The Brainstorm: How to Plan for E-Commerce Sales Strategies

You no longer have to depend on finding good salespeople who can hit the numbers through their connections.

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The WBSRocks e-commerce roundtable features industry experts sharing their perspectives on issues critical to the manufacturers' e-commerce journey. In this issue, we ask: how to plan for e-commerce sales strategies to meet your sales goals.

If you have been selling through traditional channels and recently started on your D2C or e-commerce journey, you might struggle to understand how you will meet your numbers. While the fundamentals remain the same in both modes, the strategies may slightly differ.

However, if you master the nuances of e-commerce, this channel may be far easier to scale and provide a real competitive advantage. It is because you no longer have to be dependent upon finding good salespeople who can hit the numbers through their connections.

Sam Gupta, Principal Consultant, ElevatIQ

In the traditional model as a VP of sales, if you had to bring $10 mil in sales, you probably would hire ten guys with a $1 million quota and design territories accordingly. You will then start measuring and using several tactics such as compensation, discounts, and promotions to improve the performance of non-performing territories. To come with a quota for the year, you might review existing customers, assign expected revenue from each of them, and perhaps add a quota for expected net-new sales targets.

By contrast, e-commerce planning may feel overwhelming as it's not as straightforward, but you have far more data available for each SKU and its channels. For example, you might want to segment each customer group per SKU. Then you might want to work backward to estimate additional traffic you need to meet the numbers for net-new sales. You might also need to analyze if you feel confident in getting the same numbers from your existing customers this year. If not, you need to accommodate for variability.

When it comes to execution in the traditional model, you may have monitored far fewer KPIs, such as # of leads, # of quotes, deal size, and # of closed opportunities. On the other hand, the new world requires you to monitor metrics such as # of visitors, # of conversions, abandoned cart, and average order value. As you would follow up with the customers with past quotes and opportunities when you are short on numbers in the traditional model, you need to do email campaigns with customers with past abandoned carts to bring them back in the funnel in the new model.

The more you analyze in the world of e-commerce, the more opportunities you will find to meet your numbers and introduce newer products and services to build that revenue engine that may not be as easy in the traditional model.

Kristina Harrington, President, GenAlpha

When it comes to e-commerce B2B sales strategies, we have to start with the fundamentals of a good e-commerce site. First, you need to identify your customer personas and map the customer journeys. Then you need to reduce the friction in the buying process as B2B buyers are looking for a faster, safer, and easier way to do their job.

Over time, you will gather insights about products, buyers, promotions, returns, and channels, in both scenarios, whether each of them performs or not. These insights can help you understand if you need a better inventory plan, a different price point, better content, or improved product promotions. As you continuously analyze customer buying patterns and behaviors, your ability to forecast and execute your sales strategies will improve.

Eric Landmann, E-commerce Division Manager, Earthling Interactive

When it comes to sales strategies in the e-commerce world, start with data and analytics. Next, you need to research your target market and build a suite of tools that allows you to market to your customers.

To ensure you meet your targets, you need to make sure you have invested in inbound marketing, thought leadership, documentation, videos, and self-help information. Once you get sophisticated with your e-commerce sales strategies, you also have the option of a chatbot or live chat, product configurators, and custom product inquiry forms. They will all help push your prospects to the correct sales funnel.

Steve Rice, Founder, Dotcomjungle, SR Consulting, The Globally Conscious Leader

The easiest way to increase sales in the CPG world is to extend your product line. If you offer several sizes, styles, or colors for the non-performing products, you can increase your chances substantially as consumers demand options. And the most common reason why consumers don't buy is the lack of options for their preferred size or color.

If you put these extended lines into the hands of your salespeople, this empowers and gives them the tools they need to go in and sell not just a product but an entire line. Also, putting these products and themes into the hands of good salespeople will help the salespeople stand out and increase your company's bottom line.

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