With CRM and B2B E-commerce, the Sum Is Greater Than the Parts

We live in an era of data overload. When it comes to e-commerce, your customers contact you via a plethora of channels and expect to purchase and communicate with you easily. Given the increasing adoption of e-commerce, it is stunning that only 27 percent of B2B companies selling online are using a CRM system. Even fewer organizations are making sure that these systems are seamlessly integrated.

In most cases, businesses look at these systems as separate entities: Customer purchases are performed in one system, while keeping customer records, launching marketing campaigns, and delivering customer service is accomplished in other systems, primarily the CRM. We think this is a suboptimal way to run your business. Seamlessly integrated CRM and e-commerce can unlock tremendous value, allowing firms to become much more efficient, deliver superior customer service and experience, and drive sales growth.

Break Down the Dreaded Silos

As part of a team that built successful products and was involved in implementing hundreds, if not thousands, of B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions for merchants of all sizes, we noticed a pervasive pattern. Each business unit—sales, marketing, and customer service—had its own version of the “truth” about customers. Each team logged in to different systems that housed different information about customers, their activity history, and their interaction with the organization. To make matters worse, each team operated and acted based on that information, which in many cases led to more harm than good.

Instead, imagine having a single system where your B2B e-commerce operations are seamlessly integrated with your CRM. One system where each member of every business unit can have access to the same information and share the most up-to-date, accurate data about your firm’s customers and their interactions with your company. By integrating those systems, you bring down the silos so your sales, marketing, and customer service teams can cooperate efficiently, using the same underlying information and a complete 360-degree view of the customer.

Delight Customers by Mastering the Customer Journey

Once you break down silos, you’ll see how your teams can work better together and drive more value to the organization, delighting your customer by delivering a superior customer experience.

To illustrate this point, let’s discuss the customer journey. In many cases, the customer starts interacting with your organization via a single marketing touch point, such as responding to an email, a Google ad word, or another campaign driving her to your website. If all the data now can flow from your B2B e-commerce website to your tightly integrated CRM, the marketing team can identify a segment of guests that viewed a specific product as potential customers and communicate to them with targeted offers. Customers who respond now can be classified as leads and quickly passed to the sales team.

The sales team has all the information they need: what the customer is interested in, what product she viewed, and which marketing campaign she responded to. Having access to this information allows the sales representative to have an intelligent and focused interaction with that customer, and she feels that she finally has met a sales rep who knows what she needs and wants.

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