Ai2 has been at the forefront of the sales rep order entry technology boom in the distribution and manufacturing industry. With the adoption and utilization of eCommerce, mobile sales applications, mobile order entry, barcode scanning apps, new ideas in sales software, manufacturer software, sales analytics, rep software, manufacturers rep software and sales force automation software for tracking commissions, to accept and relay orders, manage contacts and product catalogs with data collection using and other B2B technologies retailers are beginning to expect much more from their distributors then in years past.

Many sales reps in wholesale distribution are writing orders using paper orders, online forms and other order entry systems like fillable PDFs and Excel Spreadsheets. Reliance on these manual, non-automated sales rep order entry processes are becoming increasingly problematic in today’s digital, on-demand environment.

Sales rep order entry

Customer Mobile Ordering Applications

Customer Mobile ordering applications for wholesale reps were born from Catalog Management Systems (CMS).  They typically include a scanner app, barcode scanner integration, fast and simplified order entry, order automation to the back office and a UI built for order fulfillment.  As eCommerce blossomed, some order management centric companies diversified from the web to a more customer centric mobile order applications strategy. Now customer orders were coming from a variety of sources – so these companies have created systems that became complete order management systems.

All of these ways to interface with the customer mobile ordering applications are now referred to as “channels” – so now an organization needs to be omni-channel to handle orders from a variety of sources including mobile order applications.

customer mobile ordering

B2B eCommerce

While B2B eCommerce sounds easy, the reality is that it is often just a way of fulfilling orders with already-existing clients. Many of our clients are legacy wholesalers who have had an enduring relationship with their customers. As such, many of our clients are their choice to order existing products, fulfill low inventory, and even expand their product offerings. B2B eCommerce is a series of tools that allow these potential customers to order direct from the supplier without having to fill out forms in triplicate like the old days. B2B eCommerce uses the same approaches to ordering product that traditional eCommerce does, but it has enterprise security and connects with a wide range of ERP systems.

Compete With Omni-Channel eCommerce

Omni-channel ecommerce is the only way to compete in today’s market place.  It can seem an enormously complex challenge for distributors seeking to stay competitive in a rapidly changing industry.  Retailers expect their omni-channel experience to be flawless every time; they expect a consistent experience whether they’re shopping online or in-store, on their laptop or on their smartphone.  When it falls short the risks of having customers revert to old, less efficient, ways of order management are real.  That leaves these customers vulnerable to other more efficient companies that have perfected the omni-channel eCommerce experience with new technology and better infrastructure.

The importance of supply chain management

Content Management Systems Are Vital

Your content is important manage it like the vital resource it is to your reps and employees.   Enterprise content management software (ECM), document management software (EDMS) and content management systems (CMS) enable distributors as well as manufactures to take full advantage of the time invested in sending reps in the field to visit customers. Enterprise content management solutions can deliver content securely and quickly for a low cost like Ai2’s bSource product or it can be elaborate.  PresentPro can capture, store, activate, analyze and automate business content through complex sales Ai providing new value from data that was previously unstructured, unused and unavailable.

TradeShowPro is an Trade Show Order Taking System

The Trade Show platform is designed to facilitate the pre-show, live-show, post-show and virtual show ordering for wholesale distributor’s trade show events.

The TradeShowPro Trade Show Order Taking System consists of:

1) An Online Order Entry Portal for your customers to place their trade show pre-orders and/or place orders for a virtual trade show

2) The Supplier Mobile App allows your vendors/suppliers to install the mobile app on their own smartphones to effortlessly place their trade show orders at the booth for your customers during the live trade show

3) Advance Reports by role/persona: customer reports, supplier reports; sales rep reports, and distributor’s Admin reports generation based on your rules; 4) Advanced dashboard analytics of all activities in the both the Online Portal and in the Mobile App.

Artificial Intelligence Will Support The Future of Sales Conversations

Artificial intelligence (AI) powered technology has exploded in recent years. Common AI personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are helping people figure out their daily schedules, controlling the lights and thermostats in homes, and helping commuters find the best route to work.  With this type of technology in the hands of the consumers you have to wonder why sales organizations heavily invested in field sales personnel haven’t embraced the even the slightest bit of sales AI in there process.

AI for Sales

Retail Sales Execution. The Right Product. In the Right Place. At the Right Time

Retail sales execution, digital sales, digital marketing and basic sales duties are accomplished differently for different companies and different industries. Regardless of the route to market, consumer goods wholesalers must have a retail sales execution strategy at the individual store level because if the product is not merchandised correctly, and promoted effectively, the consumer is more likely to purchase from a competitor. Despite efforts to improve in-store retail sales execution over many decades, success remains elusive. Many consumer goods wholesalers tell us that they are not satisfied with their ability for retail sales execution at the store level.

retail sales execution

In the distribution business, no order is complete until the delivery paperwork is finished. With mobile proof of delivery the process has changed. Because any process with paper is synonymous with waste, riddled with inefficacies, and error prone.  This presents an opportunity for change and a small up-front investment can improve profitability within in 6 months.

Mobile CRM: A Hybrid Approach

If a mobile CRM tied to the ordering process is properly implemented the benefits can be immeasurable.  The challenge, however, is that investment in a customer relationship management system often pricey and a CRM doesn’t solve the mobile sale rep order entry needs.  On top of that it likely doesn’t even communicate in a meaningful way with the order data being collected at the points of order.

In order to get the most out of relationship management at a distributor or manufacturer the order management must come first and the mobile CRM tools should be directly connected or embedded into the system creating an Hybrid CRM order entry tool.