Sam Bayer


B2B e-Commerce Steps to Success

The last time I referenced an Aberdeen Report on eCommerce (Aberdeen Report on SaaS ROI) was in March of 2009. That’s pretty close to forever in our business.  Last week a candidate who is interviewing for a sales position sent me a follow up email that included a reference to a fairly new Aberdeen report entitled “Steps to Success in B2B eCommerce” (candidates take notice, bonus points given for delivering value during the hiring process!).  You can get your own free copy at the Aberdeen Group website or I’ll make it easy for you by allowing you to just click for it here.

This report answers two questions for the B2B eCommerce professional:

  1. Why should your firm aspire to become a Best in Class B2B eCommerce provider?
  2. What are the top 5 things that the Best in Class do in order to lead the pack?

First let me dangle the carrot.

Reasons to aspire to become a Best in Class B2B eCommerce Provider

The Aberdeen Group surveyed 163 companies for this 2015 study.  While I’ll let you go to the original report for the numbers, here is a list of the headline benefits that Best in Class B2B eCommerce providers enjoy:

  • Much greater customer retention rates.
  • Far greater year over year corporate revenue growth.
  • Huge gains in year over year customer satisfaction.
  • Dramatic year over year gains in on-time order fulfillment.

If those benefits aren’t enough for you, the report goes on to drill down into the next level of benefits Best in Class B2B eCommerce providers experience over their peers:

  • Greater conversion of website visitors into buyers
  • Much reduced time to launch new products into the market
  • Significantly reduced number of abandoned shopping carts
  • Enhanced engagement with your customers

So if you’re not interested in making more money, having happier customers and becoming a more efficient organization operating at lower costs, read no further.  If, on the other hand, you’re ready to take your organization, and your career, to the next level, then read on.

5 Best Practices to get B2B eCommerce Right

Aberdeen defines 5 pillars of success for the B2B eCommerce organization.  Again, for details on each of these I refer you to the report itself, but here are their 5 pillars and my comments on the ones I think are most critical:

  1. Effective integration with back-end systems – I love the fact that this was Aberdeen’s highest priority.  I think it’s safe to say that there is no supplier in the SAP space that can claim tighter out of the box integration with SAP ERP than Corevist…including our friends at hybri$.  In fact, I’ll offer a 100% money back guarantee that no one in the industry can integrate their B2B eCommerce website to SAP faster than we can.How fast can we do it?  Give us VPN (virtual private network) access to your SAP landscape and you are processing and tracking orders, with full adherence to your SAP business rules and leveraging all of your SAP content, within 24 hours.Throwing. Down. The gauntlet.
  2. Guided search for finding information.
  3. Use of effective technology tools to make the buyer’s job easier.
  4. Utilize the vast content from all of your systems to create unique and engaging customer experiences that maximize your business results.
  5. Get IT out of building everything.  This pillar has also been at the core of Corevist’s strategy from day one.  We’ve seen the drag that an overburdened, underskilled and unresponsive IT organization can have on a company’s B2B eCommerce initiative.One recent war story, that I unfortunately had a gruesome ringside seat to, involved a company who made the migration to SAP two years ago.As the all too common storyline goes, in the migration process they lost their legacy B2B eCommerce website. IT promised that they would rebuild their B2B eCommerce website as soon as things “settled down” from the conversion.A year later, an ignored and frustrated business team got in touch with us to take advantage of our “90 days to production” offer.

    Yet another year later, still filibustered by IT, the corporate decision was to go with the “safe” decision and they committed to implementing hybri$. While they still don’t have a project plan or committed golive date (their corporate website says “stay tuned, we’re working on it”), we all know that they’re at least a year away from a soft launch.  So my math says that this company’s customers will be without a B2B eCommerce website for at least 3 years.

    The silver lining to the story is at least their customers are enjoying the benefits of getting to know their CSR’s better :-).

    How do you think this company fares in the category of customer satisfaction?

    As an aside, I will tell you that I’ve had many meetings with their business folks and they are great advocates for their customers.  They get it.  The problem is with their IT organization who prefers to build the Taj Mahal as opposed to adding immediate value to their customers.  I wish them luck and am staying in touch with them because we love rescue projects :-))

    The moral of the story, and to paraphrase the Aberdeen report, everyone should play to their strengths.

    Let IT own and manage what they do best…their SAP system and landscape.

    Let the business own and manage what they do best…their brand, product management and merchandising.  That’s why we’ve standardized on Magento, the industry’s #1 eCommerce platform.

    And as we would promote, choose a business partner that will own and manage the commodity part of your eCommerce infrastructure:shopping cart, integration to SAP, security, availability, performance monitoring and ongoing enhancements.

    Everyone delivers to their core competencies in a well orchestrated solution.

I highly recommend this Aberdeen report.  It isn’t yet another recycled view that B2B needs to be more like B2C, although it does a bit of that.  To their credit, they have uncovered what we’ve known for quite awhile…your SAP ERP system needs to be the starting point for your B2B eCommerce initiative and IT needs to reinvent their role in the emerging era of digital commerce.