Designed E-Commerce Architecture & B2B/B2C Sales StrategyE-Commerce, Technology & Sales Strategy
- E-Commerce Architecture
- B2B2C & B2C Sales Strategy
- Voice of Customer
- User Journey Mapping
- Stakeholder Alignment
- Operations Transformation
A mid-market cleaning products manufacturer needed an ecommerce strategy and architecture that would bridge its existing B2B channels, successfully reach B2C consumers, and support a fragmented sales organization.
The company sought to implement a new, technology-enabled operating model where sales reps and business customers would have better technological support via a B2B ecommerce portal. In addition, a new B2C ecommerce capability would enable direct purchases by retail customers.
Discussions and interviews with select sales reps and business customers were conducted to gather detailed input, determine required flow and functionality, and help reassure stakeholders that the planned changes would support rather than replace existing relationships. This input was also leveraged to design a leading-edge, competitive advantage-creating ecommerce architecture.
The new technology-supported operating model would require a number of changes by corporate staff, sales representatives, and business customers. However, the company operated in multiple, sometimes conflicting channels, and sales representatives had varying degrees of incentives to cooperate with the changes. In addition to determining the right technologies for the organization, sales rep and other stakeholder concerns had to be clearly addressed as they would make or break the effectiveness of the new operating approach and technologies.
- Sales representative alignment::
B2B sales reps were extremely fragmented with major differences in incentives by industry group. Additionally, some reps had contracts that effectively acted as union agreements and many reps were not technology savvy. This made conveying the new technology-enabled plan and its benefits particularly challenging as some sales reps saw it as a threat that might replace them.
- Stakeholder interviews and surveys::
Given that the technology and B2B portal would support both sales reps and their business customers, customer input was needed for incorporation into the architecture and process design. However, direct contact with business customers sometimes added to the view by some reps that the portal would replace them.
- Technology definition and implementation plan::
The company had a mix of antiquated systems as well as some new systems that were already in work. All of these factors had to be considered in identifying gaps between the current state and the future state vision and architecture. The implementation plan also needed to achieve go-live within 18 months.
The approach began with a focus on B2B channels and identifying needs of sales reps and their business customers. The sales organization was segmented into groups based on industry and contract-types which served as a proxy for degree of resistance or willingness to change. B2C best-practices and retail user studies were simultaneously incorporated into the overall ecommerce architecture.
- Methodical capture of sales and customer perspectives::
Sales reps were strategically selected based on their understanding of and receptiveness to the changes, the business customers in their region, and their ability to act as ambassadors and influencers to other sales reps. Interviews and ride-alongs were conducted with these sales reps and select business customers to gather detailed input. User journey mappings, voice of customer analysis, and customer personas were developed from these interviews for use in feature and architecture definition and for the subsequent user interface design phases.
- Ecommerce architecture that drives a competitive advantage::
E-commerce best practices were combined with analysis of existing capabilities and stakeholder inputs to define an optimal feature set that would support both the B2B and B2C channels. This architecture was also explicitly designed to create a competitive advantage by addressing unmet customer desires and delivering an experience that would delight all users and drive greater customer affinity.
- Phased implementation strategically leveraging influencers::
An implementation plan with a phased rollout was developed to reduce risks by conducting full operational testing with core groups of stakeholders before the formal go-live date. Also, a strategically progressive roll-out was designed to incorporate feedback in an agile manner while prompting user experiences and excitement to reach subsequent, more resistant stakeholder groups in advance.
Increased revenue is anticipated through dramatically improved sales enablement and customer affinity with an anticipated ROI of 12-18 months.
- Leading-edge e-commerce architecture that generates a competitive advantage
- Technology-enabled sales strategies delineated by channel
- Anticipated revenue boost driven by sales enablement and customer affinity