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It’s 2013…How fit is your organization?

The eCommerce Scale

6 steps to a more lean and healthy e-savvy business

‘Tis another year and just like many people who listed improved physical fitness and a healthier lifestyle on their new year’s resolution list, have you taken the time to assess just how fit your business is in the networked economy? Is your manager and your manager’s manager placing pressure on you to make 2013 business goals to “cut out the calories, trim the fat, build lean muscles and have a healthy heart”?

If you’re like most others, your new MBOs consist of cutting costs, trimming out the counter-productive, tedious manual labor, building out an efficient infrastructure and fail-proof process to streamline business as well as creating, nurturing and cultivating healthy customer relationships and, in effect, healthier sales revenue.

Does your company have what it takes? Have you equipped your duffle bag with the essential tools necessary to run a lean and healthy e-savvy business? To get a baseline to start, let’s go down the e-business fitness chart to see if your organization is on the right track to a winning e-commerce strategy.

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So just where do you stand? Did you check off mostly “passed” or “failed?” Is your blood pressure rising by the second as you review this checklist because you don’t know which box to check? Do you find e-commerce and online tools too complicated and confusing to understand? Or, even yet, perhaps you are aware of the importance of this, but you run into difficulty explaining and convincing upper management for buy-in to embrace all of this?

According to the Sales 2.0 Study – B2B Selling and Social Commerce companies fall in one of the four categories below depending on their level of experience, the implementation and support strategies they use, and their degree of engagement in online channels such as EDI, supplier networks, web storefronts, and digital marketing.

§  Reactionary – Businesses involved in e-commerce only in a reactionary mode, because “they had to.”

§  Exploring – Companies engaged in e-commerce, but mainly as separate, one-off projects.

§  Proactive – Organizations that have established processes, infrastructure, and resources to support the e-commerce channel in a programmatic manner.

§  Aggressive Adopter – Companies that are aggressively expanding the e-commerce channel as an important growth opportunity and are encouraging their customers to adopt as well.

The closer you are to becoming an “Aggressive Adopter” and utilizing the power of the online channel to enhance profitability, the more financially healthy your company can be. Over 65% of respondents in the study stated that e-commerce efforts had increased revenue from both new and existing customers.

In addition, a comprehensive e-commerce approach can also drive top-line benefits, which include happier customers and stronger relationships due to enhanced customer satisfaction, greater customer traction, and higher productivity in sales and account management.

So for those who are striving to compete in the next Iron Man Competition, or at least be fit enough to check off all the items listed on the e-business fitness chart, follow these six steps that will start you on the right track!

1.     Embrace online and e-commerce channels – establish clear business objectives for online initiatives and recruit executive buy-in.

2.     Adopt new ways to reach clients – explore innovative solutions and implement new ways of connecting with customers.

3.     Hire the right skill sets – assess and adjust competencies required to sell effectively.

4.     Grow your teams’ sales skills and tactics – recognize the need to re-engineer sales skills to accommodate today’s volatile marketplace.

5.     Improve account targeting efforts – utilize e-commerce tools to help obtain a high degree of accurate information to better reach customers.

6.     Evolve from a “product” to a solution sales approach – attain preferred vendor status with customers by shifting from product-feature-benefit to a more solution-oriented approach.

Just like your own personal diet and exercise regimen, patience and perseverance will be needed in order to succeed. Hang in there and power through it, as the payoff and benefits will be well worth it. An as a bonus, you’ll definitely look more attractive to your customers…now who wouldn’t want that?

Cheers to 2013 and a lean, mean e-commerce machine!

About the author
Jeanne Trinh
Jeanne Trinh

Jeanne Trinh is Senior Manager of Seller Marketing and Communications, focusing her efforts on helping sellers gain more exposure and raise higher visibility on the Ariba Network. Huge on seller advocacy, she develops a variety of marketing assets... Read More >>>


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