Why You Need an SAP-Integrated B2B Self-Service Portal to Simplify Quoting and Eliminate Manual Backend Processes

In this article you will learn how a fully integrated B2B self-service portal can overcome CRM to SAP pricing complexity and quote accuracy issues, driving revenue while eliminating manual processes

Key Takeaways

  • Understand “call deflection” and how it reduces your operating costs and improves customer satisfaction
  • The importance of simplifying quoting processes
  • Adding eCommerce capabilities to a B2B self-service portal drives increased revenue and decreased cost of sale
  • Improve customer service for all customers and dealers by leveraging existing business data and business rules to improve sales and reduce costs
  • Enable the sales team to focus on new sales rather than processing orders that customers, distributors, and dealers could (and would rather) enter themselves via an eCommerce portal

A manufacturer’s B2B Commerce/self-service customer portal enables customers and distributors to directly access key information without directly engaging with staff. A self-service portal that goes a step further and fully integrates eCommerce functionality can also enable 24/7 order placement, complete with account-specific pricing and discounts, configurable goods (including VC), and more. These offerings can improve sales and cut operating costs considerably..

Call deflection: Save your employee’s time and improve the customer experience

Call deflection means customers use a self-service portal to find answers to basic questions instead of contacting your customer service reps or salespeople. In this day and age of Amazon-like commerce expectations, customers can find information on availability, order status, tracking information, and more–all without picking up the phone. Increasing call deflection results in lower inbound call volume, shorter wait times for those that do call, and enabling customer service and sales resources to spend time on higher-priority, more value-added activities.

For example, your self-service portal can deflect calls from customers and distributors looking for answers to these easy questions (that now aren’t so easy due to supply chain issues and inflation):

  • Shipping options and differing costs
  • Product descriptions and available options
  • Product inventory or availability
  • Product reviews
  • Current pricing, sales, coupons, and customer-specific specials
  • Shipping or order status
  • Processing returns or refunds

An eCommerce solution, built into your B2B self-service portal, that is connected to SAP, further enables customers and distributors to generate quotes or place orders–all customized to their exact terms and specifications but without having to reach a sales rep live. This can dramatically, and positively, impact your cost of sale, while improving profitability.

Make quoting simple: If you are hard to do business with, your customers will go elsewhere

Quoting can be the ultimate manual process. After adding the correct SKUs to the quote, sales and customer service reps often have to validate pricing and discounts by logging into SAP or, worse, calling/emailing their SAP-access-point-person to do it for them. They must also validate inventory levels/ATP and ensure the configuration the customer wants is buildable. This can take days, or even a weeks–and those delays are costing you money with wasted resources and potentially frustrating the customer/distributor to the point where they take their business elsewhere.

Manual processes, including quoting, also introduce additional error-points, where misinformation can be accidentally inserted. Inaccurate quotes frustrate customers and sales alike, impact margins, and create delays in the ordering process.

Benefits of using a B2B eCommerce self-service portal

Manufacturing sales teams rely on the quality and reliability of the customer experience which demands consistent and accurate price quotes and inventory information for their products. An eCommerce self-service portal provides a method to improve the entire sales and customer service experience and empowers customers and distributors (when their CRM and portal are properly integrated with SAP) it ensures real-time accuracy of this information.

Manufacturers that provide a customer portal see an 85% year-over-year increase in customer retention according to Aberdeen research. Additionally, a study done by McKinsey & Co. found that 75% of buyers prefer digital self-service.

The benefits of providing a quality B2B eCommerce self-service portal include:

  • Opportunity to grow business using existing data.
  • Cross-sell and upsell using the eCommerce portal on each product.
  • Increased revenue when dealers and customers can order online and get pricing in real-time.
  • Improved ordering process makes it easier to order and do business with you.
  • Decreased workload on customer service and sales resources.
  • Cost reduction when customers can get what they want without human interaction.
  • New customer purchase data to use for product development improvements and analysis.

Fully integrate you SAP business logic with your portal to maximize efficiencies

To master full supply chain integration and generate accurate sales information in real-time, you need a CPQ (Configure – Price – Quote) system that fully integrates with existing business management rules and data. An eCommerce self-service portal contains both – SAP ERP management of business rules and a CPQ to manage the sales process.

The high cost of relying on manual processes

  • Customer service declines based on the time it takes to contact sales or customer service.
  • Sales team dissatisfaction based on the complexity of business rules and manual pricing processes.
  • Customer service resource burnout and job dissatisfaction.
  • Slower business response time for quotes results in fewer customer orders.
  • Adding complexity to the quoting process by relying on other people to access or validate data.

Your CPQ and SAP ERP systems combine to fuel a self-service portal. Your SAP ERP should be the single source of truth for your business data. By leveraging that system and enabling real-time quoting (without manual processes) and eCommerce, you create a customer-first culture that drives employee and customer/dealer satisfaction and increased revenue and margins.

For more information on how to leverage your SAP business data to improve price quote accuracy and generate more sales, and happier customers, request a demo today.

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