Reinventing the Web Channel to Maximize Sales and Customer Satisfaction

Written April 14th, 2011 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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When the Oracle speaks you have to listen.

So when “Reinventing the Web Channel to Maximize Sales and Customer Satisfaction” by Oracle’s recently purchased ATG product line came across my inbox, I had to read it…and boy am I glad that I did.  It’s wonderful! (For your convenience, you can download a copy here)

Similar to my “9 Steps to Building a B2B Business Case” post of July 2009 which highlights a very useful IBM/Sterling Commerce white paper, I wish I had written this report.  But since I didn’t, I at least want to give credit where credit is due and share with you some of what I think are the more interesting aspects of this report.

First of all, this report is focused on “reinventing” the web channel, or people who are looking to upgrade their current eCommerce solutions.  Interestingly enough, that would characterize 75% of our current clients but only 50% of our prospective clients.  In other words, we’re seeing more first time B2B ecommerce organizations shopping for solutions today than we did over the past three years.

I think we’re finally seeing the laggards catch up to the realities of the internet.  However, the fact is that these laggard organizations can’t go from the phone/fax/email stone age to Forrester’s Brian Walker’s era of Agile Commerce in one step.  There is a huge cultural change that they have to undertake that we believe starts with efficiently catering to their existing customers as opposed to chasing new business.  In fact, that’s exactly how all of these “replacement” projects got into the mess that they’re in…but that’s the subject of a whole other discussion.

Here are a few other “quotable notables” from the Oracle ATG report:

  • “e-commerce platforms have a relatively low cost but high return on investment in the spectrum of enterprise IT projects and support a new or maturing revenue stream that meets the needs of a changing customer.”
  • “Fast commoditization of products, soaring buyer expectations and weak demand are calling for manufacturers to find ways to provide existing customers with additional value”.
  • “By using an online channel to strengthen relationships with customers, B2B companies have the opportunity to directly influence customers and establish a brand preference.”
  • “B2B e-commerce helps bridge the gap between the desire to grow the business and budget constraints.”
  • “E-commerce allows the sales force to offload routine activities so they can focus on building relationships, uncovering new opportunities, and nurturing complex deals that require more personal interaction.”
  • “Many customers prefer not to interact with a sales representative. Companies need a multichannel approach that includes e-commerce and a standard sales force to allow customers to use their preferred channel.” (see my “Why Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk to You” post.
  • “By establishing itself as the best and easiest source of information, the e-commerce site becomes a valuable tool that enhances sales and satisfaction.”
  • “Manufacturers are more likely to emerge in a position of strength from the economic downturn if they put in place an effective B2B e-commerce strategy. This will give them the ability to face intense competition from home and abroad, as well as gain the responsiveness and reliability that is essential in this sector.”

There is a lot of good stuff in this report.  Thank you Oracle for taking the time to produce it.

Sam