The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Chloe Thomas on eCommerce and Online Trends

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In a new era of B2B buyers shifting towards eCommerce and online buying trends, we ask the question, “How can sales professionals and retailers be competitive?”

To answer this question and help us understand the B2B shift to eCommerce, we sat down with Chloe Thomas, founder of eCommerce MasterPlan.

You're listening to the BB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about e commerce and online buying trends and how they're impacting the sales professional and people in general. It's a big shift, especially for retailers. have to combat online commerce, and to help us do this we have with us chloe Thomas, author, speaker, founder of e commerce master plan, cloak. Thank you for taking time to be on the show today. Hi, TAT is. It's accent to be here and I'm really looking forward telling you a chat with you. So, as we were preparing for the show today, you mentioned how the new breed of BB buyers want to be able to buy online, which maybe a shift for some people. Right, BBC, everybody's used to that, right, but it be to be that incline nation. I think you think you called it the millennial effect and you know, I can see how this makes sense again in transactional sales, even in B tob space. But help help us understand how this is affecting larger, more complex buyers and sellers. Yeah, it's it's an interesting one because it you say, you know in the Conceiva were we used to buying online? Well, that's exactly what's causing this effect in businesses. You know, you think about the new graduate or the graduate kind of seven, eight years into their into their working life now and they're add a business, whether they're in charge of purchasing or a large part of their job is purchasing and they're having to facts an order through. You know, it's like that just doesn't make any sense at all. It's so inefficient and eat but it but if you've grown up in the bet be purchasing space, you know is a company buying,...

...buying some other companies it you kind of used to the norm. But I think now the the the why this would be if I was buying this product at home, it would be so much easier than I have when when I'm buying in the office. Why can't we make that simpler and I think that's that's the effect which is coming into to all businesses and all sectors these days. And you can tell how much of an opportunity it is by quite how much Amazon are doing with their Amazon business accounts these days. They've they've spotted this opportunity to and and and I think once Amazon jumps into something, you know you've got to start paying attention to it. Yeah, without a doubt. When we when we work with clients, I always ask the beginning of every workshop, you know who in here has an Amazon prime account, and we do, I mean primarily be to be, and so everybody raises her hand, or almost everybody, right, and then you start to talk about why. Then it leads into that conversation that you know. It's funny sales rapps that are in bb don't think about the fact that these bedb buyers are living BDC lives. So they're expectations are being crafted by the ability to go on Amazon get whatever you want within, you know, twenty four, forty, eight hours, seamless, easy, frictionless, right. And now there's buyers are expecting that and it changes the game. It changes the game in how companies make themselves available and how, you know, be to be buyers want to be interacted with from salespeople. Yeah, I mean I know it's reached the point in the UK and I would just sheeen this is the same state side as well, in that now some companies are when they're tendering to find new supplies, you know, it's big contracts and all the rest of it. They are not interested in signing up that person as a company, as a supplier, if they don't have an online ordering system. That is part of the tender requirements which you know, is which is caused something of a landown no kind of a rush to the to the website builders. Oh my God, we can't lose, you know, retendering and a client goes up. By the way, we need you to be ECOMMERCE. WHOA. So I think there's definitely for the listeners out there who haven't yet embraced online...

...selling as part of their business. I think it's time. It's time to you. You want to do it in your own time. You don't want to be forced to do it by your biggest customer, atorney run again. Oh, you know that contract negotiation with six six months through. I think that the signing day is two weeks away. Did you notice that we needed you to be convers yeah, it's something you want to get ahead of. Well, yeah, and you definitely, definitely want to be proactive instead of reactor. Right, if you're reactive, you're not going to have the time to think about it. How is it going to impact your organization as a whole? How do you change the way that the sellers are selling, our marketers are marketing? How? You know, it's not just as simple as throwing up an online pooral and say, okay, you can buy stuff online. Right, there's there's a lot of ramifications and I think a lot of people, companies in general, have a tendency to look at something like you commerce something, it's a bolt on. I just I have to do it, so I'll throw something up. Well, it's yeah, you can do that. I mean we've all seen companies that do it. But, you know what, we're not talking about them. We're t talking about the companies that think about it proactively, like Amazon, right, the ones that are being strategic about it understand that moves like this can affect, you know, the entire organization. Last think if you can just throw up a website for probably about twenty percent of the effort that it's going to take you to do it properly, and that's a that's a massive difference in an amount of effort. But the problem is if you just throw it up you're gonna cause problems because it won't be integrated to your systems. So the second someone actually uses it, you've got problems. And if you just chuck it up there, you probably not built it the way the customers need it to work, all the way the sales team need it to work. And the thing is the sales team, whether they're based in the office, you know, dealing with phone calls, or whether they're out on the road, they have got to be bought in to the online sales opportunity or it's never going to work, because getting the customer to adopt online ordering is going to become a crucial part of your sales team's joke. So you have to bring the whole company along...

...in the journey if it's gonna work. When's the last time you shopped at am all? How will we do our holiday shopping or even by toilet paper? In ten years, listen for shopcast talking retail strategy. Will explore the massive changes happening in retail. Join Retail expert Michael Dark and his guests, who help you understand these dramatic shifts and predict what the retail landscape of tomorrow will look like. If you're interested in the future of retail, tune it on Fridays at Zeven am Pacific Time and ten am eastern time on Voice America business. How many companies that we both worked with where you watch the change, change initiatives, and I'm doing the air quotes right, that they oh, we're going to we're going to make some changes and we're going to transform. Ever, we talked about digital transformation and then you come back six months later like wow, how did that go? Yeah, well, I never really get finished. There's a nice new poster on the wall and we've will got some new mouse maps, but other than that, nothing really happened. Yeah, man. It's funny, though, because I see this a lot, right, you see people, you know, there's this all right, we're in a digital landscape. The world is digital now and people focus on that, but they get so sometimes focused on, okay, I need to do this digital portion that they forget about the human component. How do I make this work inside of an organization or with people? How do they how do I get them to interact in a way that's going to drive greater growth, greater return, greater value for not only my internal organization but, of course, the customers that I'm interacting with? It's not as simple. It's not as simple as many people, I think, wanted to be. None and it's the the good thing for that, I think, for the be tob world, is that you can learn from what happened in the be Toca world, because in the consumer world fifteen years ago the biggest problem for multi channel retailers and if the high street retailer, was that they were embracing online but not bringing their store teams along with them. And they had exactly the...

...same problems with, you know, bonus allocations and sales targets and you're cannibalizing my sales and all the rest of it, and which is exactly the same as the be tob world is going through now as they bring websites on, you know commerce, websites online. So you the way the the retail world solved it was by making it a whole company objective, a whole company rollout, not just the marketing team or the IT team or the finance team, whichever one ended up driving it, but it has to be everybody involved from the point where you make the decision to do it through to delivery and the rest of it. It's challenging well, and that whole listic approach is one that I think you know, especially as organizations get larger, becomes it's sometimes more difficult, right because you've got it's not just like I'm going to put up your commerce and I got to get the marketing teams to line in it. Now I've got cybersecurity issues, I've got GDPR, you know, I've got data compliance issues. It's it. There is no simple and fast answer. I mean you can do it simple and fast, but that you know, when we do the podcast on companies that failed, you'll probably be on that list. You know, if you need to, if you need to really think strategically about it, you need to be thinking about that hole. And with the retailers, it was always struck me as funny in the US we had, I was, a company called Dick Sporting goods and they had these awesome stores. But then, if I you know, I was in the store. I don't have time to get this right now. I just go ordered online. There was never they never had the same stuff online. was like it was like working with a completely different company. And then they dug into it I found out it actually was a completely different company. They'd outsourced their entire online buying experience. So it was like, we'll just call this something else. Don't because your fraction that experience for me exactly, and I like the fact you say you know once you online you have to worry about things like GDP are and fraud and payment gateways. Is that? Well, actually, I think the online world just kind of brings those into shop a relief because actually, as a I did was a lot of online only...

...businesses. I also deal with businesses that have big cool centers and physical stores and trust me, it's considerably easier to be gdu GDP are compliant it and, you know, payment processing compliant and all the rest of it if you are online only, because everything happens in systems, whereas if you've got people on the ground dealing with orders and data, you've got a whole load of additional risk which which exists, but people don't think about it until you get into online and then suddenly we start thinking about everything that could go wrong. So it's yeah, it's like GDPR and PCIDSS. They still exist, but don't think about them in the offline world, despite the fact they're far riskier in the offline world. Yeah, well, I mean everybody's used to hear about, you know, the experience data breaches or target or or, you know, all this facebook stuff. And I'll tell you. The one time that I had my credit card stolen, it was because it was I was in a restaurant and somebody copied the card in the back. It had nothing to do with being online and booking my reservation or you know. I'd say, Hey, it's an anniversary or whatever I want. Especially would none of that. I just handed my card to somebody and they ran it and apparently ran it through another scanner as well. The next thing I know I'm getting calls from American Express. Hated you order, you know, four hundred pounds of bison meat. I'm like that, no, I didn't. Strangely enough, it's like friend of mine used to work for a company who had a kind of like a workshop sales outlet where the workshop guys would often to be the only ones there. So they take customer orders over the phone as well, and about every couple of months my friend who visited their occasionally would have to shred the little book in which they kept everybody's credit card number, because it made it easier for the customer and it didn't matter how many times they were told you cannot do this, at least they had the whole thing. You know, this this code on the back, the dates, everything next, all the custom is good just to just in a in a night pad sat on top of the desk. So you can't do this, guys. Sorry, I think that's what a big old tangent. Oh No, no,...

...that's I mean, that's great. It's like, you know, it's funny when we when we talk about that, that merging of digital and physical or digital and human experience. You know, I hadn't, honestly, till you brought up I had, because I deal mostly with companies that are all systems based and they may not have brick and mortar locations. But when you think about that, that is a huge gap in data in and protecting the data, and you're also when you're doing e commerce, there has to be a level of trust. I mean I'm old enough to remember when, you know, I said something to my mom, but now, mom, just put your credit card in and they'll ship it to you. So I'm not giving them my credit card number. I'm not doing that. Well, we've got a little bit better, right, everybody kind of I think we've kind of gotten over that hurdle, but there's still a trust that has to take place in that brain experience, in that sales transaction. There's a little trust that has to be there. And and G I mean GDP, are is making it. It's not so much more a hey, I trust you, it's like you need to do this right. Yeah, but I mean at the end of the day, if people aren't going to trust the company, you know and the way that they're going to interact with them, then it creates friction and they'll just go somewhere where it's easier. Exactly. And I think that's we mentioned that there's a lot that in terms of bringing the team along the BTB well, could leven from the bet see well when it comes to ECOMMAS. But I think one of the things which has become difficult, more difficult, I of the last fifteen years and you're dixposing goods. Example kind of illustrates this is that back fifteen years ago you could put up a website in the customer had low expectations of what the experience would be like. Yeah, and nowadays that experience has to be as good as your experience in any other channel. Otherwise you are detrimentally affecting your primary channel. So you can't well, you can say this is a beater, we've only put such and such stock lines up there, but that Beata has to work. You know, you can kind of do it as a phased approach, but it but anything you put live has to work and has to work well and has...

...to meet all the expectations of service that people know of generally for online but also what they understand in terms of their relate existing relationship with your business. So it's got a lot harder over the last fifteen years, but the tech is a lot more available to make it easier. That makes sense. Yeah, well, and I think it's even gotten to the point where I think maybe we've gotten a point where the tech, the promise of the tech, made it easier and then we saw all those investments and customer experience right, you know, APP or with the itunes off and all of the applications is one actually other UK glass botch digital that watches you know, watches you how you interact with the web page. So they can they can fix and tweak the user experience and the design and things like that, and I think we've got a point where the tach has gotten so much better, but there's so much more of it that even making those decisions and you know, hey, I need to do, you know X, Y and Z, or this is what my text acould look like, it becomes even more difficult for them to keep that overall experience in mind as they're doing it, because there are so many technical considerations and I think the tech can be a big old distraction as well. I think it's very easy to get sucked into a complex piece of tech to try and solve a problem which actually was the fact that the first you know, the big line, big text information on the front page of your homepage whens one lands of the website just didn't explain what you do. You know, it's a I was it was at a conference vot doing a lot of growth hacking sessions. Not like last year and it was a real pleasure to see one of the world authorities on growth hacking talk about how getting the wording right on the first view of your home page is one of the most important things you can do to growth tack your website. It's a Hallelujah so one's talking about some sense. Not a plenty of exciting, cool little tools you can use, but it was also just well, the tech has a tendency, I think sometimes and I think the distraction aspect is spot on right because you we see it, especially in sales as the millennials come up. We see people hiding behind the tech. They think, oh well,...

I had a chat by the talk to them on my website. That drove them to my, you know, product page, which then took them to the card and I don't need to talk to them. Or if I'm trying to prospect somebody, maybe I'll just go to Linkedin, I'll shoot them an email. Maybe, maybe, maybe, I'll shoot him a text. But they're looking at it in a way that continues to increase the divide from that human, human interaction. And at the end of the day that's what gets stuff done is that human, human interaction. And I think people have a tendency to look at that tack and go are this is going to solve my problems. Well, you know what, we really should be looking at the same fundamentals that have been in play, because people are still people. So true. One of one of my past podcast guests is a guy who runs a bb site that's called ramp t shirts, as in, you know, you drive your car up the ramp, and their aim from day one was to create the world's fastest t shirt ordering website. So you go in if you need tshirts for every to give away to your customers or to give away at your conference, or if your sales team to wear, they're the site to go to to get your your your t shirts ordered. They've gone to the point of building an algorithm that will predict the sizing mix you use. You know, it's all about speed. To go to the worst that they have conversion rate optimized it to the absolute nth degree. Now, whether that's awesome, it's very cool. However, eighty percent of their orders are placed by people who've had some level of human interaction before they hit the Bybun wow at for in every five have live chatted, sent to an email or done something to talk to their team before they place the order. And this is a website which has been taken to the nth degree of you don't need to speak to us, and yet you're still speaking to US exactly, which is why, you know, the sales team are remain hugely important, even...

...in the online world, because it's still in the BETB space. Huge amounts of of it is still about that personal relationship and that reassurance and that that guidance through the process and there's always, I mean there's that aspect of the online especially in ECOMMERCE, with self service, and I do this all the time, and we use a company called Mimio to print our workbooks, our journals, you know, things like that, and it's on demand, which is great, and it is kind of set up. So I never have talked to him. But what do I do? Every time I place an order? I called Derek because I need Derek to double check. Derek, double check this because I'm not a hundred percent sure that I got it right and I don't have time to screw it up. So, Hey, you got any ideas on how I could do this that out of the other. I mean it was set up so I never have to talk to anybody, but I don't hit the buy button for, you know, thousand dollars, tenzero dollars worth of workbooks until I've talked to somebody. It just makes me feel better. Yeah, so true. And so when we look at the ECOMMERCE stuff, there's that aspect of self service, right, and you mentioned this as we were prepping for this. So so they bought something, right, they went through the buying process. Now that now they're, quote unquote, a customer. How do you see that selfservice aspect impacting sales and marketing professionals? I suppose you've got to see it as a as a benefit. You how you have to see it as a benefit. But it means that you now are able to let the customer get on with, you know, the normal stuff and then give them the value add and that might mean you know when you know. You know that you can set the systems up so it'll automatically alert you if the put if they haven't placed the order they usually place each week. It means your conversations with them can be less about getting an order and more about have you seen this? This might be good for you. There's an offer on this week. So you kind of bring the value adds to that relationship rather than just phoning them up to get the order or dealing with the order when they when they phone in. So it's it's great they could do the selfservice because it means the menials not quite the right...

...roll with it. The more the more menial task the customer could do themselves, which means you can put your effort into value iding in that relationship. It also means, because of that kind of dynamic, of your time is spent on more valuable things and they're doing the kind of the menial bit is maybe now this opens up your business to a group of smaller customers that you could previously afford to service because they're able to Europe is just leave them to get on with it on the website and likewise it gives your gives you as a sales or a marketing professional more time to go out and recruit new customers and bigger customers, because you've got the time to do that because you're not spending it getting the regular order out of xyzed existing customer. Well, there's some they would. It allows for optimization not only are the customers experience, but also of the Roy per hour for that sales investment that that company is making, because they're not focused on the little stuff, they're focused on the expansion. I'll sell things like that. Yeah, so it's you you have to kind of like identify the benefits. Yes, you're going to be doing less of what you do now, but that's good because it means you can do more of the things that generate more money, generate more bonus, generate all the things you want. Yeah, so when you work with clients to help them maximize it e commerce, are there common challenges that you're seeing them run into these days? Oh, yeah, a number one. The number one challenge is what should I be doing? Actually, that's the number one thing I help people out with. Is Chloe, I'm doing this. Should I be doing it? I'm I want to send more emails. Is it okay to send more emails? I think I might need a welcome campaign. Do I I've done this. Should I off? I've done this. It's not working. What should I do? It's all there's so many options these days. The most challenging problem is working out what to do to generate the sales and the most successful businesses I see in the Bab space and in the B Toc space are those who have identified the marketing method or two methods that...

...work well for them and just double down and double down and optimized and squeezed every last scent and dollar and order out of that that they can. So, yeah, and so can you. Can you share a story, an example? I'm mean, you talked about the ramp t shirts guys, but where one of your clients? You know, you help them make these shifts that help them wrestle the ECOMMERCE Dragon, so to speak, and you know what kind of impact or success have they seen? People that are now maybe converts to the understanding how ECOMERAS can benefit them? Oh Man, that's a tricky one. So I'm trying to I'm trying to think of a client where I'm allowed to tell you where you've done. I could tell you about a podcast guest who's WHO's works double down, if that's okay. So this is not someone I've worked with everybody out there, but this is the sort of thing I help people do, just to be clear. So this is a company called flare audio, who are in the UK selling globally. They've reinvented loudspeakers and they're slowly taking their technology around earphones for the consumers. They've gone from big loudspeakers for events to ear phone. You can have in the ear phones cell from fifty quid a pair two, I think, eight hundred pounds for in a in the it ear phones. Yeah, crazy a. So they cut this amazing technology and they are beautiful, they are super powerful and they are they have got some of the most amazing testimonials on their website from awesome people in the music industry and they have they've just gone for it with facebook and they did five point nine million last year pounds. That is in in turnover, which is a two hundred and fifty percent growth rate on the previous year, almost entirely driven by facebook apitizing. Wow, wow, sous. That's a great one. That's a great one. And so that do they have they figured out the the you know, the how do you align...

...the ECOMMERCE and the online proportion with the sales? Have they also looked at it? Did they just completely focus on the digital side, with the advertising and driving the ECOMMERCE? They've just gone for the digital side, although, saying that, a they do have a number of stockists and they also sell by Amazons. They do a proportion of their spend on facebook. Is also just pure brand advertising to support their stock, is, their business customers, and to support their own sales on Amazon. So they come a bit of a two pronged attack. Perfect, perfect, all right. So let's change direction a little bit. I ask all of our guest kind of two standard questions at the end of each interview. In the first is simply, as a revenue executive yourself who run on a company here, you know, he he, that makes you a quote unquote prospect for most salespeople, or a target, if we're being blunt, and so I'm curious. It's a big topic in sales, as you know. How do you get the attention of somebody you don't know? So I'm curious when somebody wants to approach you with a potential solution or something that they think would be valuable for you, what's the best way for them to capture your attention and build credibility? Ah, I have such a love hate relationship with salespeople because because if they get me in the right way at the right time of the right thing. I Love Them. Otherwise. Know is a just but, but as a salesperson myself, I know that that's the game, isn't it? So my advice to be okay, I am. I'm very much an introvert, so I hate phone calls with passion and I like people to give me detailing me fast. So those those intriguing emails that some people send that are like Hey, chloe, I've got something really interesting, it'll totally change your world, just spam. It's again. Anyway, if you send me an email which proves you've done a little bit of research and which shows that this might be of relevance...

...to me, you know we do this, or actually tell me what you do, because quite often people don't tell me what they do. Tell me what you do, tell me how you think it might help me and show you have some understanding of what I do. Then I will almost certainly get back to you. Like ninety nine percent, I will get back to you and I will probably either say let's have a chat, or that's a cute that's not too q three for me, or that's not too que for get back in contact with me if you give me the details, I can prioritize it and save you time and save me time. Unfortunately, because I have the word ECOMMERCE in my business name, I give a one a load of messages from people who think I'm any commas business. Yeah, which is kind of crazy. We've got this great tool for checking fraud on your shopify Accounta. I don't have a shopify account and Rold's not a problem for me, but you just keep sending me those emails. So sorry, front over. Oh No, no, that's great. I mean it's great. Right, you got it, do your homework and you got to be respectful, get right to the point, right, and and it's a common theme. Right. We interviewed the CTO of the Minnesota Vikings, a big NFL football team, and and he said, look, you know, people want to work with the NFL, they want to work with us, and he goes, guess what, I will pick up the phone. He's like, but if I pick up the phone and you ask me what my email address is, rather than saying hey, I have your email dress as, let me confirm it, or you don't know my name, I'm hanging up on you. It's like, be respectful, do your homework, get straight to the point, realize it's an interruption and you've got to provide value and insight. And I like the you know, some people like phone call, some people don't. So you know, knowing that, I think, you know, figuring that out is probably an important play too. All right, so last question. We call it, okay, our acceleration insight, cute little marketing term. If there's one thing that you could tell sales marketing professional services people, one piece of advice that if they listened, which is always the commune,...

...if they listen, you believe would give them a leg up on hitting their targets and being successful. What would it be and why? That's a tricky one. I'm torn between two, so I'm going to go with the one that I love the most, which is kind of color coding your diary and ring fencing time. So, as I know from from doing sales for my business, which I've been doing, I've been doing doing sales myself pretty about ten years now, you can you've got that balancing act between fresh leads, hot prospects, contracts, you're tracing it. You know those different levels and all are equally important if you're going to continue hitting your sales targets week after week, day after day, month after month. So if you can create some kind of zoning in your diary of right Monday morning I'm going to spend dealing with contracts that are pending being signed, and then Tuesday's I will spend working on new proposals. Wednesday's, Thursdays and Fridays I can then deal with whatever's most urgent going on and lead Jen. But I think if you color code, then you can kind of avoid the day running away with itself and you can make sure that those all important task which aren't kind of like vying for your attention, still get done. So that would be my advice for efect. Time blocking is a big one and it's funny to me that more people don't do it, especially as we get more and more busy and there's more and more demands for our attention. It is definitely a best practice. I appreciate you highlighting that one. So all right, clue. If a listeners interested in learning more about ECOMMERCE master plan, or actually, wait, let me back up a second. Give me the name of the podcast so we could get some of our listeners to tune into what you're doing. Yeah, sure, it's The e commerce master plant podcast. Perfect, okay, and so out there. Everybody listen. Check out that podcast. It's the easiest way to get in touch with you if somebody wanted to explore kind of what you're doing and see what else, what else you're offering out there. Sure you can find details everything. I'm up to e commerce master PLANCOM and...

...you'll be able to. There's a contact page there which gives you details of how to get in contact with me. I'm also pretty easy to find on Linkedin, so I feel free to get in contact with me and connect there too, and I have a lot of things we've been talking about today are covered in my recent book, which is called B to be ecommerce master plan. That's available in all the formats on the big old Amazon platforms. Excellent, Clay. I can't thank you enough for taking time to day. It's been great having you on the show. Thanks that. I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with you. It's been a pleasure. All right, everyone that does it for this episode. You know the drill. CHECK US OUT ON BE TO BE REV exactcom share with friends, families, Co workers. Sing it from the mountain tops, write us a review, let us know who else you'd like to have on the show and until next time, we have value prime solutions. With you all, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes for your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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