One thing savvy business leaders realize is that the business world is in constant evolution, and that means a review/rethink of processes periodically to ensure that the right processes and tools are in place to improve productivity.
Technology, in particular, continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and if your business hasn’t taken a look at the various capabilities out there today, you may be hampering your ability to become more efficient by updating your business’ workflows.
Here are 5 ways you can streamline your workflows:
- Integrate your various systems
- Concentrate data into online solutions
- Set up automated workflows
- Enable self-service options for your customers
- Leverage solutions that support your entire team
Let’s review each topic in turn and discuss how your business can benefit.
Integrate Your Various Systems
When you have multiple solutions powering your business, it can be a challenge when data needs to live in more than one of them. Some businesses manually migrate data or re-enter them in another system, but that can be costly in terms of additional employee time invested in this effort, and run the risk of data errors that can mean things don’t properly match up during audits.
This is where integrations can be helpful to turn the tide on these issues. Leveraging integrations to bridge your eCommerce, accounting, CRM, ERP, and other critical business systems can make sure that data captured in one system can be reflected in another. For instance, if you use QuickBooks Online or Desktop, you can pass orders from many eCommerce systems directly into QuickBooks using Connex.
Many technology solutions either have existing integrations, third-party integrations, or APIs available to make these connections, so when building your technology stack you can review what plays well together in the technology world to ensure that you can get these solutions up and running together with limited effort required.
Concentrate Data Into Online Solutions
Even though technology options continue to grow and mature, there are a lot of businesses that take orders in a variety of old school ways – via email, phone, pen and paper, and so on – that can be streamlined by simply shifting to using online solutions whenever possible.
For instance, when a sales rep is in the field or on the phone, they could have a Sales Rep App that allows them to directly input the data into an online ordering system in real-time, instead of writing down information and transcribing it later. Aside from avoiding those data entry errors mentioned before, it can streamline the process by already having the orders in the system in real-time, instead of later in the day or when they catch everything up.
Empowering your team to save steps and make capturing orders easier can also help you grow your sales without needing more salespeople, a helpful way to maintain your momentum.
Set Up Automated Workflows
Once you’ve got your orders flowing into your online solutions, and have everything integrated, making sure you have automated workflows will also reduce your team’s internal labor requirements while giving customers the best service possible.
For instance, if you have an invoice generated in QuickBooks, and it gets paid, your workflows can mark the order paid in the eCommerce system. That way, when your customers log in, they can see the payment reflected on their order, reducing questions and affirming the steps taken on an order.
If items are shipped and marked as such in an ERP system, it too can reflect in your order system with automated workflows. And when orders come in from your customers or sales people, with the need to generate an invoice, it can be pushed out to accounting software like QuickBooks to generate an invoice to the customer automatically.
Enable Self-Service Options for Your Customers
Increasingly, your customers will have had more and more experience making purchases online, whether for themselves at home or for their business at work. As such, ensuring your system can empower your customers to make purchases can take the pressure off of the sales team to have to guide every order, especially when the orders are repeat purchases, things that are easy to identify, and so on.
This means selecting self-service eCommerce technology that can show customers their own pricing, group buyers into various categories (such as direct to consumer vs. wholesale), customizing of payment options based on customer type, offering more forward-thinking payment types such as Buy Now Pay Later options (including Net Terms), and more.
While many of these capabilities are pretty mature in B2C eCommerce solutions, options like Zoey B2B Commerce can even offer these capabilities, and more, for B2B and wholesale businesses, in ways that allow distributors, wholesalers, and brands to take advantage of these same efficiencies that online B2C businesses have enjoyed for some time.
Leverage Solutions that Support Your Entire Team
Nowadays, online solutions aren’t just the domain of one or two team members. A diverse array of your company’s team will have requirements, including:
- Customer Service
Making sure each stakeholder on your team can access what they need from these systems, and can get their jobs done on a day-to-day basis, can ensure that everyone can work together more efficiently, reducing the amount of back and forth internally and allowing everyone to get more done with their day.
When reviewing new solutions, such as eCommerce, it helps to review what capabilities are available and decide what’s needed for the business, as well as think about what you might want to accomplish in the near future, so you can also select options that won’t instantly box you in, and that you’ll outgrow too quickly.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to periodically need to review, and revise, their technology stack, but if you’re doing this more than every few years, you probably are not thinking far enough out to ensure you’ll be taken care of for awhile. Making good decisions on technology solutions can reduce a lot of headache down the road, allowing your team to stay focused on growing the business.
Zoey Can Help with B2B Commerce
If you’re looking to better manage sales for B2B and wholesale use cases such as brands, wholesalers and distributors with self-service or salesperson-driven sales, we can help you establish a more streamlined process using Zoey’s Web and App approach, allowing orders to be taken anytime, anywhere on any device.
Schedule a demo with our Success Team to learn how we can enable your business to succeed!