10 Things Sales Order Management Technology Should Do For You
Combining mobile order writing technology, web-based order management, B2B eCommerce, and integration with back office systems into one complete solution, sales order management software has the power to completely transform the way wholesale businesses work and serve their customers. Not all platforms are made equal, however. Here are 10 basic things your solution should accomplish easily:
What Sales Order Management Software Should Do for You
1. Completely replace paper.
From massive catalogs to order forms, line sheets, and price lists, your wholesale business has likely built up quite the paper trail. First and foremost, sales order management technology should eliminate any need for paper in your sales process. A robust mobile order writing solution will allow your reps to sell from a rich digital catalog, including product descriptions, images, and pricing. It should also store all of your customer contact information, eliminating the need for business card bowls and printouts. Sales reps should be able to write any order on a mobile device, without ever having to touch a pen or carbon paper order form.
2. Integrate seamlessly with existing systems.
Most wholesalers are running their businesses on complex Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP systems. Your sales order management solution, therefore, should be able to seamlessly integrate with your ERP through an open API. A vendor should also offer the ability to import and export data (both manually and automatically, if needed) for those who prefer to use it as a standalone platform.
3. Allow you to import past orders.
After completing your initial import of products and customer information, the last thing you want to do is start from scratch––with none of your past or existing orders in the system. In order to take full advantage of the platform (to allow reps to see customer order history, most ordered items, etc.), you should be able to import these past orders, so you have a comprehensive view of your business from the start.
4. Allow for offline mobile ordering.
From retail stores to convention halls, Internet access is not a constant on the road. Some sales order management solutions do now allow for offline use––a major deal breaker for most wholesalers. Sales reps must be able to access their product catalog, write orders, and continue to do their jobs, no matter the location.
5. Give retailers the ability to place an order 24/7.
B2B buyers are increasingly demanding the convenience of eCommerce in their work lives. Giving your retailers access to an online B2B portal where they can place reorders at their convenience is key to building an effective omni-channel strategy that not only creates a much better customer experience for your retailers, but also a steadier stream of re-orders and healthier cash flow.
6. Be intuitive enough for easy adoption.
Look for a sales order management platform that is easy to use––this may be the most important point on this list. The last thing you want to do is invest in a solution, only to have it be so clunky (or the learning curve so high) that your sales reps or back office team refuses to use it. 7. Provide data-driven insights to drive more sales. A sales order management solution should treat your data as building blocks, not just information in a repository. It should be able to use order history and sales performance data as a foundation for useful insights (customer reporting, product popularity, trade show sales, sales rep performance, etc.) that will help you make more sales and better serve your customers.
8. Keep your data secure.
Any software vendor should be committed to keeping your data safe. This has to do with data redundancy, or the ability to have multiple failures at the data level without losing any of the information critical to your business.
9. Scale with your business.
Imagine this: you’ve been using this technology for a few months without any problems. As you add more additional products, new customers, and order data (as sales are made every day), however, the app begins to crash. It can’t handle your sales volume. A sales order management platform should be able to scale and grow with your business, no matter how big it gets.
10. Improve the customer experience.
Ultimately, the purpose of this technology is to optimize the experience for your sales reps, and by extension, your customers. By driving the sales conversation with useful information and removing much of the minutiae of manual order writing and data entry, sales order management technology should increase customer loyalty, retention, and lifetime value.