed above all else.
Instead of focusing on the features of the products, successful wholesale companies are more interested in explaining various ways they can satisfy their client’s needs. Wholesalers have product data gathered from thousands of manufacturers and the ability to use that data to help their customers find the product they want.
Product knowledge bases, customer support, and live chats are some of the solutions you can use to make your wholesale customer-centric.
Simplifying the ordering process, reducing paperwork and allowing for multiple paying options are also cool ways to improve client satisfaction. Customer-centricity is all about understanding your consumers’ need and making a system that works for them.
3. User experience
This brings us to the next B2B sales trend – improving user experience. Automatization of the sales process allows you to gather data about the customer behavior, which in return lets you fine-tune the sales process and adjust it to their needs.
Customer feedback (whether its gained thought calls, sales representatives, surveys or Google analytics) can be used to improve your user experience and deliver personalized content.
That way, you can provide a recommendation based on the previous purchases. You can add an option of choosing favorite products, saving the favorites and then order them with a quick order.
Wholesale companies can even use the data from the client’s’ previous orders to anticipate clients’ needs and help them replenish their stocks before they run out by adding a reorder functionality.
4. Online Ratings and Reviews
In online sales – reputation is everything and everybody’s favorite 5-star rating systems can make or break a business.
Review system used by Amazon, Google and Facebook is making its way to B2B sales as well.
Customer reviews are providing an unbiased look into the products’ features and quality. They elaborate pros and cons and provide the interpersonal warmth that product descriptions and specification sheets can never deliver.
Since very few people buy a product without reading a few reviews first, a good rating and a positive review can be just the thing to help them make up their mind and purchase the product in question.
Even a negative feedback can be of great value since it will let you fix the errors that are affecting customer satisfaction and provide better service to your clients.
Product reviews can also let the wholesaler know which products are more popular than others and give you an idea of what your clients want.
5. Changing role of sales reps
New technologies and automatization tools provide more opportunities for micro analytics and interpreting valuable data, which has caused a change in the sales reps’ approach.
In the old days, sales reps had a more transactional role, while today they are expected to be reliable consultants to potential buyers.
The customers expect sales reps to use insights that they have gathered, to deliver more value to their customers. Instead of focusing on the products, modern sales reps are more focused on delivering better customer experience, by addressing customer pain points or providing market intelligence.
These insights will help them make better purchase decisions and improve their overall business strategy and results. Instead of notifying consumers about your products and their features, sales reps should address the way your products will benefit their business.
6. Improving productivity
In a digital world immediacy and speed are a necessity. Customers are accustomed to getting everything they need instantly with a click of a button. And there are various sales tools to increase productivity.
If they ask you a question they want an instant reply if they order a product they want it shipped today… Applying a variety of software solutions will help you cater to the clients need and improve your productivity.
By analyzing data about their previous purchases, you’ll be able to discover customer’s buying habits, and prepare for the next sales cycles before it begins.
Also, you can use traffic data and maps to keep track of the delivery process and choose the quickest routes possible, thus saving both time and money. Or to help your sales team plan their trips and maximize the number of visits.
By adding a live chat to your site you can answer consumers’ question instantly, thus straightening the bond between you and your clients. Truly the impacts of the digital tools on improving wholesale productivity are numerous.
7. Omnichannel sales solutions
Not so long ago wholesale purchases were made in person or over the phone. But the times have changed and nowadays customers want to be able to reach wholesalers in any way they see fit – whether it’s by telephone, through company’s website, email or mobile app.
That’s why companies have to make sure to provide their clients with the opportunity to get in touch with the wholesale in ways that are most convenient for them.
Whether it’s a website, an email, live chat, phone, SMS or a social media channel.
If your clients get consistent support through all of these channels they’ll become recurrent customers, but fail to provide them with what they need and they will go to another vendor.
Don’t believe us?
The Aberdeen report shows that companies who rely on the omnichannel approach retain 89% of their customers, while those that fail to provide consistent support only retain about 33% of their clients.
8. Centralized Product Management System
The multitude of selling channels and payment systems has made keeping track of orders, payments, and stocks more complex than ever.
That’s why many wholesale companies are looking for better ways to manage their product data.
Product management systems do just that. They keep all the information about orders, stocks, distributions, and all other data important for marketing and selling products through distribution channels in one place.
It’s not a surprise then, that product management systems are one of the hottest new B2B sales trends that many wholesale companies are looking into.
9. Real-Time integration
One of the reasons why companies like Amazon and Alibaba are doing so well is because they provide a bunch of real-time information to their users.
For example, when you go to either one of these platforms you will see, product details and price but also a bunch of other info like – how many products are left in stock, or shipping fees and expected delivery dates.
Having this information at hand will help your customers plan their order and their business. It will stop them from having to call a sales rep for checking the available quantities and a delivery date.
But having real-time updates is also beneficial for the wholesale company. It will help you keep track of all of your orders and sales and help you micromanage your stocks.
A smart product catalogue uses real-time data to increase productivity and the number of orders from a specific client.
10. Mobile Apps for Wholesale
The global app frenzy has reached its peak, with an increasing number of people ordering anything from pizza to retail supplies via their smartphones.
There aren’t many mobile apps for wholesale on the app stores at the moment, but considering all the benefits they provide, that’s expected to change rapidly.
Mobile apps can be equally useful to your customers and your sales reps.
A mobile app for customers can act as a digital catalog of your products, a place where they can see pictures, product details or order products straight from their phone.
Since people will be able to easily make a purchase on the go, their consumer satisfaction will increase and before you know it they’ll be a loyal client and a valuable advocate for your brand.
But mobile apps can also help your sales team close a deal and keep track of their orders. Having a mobile app with an array of information about the product will help them easily find answers to customers’ questions or important info that will help them make the sale.
Having a wholesale mobile app can also help sales reps take notes, store data and keep track of their deals in an instant, by adding the details or their orders into the app over their phone.
Small changes make a big difference
Wholesale industry today is working in a much different environment than merely a few years ago and every company has to adapt to avoid bankruptcy.
All these changes can seem intimidating for a wholesale company, but if they are done in a proper and timely fashion they can help you boost sales, increase your revenue and stay ahead of the competition.
Now that you know all about the hot new B2B sales trends everyone will soon be using it’s up to you to face the challenges ahead and take actions. Review your current business, see what’s lacking and find the right solution for your brand.
If there’s a product management system or an omnichannel solution you’ve wanted to try out, now it’s the right time to get it.
If your sales reps are finding it hard to adjust to their new roles, provide some assistance and make it happen.
Remember, consumers wait for no one. You can either act fast or get left behind.
Intelisale is more than a B2B sales software, we want to be your partner. And if you would like to learn more, you can always request a quick demo.