Omnichannel sales has been a buzzword for quite some time now. While it is being talked about a lot in the trade press, the actual realisation of an omnichannel sales operation is quite a different ball game. There was a huge gap between the theory and making it work in the real world. This gap is now being addressed by Salesforce’s Revenue Cloud.
Customers want it fast and easy
The advent of omnichannel sales in B2B is no doubt accelerated because of the current health crisis, but its success has been in the making for a long time. Rising customer expectations has been one of the drivers here. The B2C experience that we are used to in our personal lives has very much driven some of the demands in B2B. Just like modern consumers, B2B buyers want flexibility in product selection, in payment terms,… in short, a frictionless experience. When browsing a product catalogue and some help is needed, they want to be able to press a button and request a quote. And when a sales rep reaches out, they want that person to be equipped with the right context to provide guidance. And above all: they want it fast! If they need a quote, they want it now. If they have a question about an invoice, they want the answer straight away. And if they want to change a contract, they expect a fast transaction.
Raising the bar even further, B2B buyers expect responsiveness and accuracy across different channels, whether they are buying directly or through a partner.
Blocking factors for customer experience
Two elements are making it difficult to comply with these customer demands: lack of scalability and the availability of data. Through a lack of automation of all tasks, some manual tasks are quite labour intensive. Just think of the firefighting that goes on in many organisations, chasing down errors on sales orders, reconciling data to send out accurate invoices, etc. Manual processes don’t scale very well.
Having multiple data tools may be even more detrimental to customer experience and efficiency than manual work. Management of product and pricing data is difficult enough as it is, even if you have them in just one place. But when you maintain master data in multiple tools to service different sales channels, that’s when things really get out of hand. The opportunity for error is much higher and the ability to provide a consistent customer response is greatly reduced. Obviously, the ideal scenario is having a single source updating master data in one place.
Revenue Cloud is the solution to the data challenge
That place is what we call Revenue Cloud. Revenue Cloud is a dedicated cloud from Salesforce that encompasses all processes that sit between CRM and the back-office ERP system. Revenue Cloud delivers all the capabilities that we have in allied products such as Configure Quote Price (CPQ), Billing and B2B Commerce and CPQ B2B Commerce Cloud Connector.
Revenue Cloud is the solution to the data challenge that I just outlined: it creates a unique place for all data. For optimal customer experience, having purchases and customer interaction data together in one place is really important. Collecting and processing real-time data on customer purchasing behaviour is key to delivering the superior experience that B2B customers have come to expect. Any industry can benefit from these connected capabilities:
Connecting the CPQ engine with the B2B commerce environment is key in making this happen, thanks to the synchronisation of product and pricing data and by synchronising purchase history. Equally important is the ability for customers to request quotes from the system, without requiring intervention from a sales rep. The customer is helped in this process by having a centralised visibility into purchase history, which greatly facilitates reorders.
There is no doubt that omnichannel will only become more important in combining customer experience with revenue growth and operational efficiency. The barriers that were preventing companies from realising that goal have finally been removed by Revenue Cloud.
EMEA Practice Director - Revenue Practice, Wipro
Michelle Stolting leads the EMEA Revenue Practice at Wipro, the world's fourth-largest IT services provider. She is an experienced and driven operations and advisory professional with 6+ years of international work experience and a demonstrated history of working in the technology industry. She is passionate about change and business transformation, specifically around lead to revenue processes (CPQ and Billing).
Outside of work, she is taking care of two cats and is passionate about rock climbing and yoga.