25 June 2024

Manufacturing: how and why to digitise sales

Manufacturing: how and why to digitise sales

Manufacturing: How and Why to Digitize Sales

In the era of globalization, companies face significant challenges every day in promoting and selling their products. International competition is becoming stronger, buyer loyalty is decreasing, and competing in international markets is getting more difficult. In many sectors, traditional promotion and sales channels are losing effectiveness and margins are increasingly slim.

The generational shift means that the new buyers companies encounter daily are those born after 1980 (Millennials and Gen Z). These new buyers are "digital natives" and are accustomed to using the internet for all aspects of life, both personal and professional. As a result of these dynamics, Gartner predicts that by 2025, about 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will take place through digital channels.

B2B purchasing behaviors are shifting towards a buyer-centric digital model, a change that has accelerated in the past two years. This implies that companies in all sectors need to initiate digital transformation projects that, within the context of Industry 5.0 processes, also bring marketing and sales processes to adopt new tools to compete successfully.

Generating Opportunities with Digital Channels

Using digital channels allows for more effective and efficient management of the sales process for all parties involved (manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers, large distributors, etc.). The buyer does not purchase for themselves but acts on behalf of the company they represent.

The digital revolution allows companies to adopt processes for generating potential leads and sales opportunities with digital marketing tools. The generated lead can be followed throughout their purchasing journey via marketing automation and CRM tools until they become a buyer, thanks to an Order Management system integrated with B2B eCommerce.

The term B2B eCommerce refers to the sale of goods or services through online transactions between businesses. B2B eCommerce is the exclusive and reserved side of online sales, dedicated to a limited number of appropriately qualified and profiled professional customers, to whom specific goods and services not intended for private customers are sold under particular conditions.

B2B eCommerce platforms can manage a wide range of products, from finished goods and spare parts to intermediate and semi-finished goods intended for further processing. Another element is the ability to manage fully customized products through configurators, allowing buyers to get exactly what they need based on their company's specific requirements. In this case, it is crucial to manage the Request for Quote (RfQ) as an opportunity in the CRM by the relevant sales representative.

A crucial aspect of this tool is the need for deep integration with existing ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and WMS (Warehouse Management System) systems. This integration enables smoother operations management, ensuring data synchronization and efficient inventory management, reducing errors, and improving overall efficiency.

Although B2B and B2C eCommerce may seem similar, there are fundamental differences:

  • Long-term relationships: B2B transactions often involve long-term relationships and complex contracts, while B2C sales are generally single and simpler.
  • Order volumes: B2B sales tend to have larger order volumes compared to B2C sales, which usually involve individual items or small orders.
  • Approval processes: B2B purchases often require more complex internal approval processes, which can involve multiple decision-makers.
  • Payment processes: B2B orders need dedicated payment methods that reflect the complexity of the transactions and the need to ensure the involved parties.

The Opportunity of B2B eCommerce

A B2B eCommerce can generate efficiency in processes and new business opportunities. B2B eCommerce offers a series of advantages that can turn challenges into opportunities:

  • Automation and efficiency: The automation of sales and order management processes reduces human errors, speeds up operations, and frees up resources that can be redirected to strategic activities.
  • Access to global markets: With an online presence, companies can expand their reach and reach customers worldwide, breaking down geographical barriers.
  • Better customer relationship management: B2B eCommerce platforms integrate CRM tools that help maintain and improve customer relationships through personalized communications and efficient customer service.
  • Data and analytics: B2B eCommerce platforms offer access to detailed data and analytics that help better understand customer behavior and optimize sales and marketing strategies.

AI in B2B Sales and eCommerce

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing sales processes and B2B eCommerce, offering advanced solutions to improve efficiency and personalization. AI can analyze vast amounts of data to predict market trends, optimize real-time pricing, and personalize customer purchasing experiences. Additionally, with chatbots and virtual assistants, companies can provide 24/7 customer support, quickly responding to inquiries and improving customer satisfaction. AI also enables marketing automation, creating more targeted campaigns and increasing lead conversion rates.

Perceived Limitations for Industrial Companies

So far, industrial companies, with few exceptions, have not yet become key players in digital channels. A lack of awareness of opportunities, difficulty in understanding the tools, and the absence of adequate strategic plans have significantly limited the use of digital channels for generating online sales.

Other elements that have hindered the adoption of B2B tools include:

  • Channel conflict: Companies fear that adopting digital channels may compromise traditional sales channels, causing internal conflicts and issues with distribution partners.
  • Catalog updates: Keeping product catalogs up-to-date and accurate can be a burdensome task, especially for companies with extensive product ranges.
  • Price management: Ensuring transparency and price competitiveness requires dynamic, real-time management, often not supported by traditional systems.
  • Order management: Efficient order management, from receipt to delivery, is essential to maintain customer satisfaction but can be complex without an adequate system.
  • Customer relationships: Maintaining strong relationships with customers and promptly responding to their needs is crucial, but can be challenging without advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools.

Overcoming Limitations and Seizing Opportunities

These obstacles can be easily transformed into opportunities. Automation and mechanical companies, in particular, can greatly benefit from adopting Advanced Order Management (AOM) and CRM systems, along with marketing automation:

  • Lead Generation: Using digital marketing tools for lead generation allows attracting and converting new customers more effectively, increasing sales opportunities.
  • Marketing Automation: Marketing automation allows creating targeted campaigns and managing leads more efficiently, improving the conversion of potential customers.
  • CRM: CRM solutions help maintain strong relationships with customers, providing a comprehensive view of interactions and enabling more personalized service.
  • AOM: Integrated order management systems. These systems allow more efficient and accurate order management, reducing errors and improving delivery times.

Who Has Already Adopted B2B eCommerce

Caterpillar: l'eCommerce per le attrezzature per il settore edile

Many industrial companies have already successfully transitioned to B2B eCommerce. Here are some success stories.

Caterpillar, 10 Million USD per Day with B2B eCommerce

Caterpillar's successful B2B eCommerce model, started a few years ago, is characterized by several key elements:

  • Creating integrated experiences: Caterpillar has worked to create integrated and seamless experiences for customers, helping them to be more efficient. This was achieved through the combination of spare parts, products, and services with the sale of the machine and integration with Cat Financial for financing options.
  • Expanded eCommerce portfolio: Caterpillar has expanded its eCommerce portfolio to include construction machinery, a complex process due to the high cost of the machines and the need to sell the value of the machine and give customers confidence in making an online purchase.
  • Collaboration with marketing managers: Caterpillar has collaborated with its marketing managers to create a marketing plan that introduced the new experience to users, which included a mix of paid media, social media, and email marketing.
  • eCommerce activity results: Caterpillar's eCommerce business model has been successful, with daily online sales of spare parts reaching 10 million dollars to dealers. The company now focuses on developing additional features that facilitate online search and purchase to ensure customers find the right parts and services for the job.
  • Digital integration with dealer network: Caterpillar focuses on creating greater visibility and last-mile delivery options through expanded digital integration with the dealer network via new APIs.
  • Investments in digital technology: Caterpillar invests significantly in digital technology and user experience management, including upgrading eCommerce platforms with cloud technology, creating a mobile app, and offering 24/7 customer service and support.

These elements have contributed to making Caterpillar's eCommerce model a success, achieving a revenue of 59.4 billion dollars in 2022 and daily online sales of spare parts reaching 10 million dollars to dealers.

Eltrasistemi, Over 80 Countries Reached with B2B eCommerce

Eltrasistemi is an Italian mechatronics company specializing in the design and production of OEM ticketing and motorized card solutions. Eltrasistemi focuses on creating innovative and technologically advanced products, with an emphasis on quality and safety. The company has a global presence with customers in over 80 countries reached through eCommerce and a distribution network covering various continents. Eltrasistemi stands out for its ability to offer customized solutions and support customers through excellent technical assistance.

Eltrasistemi uses its interactive website to generate leads and receive orders through the following strategies:

  • Offer personalization: The site allows companies to personalize offers for individual customers, increasing satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Optimized inventory management: Eltrasistemi's B2B platform efficiently manages inventory, improving supply management and product availability.
  • Online marketing: The company uses online marketing strategies such as paid advertising, content marketing, and search engine optimization to promote its B2B eCommerce.

Eltrasistemi's website is an innovative B2B platform that offers integrated technological solutions to help companies improve their global competitiveness. Thanks to its catalog, innovative products, and customer support services, Eltrasistemi generates leads and receives orders through online marketing strategies and optimized inventory management.

Rewix, the Solution

Rewix is a B2B eCommerce eXperience Platform that offers a comprehensive solution for companies looking to sell their products and services to other businesses. Rewix stands out for several key features:

  • Complete integration: Rewix integrates CRM, marketing automation, and other tools into a single platform, providing companies with a comprehensive solution for managing sales and customer relationships.
  • Advanced order management: The platform enables efficient order management, reducing errors and improving delivery times.
  • Tools for digital marketing: Rewix offers advanced tools for creating and managing marketing campaigns, enhancing the ability to attract and convert new customers.
  • Analytics and data: The platform provides access to detailed data and analytics, allowing companies to continuously optimize their sales and marketing strategies.

Over the past 8 years, up to December 31, 2023, Rewix has achieved extraordinary results that demonstrate its solidity, innovation, and scalability by managing for clients who have chosen this solution: 583,817,639 euros of GMV, 209,642 registered companies, 1,579,772 orders managed, 1,254,895 unique users, and 798,921 unique SKUs.

The Future of Sales is Online

The adoption of a B2B eCommerce solution and a platform like Rewix represents a significant opportunity for industrial companies to improve their sales processes and customer relationship management. By integrating advanced order management, CRM, and marketing automation tools, Rewix enables companies to overcome current challenges and seize opportunities offered by the global market.

Learn more about how Rewix can transform your company, explore the available solutions.

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