Corporate portal for business - powerful growth of B2B sales
Progress keeps going forward and if you want to be at the top, you need to become a digital company. Implementation of B2B systems into business processes and moving to digital is becoming a necessity, even if employees or customers have some distrust of innovations.
For the healthy competition, large B2B companies (distributors, dealers) and manufacturers need to provide customers with effective online work tools: user-friendly catalog, personalized personal account and price lists, individual visualization of product items, configurable access rights, integration with internal and external systems, EDI (electronic data interchange). The in-house B2B system provides such possibilities.
A B2B portal is an online trading platform that automates the interaction of manufacturer, distributor, and customer (legal entities, corporate clients) and digitalizes b2b wholesale sales. AGORA was one of the first companies to introduce this term to the business IT landscape and to develop a business-oriented platform on the basis of which we implement professional B2B portals.
Thus, a portal for B2B sales evolved from CMS (Content Management System) and online shops/websites with a lack of functionalities for B2B business. Before the advent of the B2B platform, scaling and increasing the customer base could lead to communication gaps between the salesperson and the client, and mistakes due to human factors. A B2B platform shortens the sales process, which usually follows the routine scheme with many iterations: salesperson - price list mailing - order, stock reservation, calls - sending paper documentation. If there are hundreds or thousands of clients, this workflow reduces the effectiveness of the sales department.
How a B2B portal automates sales processes: goals and benefits
How can I understand that it's time to implement your own B2B portal? It's simple:
- If the number of SKUs and product categories grows, while their manual processing becomes inconvenient and impractical;
- If the customer base increases, and you need to increase the loyalty of existing and new customers;
- If the salespersons’ workload grows every day, sales efficiency reduces, and at the same time it is important to optimize the cost of staff expansion;
- If there is a need for customer behavior analytics tools for better development of assortment strategy;
- If the company keeps developing and plans to scale up the business.
In addition, B2B portals of large FMCG networks are gaining popularity for introducing new products under private label model and other models. In this case, a B2B portal can successfully function as a convenient online system to work with distributors who do not use an EDI provider.
A b2b system has an impressive range of features to reach the goals listed above. Its main purpose is to automate routine tasks of the sales department which take up to 60% of working time and other business processes, to establish better interaction with customers for long-term partnerships.
The entire interaction process, from calling to closing a deal and signing documents, is fully digitalized, and the company gets the saved team resources. They can be used not exclusively to work with current clients, but also to increase the customer base and thus grow profits. Moreover, software for B2B sales permits increasing the existing sales team’s productivity without extending the staff on a regular basis.
Thus, for instance, AGORA optimized and structured the work of Dunlop Tires. With the implementation of the B2B portal, the company was able to increase revenue 5 times with the same number of employees. The company obtained its corporate sales portal with customized design and great usability, necessary product reservation, automatic collection of analytical data, and reports generation, a system that takes into account the particularities of the tire market.
The digital technologies of our own B2B sales platform allow:
- speed up wholesale order processing (by more than 35%) and customer service through integration with internal and external services (warehouse, ERP, CRM, etc.), making it easier to bring created orders to payment;
- improve the quality of customer service with the help of a customized personal account;
- expand marketing opportunities and communication with customers - they spend more time on the platform, see special offers, discounts, and promotions (through pop-ups, for example), and this increases the conversion rate and sales volume; it is also possible to send notifications (push and newsletter) and motivate them to increase the order under special conditions, stimulate cross-selling;
- minimize the number of errors when placing orders by synchronizing different databases and the ability to work within one window with different systems, importing data from various catalogs (customers can do everything on their own, without any help of a personal sales assistant);
- no more paperwork: all sales analyses, current stock balances, logistics, marketing, etc. - in your personal account.
Advantages for Professional B2B Portal Users and Owners
B2B orders follow a more complex pattern and require more time and effort than purchases in the B2C segment. Based on this, customers need to get convenient and effective tools that reduce the stages of order confirmation, checking the availability of goods, searching for analogs, negotiating, etc.
A well-designed and correctly implemented B2B platform satisfies the expectations of customers and simplifies their life, improves the quality of service, and provides the following functionality:
- Catalog with convenient search – individual product visualization, personalized assortment display and catalog type for different customers, product comparison based on the reference parameters; quick selection of the necessary items through the Elasticsearch’s smart search and search for analogs based on reference product cards.
- Special terms and personalized prices in your account: payment type, deliveries, coefficients, discounts, price customization, and price lists.
- Document flow (invoices, acts, specifications, commercial offers, etc.) is accelerated several times. On the platform, customers can not only quickly and independently export the necessary documents from their accounts. Cooperation agreements are also signed remotely using the electronic signature (it is possible to introduce a digital signature in the process of developing a B2B portal). There is no time referencing, if the participants in the transaction are situated in different time zones, there are no difficulties in receiving the signed document.
- The B2B electronic platform minimizes interpersonal interaction. The decision-making process is objective and transparent. The online platform helps to reduce possible misunderstandings or personal antipathy between the salesperson and the client. Buyers select necessary items in their online account without the participation of the salesperson.
- The opportunity to place orders outside the salesperson's working hours, 24/7, and work remotely from any location and even from a smartphone (it is also possible to implement a mobile B2B portal application). The mobile version of the AGORA B2B platform provides access to all the options of the desktop version.
- The opportunity to work directly with the supplier's warehouse through integration with SAP, Oracle, and other ERP systems.
- The opportunity to set up multi-level access rights and create accounts for employees. It is easy to manage the stages of orders, quickly change other settings and, if applicable, add the necessary business modules at any stage of the project.
By implementing corporate portal software, platform owners also gain competitive advantages:
- The influence of the salesperson-buyer relationship on the sales process is reduced. Also, the risk of customer base leakage is impossible, because all work with the client takes place directly within the platform. Data, order history, and transaction stages are stored within the system. And by setting up notifications and automating sales processes, the risk of losing documentation, missing deadlines, etc. is reduced to zero.
- The geographical presence in the markets expands.
- Sales scaling occurs without extra workload on the sales department.
- The platform gives the opportunity to test business hypotheses on various indicators (average check, product ratings, regularity of purchases). Here, the format of a platform designer with low-code implementation, including the home page designer of a B2B portal based on AGORA, is very time-saving and user-friendly. The home page designer allows the owner of the system to quickly and without any development change different content blocks on the portal’s home page through the admin panel: marketing banners, special offers, advertising notifications with the promotion of a particular product, display of the main menu, changing the position of different blocks on the page and so on. Thus, a full range of testing various business hypotheses opens up for the portal’s owner at a minimum time and the company's budget investments.
- Increased customer loyalty. The company is getting closer to B2B buyers, and all the benefits listed above, of course, have a positive effect on their loyalty.
As a result, the above-mentioned benefits for all parties of interaction give a powerful increase in B2B sales.
B2B online portal based on the AGORA platform
B2B portals are able to cover the needs of multiple market niches (automotive industry and heavy engineering, construction, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, banking, and others). Each niche has its own rules and particular patterns of interaction, which are taken into account in the implementation process of a B2B system based on the AGORA platform.
The introduction of an online B2B platform for wholesale sales digitization affects many business processes in the company. Developing a corporate sales portal can be costly without professional assistance and modern solutions.
The most effective method of creating a B2B portal is to develop the project based on the Agora platform due to its availability (SaaS subscription or purchase of an on-premise license – with installation in the client’s infrastructure), ease of customization for any specific company and many years of experience implementing complex eCommerce products. The AGORA team understands well the specifics of B2B portals in various industries.
A B2B portal based on the AGORA platform is:
- cost-effective – the affordable cost of the ready-made solution;
- fast – the AGORA team promptly launches the B2B portal. The automation systems can be deployed in just 14 days, and the architecture of the AGORA platform allows adaptations due to the API integration mechanism and low-code development;
- functional – we have ready-made solutions for different business segments. The out-of-the-box solution takes into account the needs and particularities of the niches, and also foresees the possibility of scaling, if necessary. The customers will receive their personal B2B buyer account with maximum customization, the ability to place orders at updated prices 24/7, and receive up-to-date product information. Our experts also offer onboarding – training for salespersons and customers (how to register, place an order, and receive documents). If necessary, it is possible to develop additional functionalities to cover administration needs.
- secure – the AGORA platform follows international data security standards.
The platform's flexible architecture allows making changes to the MVP product while testing hypotheses and receiving feedback from real customers. This is important because it solves the main problem when creating a B2B portal – being sought by users.
Digitalization of sales and optimization of the sales department workflow using a B2B portal result in an increase in the company's wholesale sales and expansion of its market presence, improve service, and provide opportunities for development and rapid scaling.