Why Wholesale Sales Software is Essential for B2B Suppliers

Nick Flambard
March 4, 2019

While there are many B2B solutions that can help a wholesale distribution business operate more smoothly and efficiently, wholesale sales software is one tool that is essential to any manufacturing or distribution business selling finished goods, whether those goods are being sold to retailers, the foodservice industry, healthcare providers/hospitals, or businesses in other industries.  

Wholesale sales software can encompass both in-person sales solutions designed specifically for sales reps as well as online selling software that allows wholesalers to set up customer ordering on the web, on mobile, or both places.

The best wholesale sales software options on the market have all of these elements in place—a field sales solution and online customer ordering for both web and mobile—so that all incoming orders can be managed in one central hub.

Knowing that ideal wholesale sales software has two parts, a field sales application for sales reps and a self-service online ordering portal for B2B customers, let’s take a closer look at how wholesale sales software can change your business from the perspective of both your sales reps and your customers.

Wholesale Sales Software for Sales Reps

B2B sales is built on personal relationships. Many wholesale distribution businesses rely on their field sales teams to source new customers, provide service and support, educate customers about new products, and generally maintain the strong relationships that make it possible to retain those customers over time. Your wholesale sales software should have a solution for these key players.

The sales rep arm of your wholesale sales software should be a native mobile application that allows your reps to write orders on the go at customer appointments and trade shows. A native mobile application should be able to be accessed offline, a key feature when on the road and in trade show exhibition halls with spotty WiFi. More importantly, however, because a native mobile app is specifically designed to be used on a smartphone or tablet, your reps will have a much better user experience.

Here are some key features your sales rep solution should include:

Wholesale Sales Software for Customer Ordering

In between sales rep visits, you must give your customers a way to place orders on their own, without having to call a sales rep or customer service rep during business hours. In addition to a sales rep solution, your wholesale sales software needs B2B eCommerce, period.

While most manufacturers and distributors already understand that B2B eCommerce is a key element in wholesale sales software, finding the right solution can be tricky. Legacy solutions are falling behind today’s customer expectations for a modern online ordering experience. Today’s wholesale sales software needs to emulate the eCommerce experiences that B2B buyers are used to in their consumer lives, when they’re not on-the-job.

Your customers should be able to place orders on both the web and from a native mobile app. They should be able to start an order at the computer in their office, and then continue placing that order from their smartphone at-the-shelf or on-the-go, with a modern, searchable digital catalog, prices tailored to them, and easy reordering workflows.

Here are some key features your customer ordering solution should include:

  • Design customization features (create an online store that matches your brand’s look and feel)
  • A native mobile application (rather than a mobile-optimized website)
  • All-device access as well as offline access on mobile
  • A way to quickly and easily add variants of the same product to the cart
  • Seller review features (to allow your reps to review orders placed online before confirming them)
  • Order templates, past order duplication, and the ability to upload products to the cart via CSV (for high volume ordering across a large number of SKUs)
  • Customer-specific pricing, promotions, and catalogs

Wholesale Sales Software: Why It’s Necessary

Robust wholesale sales software with solutions for both rep selling and direct selling to customers via an online portal is key to success in today’s B2B selling environment.

As more wholesale distributors offer a consistent omnichannel selling experience to customers, suppliers who do not offer it will fall behind competitors. In short, businesses that make it easy for customers to order will keep customers, and business that don’t will lose customers. It’s as simple as that.

Here are the potential impacts of wholesale sales software:

  • Reps will be able to focus less on order writing, and more on being a strategic business partner to your customers, figuring out the right product assortments for them, and introducing new products.
  • Customers will be able to explore your product catalog on their own and place orders anytime, anywhere—increasing product discoverability, average order volume, and order frequency.
  • Because wholesale sales software can be integrated with Enterprise Resource Planning and Accounting systems, orders can be processed and fulfilled much faster, without the need for data entry.

If you’d like to chat with me to learn more about Handshake, sign up for quick demo of our software. Let’s discuss what a wholesale sales platform with Handshake could look like for your business.