Order Entry System: A Must-Have for Today's B2B Reps

Max Bailey
October 15, 2018

When was the last time you took a hard look at your B2B sales process and your sales reps’ experience in the field? Well, there’s no time like the present! Feedback can be scary, but considering the impact of your in-person sales channel on your bottom line, listening to your sales reps should be a top priority. Welcome their complaints, because they will offer you invaluable insight into process improvements that will improve your B2B business.

As a starting point, ask your sales reps how much time they spend writing and submitting orders manually. The answer might surprise you. Without an order entry system in place, manual order writing can be an arduous and frustrating task.

Manual order writing, and subsequent ERP reentry, will cripple even your most talented sales reps, locking them into a pattern of stagnant reordering—losing the opportunity to truly add value to your customers and business.

This problem can be solved, however, by empowering your reps with proper technology—namely, a robust order entry system.

What is an order entry system?

An order entry system is a digital sales platform that can be synced to your ERP, allowing B2B sales reps to submit customer orders during in-person sales visits.

A modern order entry system has a user-friendly interface that any rep can learn to use in a matter of minutes. The best order entry systems are mobile, powered by consumer devices like smartphones and tablets.

They contain image-rich digital catalogs and important customer and product information, such as past order history and customer-specific pricing, as well as customer notes that sales reps can add.

Why is an order entry system a must-have?

There is a laundry list of reasons why today’s B2B sellers need to be armed with an order entry system, but here are three main reasons to get you thinking:

  1. An order entry system will make your field sales reps more effective. B2B companies that implement order entry systems cut the time it takes for their sales reps to write and submit orders in half. An order entry system gives your sales reps more time to speak with customers, since they can immediately place orders without the need for double-entry, leading to more upsell and cross-selling opportunities. Not only will your sales reps have more time to sell to customers, the conversations they have will be even smarter. This is because their access to product and customer-specific information will be greatly enhanced with an order entry system at their fingertips.
  2. Your customers expect a better selling experience. Modern B2B customers are a lot like B2C consumers. They want to be able to see your products first-hand and don’t have time to flip through cumbersome paper catalogs that are irrelevant the moment they’re printed. This applies to your in-person sales channel as well as your B2B eCommerce portal, if you have one (and you should). An image-rich digital catalog that’s constantly updated in real time can help your reps push new products and showcase them in their best light.
  3. Order entry systems drive revenue and cut costs. By enhancing the relationships your reps have with customers, an order entry system will seriously affect your bottom line. Think about it—shorter, more effective sales meetings mean that sales reps can see more customers in a given day, which will result in more orders. The time reps earn back from an order entry system can be better used to play a more high-value consultative role with customers, sell higher margin items, and drive average order value skyward. Lastly, the efficiency gains from an order entry system that integrates directly to your ERP will help cut costs—for both your sales reps and your back office staff.

Wondering what to do next? Talk to your sales reps. Get to the bottom of the issues they are facing and see if an order entry system would help them out. Ask them: “If your order writing process was 50% shorter, how would you better use your time?” Then figure out how those process improvements would affect your business.

Keep in mind, however, that you may come up against an all-too-common resistance to process change. That’s why it’s important to involve your reps in selecting an order entry system and make sure you select a truly modern, intuitive solution that works on familiar consumer mobile devices. This will ensure high adoption rates early on, and allow you to get full buy-in from your sales reps before launch.

If you need help facilitating these conversations, or would like to learn more about the benefits of an order entry system, we’re ready to help!