Sales Outsourcing Company in India believes in mixing Digital sales with On-field sales – Part 1
There is no doubt that these are unprecedented times, and while my grandmother might have remembered the ‘Spanish Flu’, living through a pandemic like this is a new and scary experience. However, if we look at the impact of SARS on consumer behavior in China and AP (Asia Pacific Region), then we can get an inkling of what might happen post-COVID.
eCommerce has been growing quickly and steadily for the last 10 to 15 years as the data from Statistics shows. Still, I believe one of the significant impacts of COVID-19 will be to accelerate that acceptance and growth. The sales outsourcing company in India, AOB India, looks at the advancing opportunities in the e-Commerce section. This sales outsourcing agency had kept the businesses alive and running even at the time of lockdown. The team of optimistic and highly motivated experts in the field of sales and marketing believes in turning the crisis into an opportunity. As we see new groups of people being introduced to doing new things online that they may not have considered everything previously, from working from home to online gym sessions to grocery click and collect – and finding that they like the experience, we believe that innovative strategies can help any industry grow in the post-COVID era.
To me, the questions fall into three areas needed for success: 1. Business Strategy – Why am I doing this? 2. The Technology – What platforms and technology are needed? 3. Driving the Business – How do I get the customers I need to be successful? For now, let us look at the strategy question.
As Jack Welch famously said, ‘If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.' Just because you built a website, customers will not just come and buy from it – if only things were that simple and if you are thinking about pivoting towards eCommerce as a short term fix, my best advice is don’t do it.
eCommerce is a strategic shift of behavior. So think about it that way. The old school sales strategies can guarantee sales. AOB India has the largest sales force in India. The sales outsourcing company has delivered successful retail sales to 100s of companies. A touch of Traditional retail sales will help your business recover post lockdown. But your customers will have different expectations, and what gave you a competitive advantage in the past may no longer be appropriate. Conventional benefits like geographic location or pricing are much harder to sustain online than in the real world.
Pricing is very transparent (and expected to be) online. So if your business model is all about hidden discounts or rebates, you might be in trouble. Being the cheapest is not always desirable or necessary, but you do need to be competitive. You need to think differently about what you bring to the table that will encourage people to buy from you. If you are an expert in sourcing niche products, that is good. If you can use your expertise to help people make the right choices, that is great because often the problem online is too much choice and knowing whom to trust. If you provide a niche or specialized product, then even better. This is the channel for you.
Local can still be a good reason to differentiate, but that does limit the audience you are addressing. Your store must talk about who you are as a brand or retailer, what your mission is, what you believe in, and why people should buy from you. If you can’t articulate this, then you will be at a disadvantage. Your thinking needs to change; not to where am I located in terms of footfall but who is my audience, what are the problems I can solve for them, and how do I connect to them digitally. To compete, you must also harness the two-way nature of sales. Online gives you a different (and sometimes deeper) connection to your customers – A means to connect with them digitally and to understand what they are looking for and what solutions you can provide for them. The best online merchants know that this is a two-way street and use their connected customers to guide their direction and decisions in a way that is much more difficult to do in the bricks and mortar world. Your customer list and the consent you have collected to engage that audience is a real measure of the value of your business into the future. It is important to focus on this in your strategy because it is the only way to counter the reduced loyalty people generally feel online and the fact that there is a world of competition only a click away.
The world is not going to be completely online – an active offline presence can support your Bricks and Mortar store or your sales team in the field. The sales outsourcing company, AOB India, has been implementing innovative strategies for every business to connect the customers and grow. The sales outsourcing company is making sure everyone is on a standard set of incentives, and pricing is transparent in all channels and goes a long way to solving any concerns. Multi-channel works well today.
How Can I Help, Sir?
No successful salesperson ever started a conversation in a shop with – What can I sell you? People want help, and they will return to the brands, owners, and retailers that help them the most. The difference in eCommerce is that your digital assets and content are what will help your customers now, along with your sales assistants. You have to focus on the problems you solve and the needs you satisfy for your customers and how to do that digitally.
If you are selling products, you need great product descriptions, features, but also benefits. Marketing communications needs to be revised and prepared again. If you have content showing the product in use, that’s great. If you don’t, consider creating it for your top 20 products. There are no ifs, buts, or maybes with this. Nothing will sabotage your online eCommerce business quicker than poor product images and descriptions. You, as the business owner, must think about how your team will provide this content and, by the way, increasingly that should be in video format.
This in turn shall also help your field sales force, to interact with the customers and showcase your brand while presenting their pitch.
Business Strategy – The Team
First and foremost, online is still a business. So all of the fundamental business skills around operations, finance, customer service, etc. remain the same, but there are some new ones you need. It certainly helps to have access to someone who has broad experience in the line of both online and offline sales. Who can help you put all the pieces together? A highly focused, trained, seasoned sales outsourcing agency will be able to help you with planning, drafting marketing communication w.r.t. the sales point of view. Also, their expertise can help you develop an online presence that provides an impressive customer experience. Most importantly, by outsourcing the scope of work to a trusted partner can not only save your precious time but also save you from unnecessary heavy expenses. As you grow, you can undoubtedly bring specific skills to your outsourced sales team. In the beginning, you probably should engage some consulting help to build the broader roadmap and plan in how you are going to grow and sustain the business.
Business Strategy – The Economics of Your New Business
Analytics brings me neatly to the final leg of your business strategy. You have to understand the new economics of what you are doing. It used to be the case that people believed that you got a lower price on the internet because businesses did not have all the traditional costs of real estate, staff assistants, or multiple partner margins. While that is partly true, there are a whole set of other expenses you need to consider - Logistics/delivery, returns, payments and charge-backs, digital infrastructure costs, and, most importantly, demand generation and marketing costs. Outsourcing the entire sales process protects you from the high expenses.
AOB India has partnered with 100s of companies and has a target-oriented sales outsourcing process. The sales outsourcing company builds out a proper financial plan that accounts for these elements before you start. They make sure that you understand the margins behind each product and how that allows you to scale your marketing correctly.
I believe that almost every business needs to plan for at least 15-20% of its revenue to come from Online sources and the rest from the field sales. The amalgamation of digital sales coupled with on- field sales can help you grow successfully.
Start small and slow and grow from there – just make sure you have considered the road ahead.