Computer retailers (system houses) are essential partners, when it comes to the digitalization and sustainability of your business. However, especially in the sales sector, many distributors lack a concrete plan in order to realize this transformation. How can it still work?
Process optimization vs. customer service: A dilemma.
One thing is clear: Without an integration between its own system and the system of the distribution and the customers, a system house will have a hard time competing. Many IT service providers are concerned: How can one improve own processes without impacting the customers in a negative way?
Taking into account that excellent customer service is one of the unique selling points, these concerns are definitely legitimate. What everyone is looking for is a win-win-situation: The process of the purchasing departement from customer side as well as the sales process at the system house should be smoothly and digitally connected.
B2B customers expect to shop without any detours
Every firm is unique when it comes to IT demands and its technological infrastructure. However, one thing everyone has in common: They are in need of straightforward shopping solutions and a partner that assists them with their digitalisation. On the one hand they want to act independently when carrying out recurring purchases like expendable items, on the other hand, they enjoy the consulatation of their service provider when it comes to new, complex IT projects.
Whoever is under the impression that digitalisation ends with PDF documents and offerings via e-mail is surely mistaken. Nowadays, shared work with tools like Google Drive allow for a much more effective work progress. Interactivity allows the customer to make decisions faster and shortens the purchasing process.
Furthermore, internal approval procedures concerning IT acquisitions have been implemented by many firms as well as the consideration of many economic aspects such as obtaining different offerings. In order to do this efficiently, many businesses use their own digital systems which have to be taken into account as well.
Then there are the wholesalers and the system house itself. The data of the purchase order has to be prepared for the distributor system. Afterwards, their response has to be prepared for the procurement systems used by the system house – a process that proves to be vey time-consuming.
Competing with the big fish
The big fish in the industry are showing how it is done: Businesses like Bechtle and CANCOM provide their customers with a modern, flexible shopping environment which perfectly integrates the necessary customer and supplier system. The development of such a complex solution is only made possible by considerable, internal resources. This can hardly be implemented by small and medium-sized system houses – they simply lack the necessary ressources for such a complex project. This is where powerful cloud applications prove to be very useful, providing the small and medium-sized system houses with the ability to offer such services to their customers, without changing the budget or taking care of the infrastructure.
A well thought-out plan is the key!
In order to be competitive in the enterprise industry, you have to be tactical. But how? By collecting all requirements and work through all of them using the waterfall approach? This can hardly be called efficient.
How about a clearly defined, well thought out masterplan with clearly defined steps ahead? Through agile methods, selected customers can be involved in an early stage and iterative workflows allow for quick and measurable results. This plan should always focus on the main objective: Process optimization, one that helps the business and the customer alike.
The connection of ones own processes and systems with the customers´and distributors´ systems can free up resources that can be rather used for strategic consulting and customer service instead. In doing so system houses can achieve long lasting customer relationship and client loyalty.
Process optimization vs Customer Service: A dilemma?
The challenges of digital transformation are tremendous and the process might often seem like an uphill battle. But the transformation can be done efficiently. In order to stay focused it might help to concentrate on these five key aspects:
- Customer Analysis: Understanding your customer should be the base of all digitalization efforts. Which individual demands do your customers have and can some of them be grouped together?
- Creating a unique shopping experience: In order to achieve a lasting customer relationship, providing a generic online store is no longer enough. Contact and offer possibilities, real time information, multi suppplier networks, the integration of internal systems (for example via OCI) are all viable options in order to create a better and more efficient user experience.
- Connecting internal customer systems: This step gives the client the opportunity to manage all data within their own ERP system, guaranteeing an automatic exchange of information. Pre-built, third party interfaces can be a quick solution that allows both parties to save time and money.
- Automated order processes: The customer should be able to transmit data to a wide array of suppliers without having to worry about interfaces.
- Data Loop: In order to complete the data lifecycle, data being provided by suppliers has to go back to customers as well as its own core system.
The ideal solution for a system house
The steps listed above can be quite challenging when done on its own. In order to simplify things, ITscope is offering the B2B Suite, a new cloud service, manufactured specifically for medium sized system houses. It will provide its users all of the above tools and components:
- Digital sales tool with a direct connection to customer and supplier systems
- Flexible creation of a customized shopping environments for B2B customers
- Intuitive and easy to learn set up – no technical know-how needed
- Dedicated portal for customers– with adabtabe design and and customized category and price structure
- Online offering system with the possibility to make changes and leave comments
- Digital order routing to over 370 fully integrated ITK suppliers for a fully automated sales process
- Promotional content for over 3 million different ITK products
- Direct integration and pre-built interfaces to many of the leading ERP systems
Download our guide and learn how to successfully sell to your b2b customers in only 5 steps >>