From offline to online sales: 7 tips for smooth transition
You might have spent years developing your business. Maybe you have a physical location, like a true brick-and-mortar store. However, you're starting to realize that if you want to keep going and expanding, you have to shift gears and move to the online. The world is evolving at a rapid pace, and customers have different expectations than 5 or even 2 years ago. At the beginning of 2020, our world looked completely different from now.
Has the business transition into modern times been overwhelming? The good news is that we are here to help. Switching from offline to online is a big step, but with Meetsales and the advice from this article, it becomes a piece of cake. Read on!
Why should you move your business from offline to online?
There are many reasons why digital transformation makes sense. The main one is the ability to reach a far larger audience. The internet is a huge marketplace where you can sell your products or services to people all over the globe. Even if you don't aspire to reach international clientele, you can definitely grow your customer base and become a market leader in your country or region. With an online presence and sales, you can go much further than your local shop.
Another tendency you should be aware of is the evolution of people's habits, preferences, and expectations. We were moving towards it even before 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic gave this change an enormous boost. With the skyrocketing of new technologies and the popularity of mobile devices, for a couple of years now clients have been searching for convenience. We all want the ability to get things done whenever and wherever we want.
eCommerce is one of the industries that was influenced the most during the last two years. According to McKinsey, every company that sells some goods or services can expect a 15-30% growth in online sales even after the pandemic is over. In their report Perspectives on retail and consumer goods, they also mention that we "we have covered a 'decade in days' in adoption of digital."
The same goes for B2B sales, where the shift was massive as well. It's not surprising, because before salespeople depended on offline meetings and other more "traditional" ways of doing business. Another McKinsey study shows, that "Buyers are more willing than ever before to spend big through remote or online sales channels, with 35 percent willing to spend $500,000 or more in a single transaction (up from 27 percent in February 2021). Seventy-seven percent of B2B customers are also willing to spend $50,000 or more". You have to remember that in order to reach out to them and make these transactions possible, you need a well-designed online space. Moreover, you have to research your customer’s preferred channels and find out what kind of experience will keep them happy and loyal, increasing your income at the same time.
7 tips for smoothly transitioning your business from offline to online
Let's now get ahead of ourselves. Here are 7 tips on how to smoothly transition from offline to online sales. We've organized them to give you an idea on where to begin, guiding you step by step what needs to be done.
Create a business strategy
If you want your business to thrive in the new environment, you have to start with a business strategy. You can't just create a website and expect it to go well. The crucial aspect here is understanding your "why". Do you want more customers? Are you looking for additional revenue streams? Or maybe it's time to take your enterprise to the next level? It's important to have a clear vision of what you want your company to look like in a few years.
Set attainable goals. Think about your products or services. Can you sell the same things as you did offline? Perhaps you have to adjust your offer to the new reality. Analyze your market potential and competitors, determine the target audience and find out your unique selling points. Depending on the size of your business, inventory, and team, you can pick various strategies best suited for the communication channels and types of potential clients.
Know your target customers
Digital transformation means you will stumble upon new clientele. They will probably differ from your offline customers. Entering new markets requires online audience analysis and creation of new customer profiles. Think of the internet as a one huge market filled with various types of customers you would never be able to reach with just an offline presence. We can’t stress enough that the "everyone is our client" approach is destined to fail. There is no enterprise that can satisfy every single customer, even if their product or service is quite universal.
Try to talk to your clients and find out what their expectations are. How do they feel about the new direction you want to take? There are two options. Your digital clients will either be similar to the offline ones, or they will be completely different. The first thing you should do is determine if your expansion can help you reach potential buyers that were not available because of their location.
Establish an online presence
To sell efficiently in a digital environment, you have to make your brand visible. First step? Creating a website that will present your offer and position you within search engines. Social media profiles are also good to have. They are perfect for executing marketing strategies and staying in touch with your audience. As a B2B distributor, you might be planning an eCommerce strategy. If you already started the analysis, you know how time and money consuming it might be. We recommend starting small. For example, implement Meetsales as your sales command center and test the grounds. Want to go bigger? Add an online shop based on a proven eCommerce platform like Spryker or Magento.
Remember to create and maintain a consistent tone of voice that is true to your company's values. People need to know that they are looking at your messages, no matter where they meet you. The marketing efforts should be in-sync with the sales department's activities to make sure the communication is excellent at all times. To do that, learn more about omnichannel sales and customer experience. It's a huge trend for remote B2B sales at the moment, so if you are at the beginning of your digital journey, it will surely be a game-changer.
Use the right tools
It is nearly impossible to handle customers and your online affairs without organizing your work using a well-prepared system. Meetsales is a perfect tool to support your sales because it's a one-stop shop for teams of all sizes and requirements. It will give you the possibility to control your clients' list, schedule video calls, present the offer, finalize transactions, process payments, and more. We've created our solution to help companies skyrocket their sales through remote work. No need to travel to meet up with your long-distance customers.
There are numerous advantages when it comes to using Meetsales by your salespeople. Our platform allows them to optimize their work, reduce costs and save time. You can check statistics, analyze data and make better decisions based on numbers and not your instincts. Moreover, if you want to take advantage of having more apps than just Meetsales, you can integrate them into one, robust platform that will automate certain tasks and give you insights into the entire sales process.
Take care of inventory
Going online could result in higher sales of your products and services quicker than before. This should strongly influence the way you think about your inventory. You might need a bigger warehouse and various, reliable shipping methods. You have to be 100% certain that your items are always in stock and that the delivery process is quick. With Meetsales, you can save a lot of money that would be spent on travel expenses, in-person meetings, car fuel, and maintenance. It could expand your budget for inventory improvements.
Also, before you even start digitizing your store, think about the products you sell now and see if you can offer more in an online space. You could potentially add more brands to your portfolio, or create bundles and additional services adjusted to your clients' expectations. There are various options you can introduce. If you do it early, you will give your online clients something special and gain a competitive advantage. You should also invest in a PIM platform that will help you manage content for large amounts of items from your product catalog. It’s the best way to get your online selling strategy in order and the first step towards the execution of your elaborate eCommerce strategy.
Provide data security
Processing payments and storing personal information in your database requires compliance with government regulations and industry standards. They can differ depending on the region you operate in. Avoiding data breaches is the best way to gain customers' loyalty and trust. You need a solid security strategy in place to make sure your company is prepared for all kinds of situations.
Remember about technicalities, too. Your website should have an SSL certificate, which encrypts data and adds a layer of protection for your visitors. One of the most crucial aspects of running secure B2B sales is to have a trusted payment gateway provider. With Meetsales, you can be sure all your transactions are safe. We integrate our tool with proven providers that offer stable payment processing and keep all the data from external parties.
Make constant effort
If you want to be successful at remote B2B sales, you have to create a sense of connection between your company and each customer. This means the ability to keep people interested in your offer and increased brand awareness. The sales process doesn't start when the client adds products to the cart or when they show up on a video call scheduled via Meetsales. It doesn't end after the payment is processed, either. The long-lasting business relationship is built from the first touchpoint to after the deal is closed. Such an approach can help you sell more because customers are way more likely to come back to you.
Thanks to our solution, you can always stay on top of your business affairs. You will exactly see which partners require a follow-up, who is willing to meet up soon, and which prospects are not promising at all. This way, your team will be able to react accordingly, learn from their mistakes, and improve their work along the way. They will become masters of remote B2B sales in no time, bringing your company higher profits as a result.
The digital revolution has changed the way we live. Organizations that want to grow, need to adapt. Whether you already run a traditional business and want to transition to online sales, or you are thinking about creating a B2B sales company from scratch, our tips from this blog post will definitely help with both. Regarding transitioning from offline to online, it's a chance to reevaluate your company's mission, shift its image, and rework an outdated business model. Meetsales can be used to coordinate these changes and help you seamlessly enter the world of remote sales.
Does our solution seem like something you've been looking for? Don't forget to schedule a demo and let us know what your plans are. We will gladly support you in making the first step towards a new way of offering products and services to the world. Sell more and better with Meetsales!