Prepping for the Iron Man Competition
So in my last blog, “It’s 2013…How fit is your organization?”, I challenged businesses on whether they have the essential tools necessary to run a lean and healthy e-savvy business. Did you check off all the items on the e-business fitness chart to see if your organization is on the right track to a winning e-commerce strategy?
If you did and your company passed with flying colors, that’s great as that’s right where you need to be to start driving top-line benefits and maximizing e-commerce ROI.
But have you asked yourself how many other businesses—including your competitors—have scored high on the fitness chart as well? Chances are, you are not alone. Just because your organization is considered “e-commerce fit”, that doesn’t mean that you can kick back and not make an effort to maintain that fitness level and stay healthy.
If you are passive with your e-commerce approach—stuck in the “Reactionary” or “Exploring” levels of the e-commerce maturity curve that I have previously mentioned— then you are suffering from the e-commerce plateau.
Similar to your physical fitness and workout routines, if you don’t constantly seek new ways to challenge yourself and discover new cardio and strength training regimens, your body will hit a plateau and become stagnate. There’s no additional weight loss, minimal gain in muscle definition, you no longer get any stronger, and you’re unmotivated to continue with your program.
This, too, can happen to your company if you don’t constantly stay on top of your e-commerce approach and ahead of your competition. Those more e-savvy and eager competitors will leave you in the dust for sure. So how can you avoid the plateau? How can you continue to grow stronger and be fit enough to compete in the Iron Man Competition and come out a champ?
As more and more organizations are starting to embrace and recognize just how important e-commerce tools are to their business, simply having and implementing the tools is no longer enough. Yes, that’s an important foundation, but competitive and knowledgeable companies (whom are categorized as “aggressive adopters”) are taking the approach to the next level. They are seeing that with the help of online tools and e-commerce channels, not only can it help save a company major bottom line dollars, it can also eliminate the manual and paper-based transactions and monotonous order taking portion of the job—freeing up sales personnel to focus more on forming strategic partnerships with their customers rather than just traditional selling and customer support.
In turn, this leads to happier customers and stronger business relationships. Companies can enhance their competitive differentiation through increased productivity of their sales and account management teams. By advancing their sales team’s talents and approach, they can empower salespeople to take on new tasks and roles.
A leading example of a company that has kept their competitive edge through honing their e-commerce approach is SHI International, a business that believes customer service and account management is just as important as embracing and utilizing e-commerce tools. Watch the video to hear how online channels have changed the way they sell and how account executive Tammy Wagner builds loyalty with strategic accounts by continually seeking new ways to add value.
The reality is that sellers are increasingly called on to work with customers to help solve their business problems, forcing them to no longer just approach customers as a product-oriented sales approach, but more as a solution-oriented one. Those best at doing so are most likely to attain preferred vendor status—staying ahead of the competition, ready and equipped to be the next e-commerce Iron Man champ!