What makes an effective sales order management platform?
As consumers increasingly embrace omnichannel commerce experiences, the need for an effective sales order management software platform to help manage orders, accounts, and reps will be a critical piece of creating consistent and effective customer experiences across all buying channels. Today’s B2B and B2C buyers are demanding streamlined and consistent experiences wherever they are shopping (brick-and-mortar, marketplaces, mobile app, desktop) and many are willing to pay and buy more if it means a better customer experience. For this reason, industry experts are predicting customer experience will outshine pricing and even product when it comes to key brand differentiation in the coming years.
Why sales order management software platforms for customer experience? Because sales order management software platforms automate and streamline the sales order management process — so your sales reps can process orders, manage pricing, invoicing and billing, commissions, and provide overall better service to their customers. This kind of true multi-channel solution delivers efficiency while also saving sellers money, with less time spent on time-intensive, repetitive tasks and a reduction in costly human errors. Automating the sales order workflow also means less account maintenance and more opportunity to focus on your sales. However, not all sales order management software platforms are created equal.
Here’s the 7 most essential, must-have features of an effective sales order management software platform.
1.SaaS-based sales order management platforms
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)-based sales order management platforms deliver a number of benefits over on-premise options. SaaS platforms are incredibly cost-efficient, low commitment, and take away many of the headaches and expenses associated with on-premise systems. On-premise platforms typically have much higher licensing costs with numerous ongoing expenses for things like customizations, maintenance contracts, hardware investments and upgrades. Most crucially, you typically need an IT team in place to manage an on-premise platform. By comparison, SaaS-based sales order management platforms are usually on a pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription model. That means you will not be charged extra fees for things like support or maintenance and no downtime for product updates. Best of all, there’s no need for IT or technical staff to implement. SaaS platforms are also known for their superior availability (cloud-based software gives you the ability to work from anywhere, 24/7), flexibility (tiered plans and pricing based on your needs), and scalability (growing alongside your business). Aleran’s SaaS-based service model is the best in the sales order management industry.
2. Streamlined order fulfillment and payment processing
Easy-to-use and intuitive sales order entry and fulfillment is the heart and soul of any good sales order management software platform. Sales orders should be able to accommodate several different ordering situations from quotes, to basic sales orders, to blanket and credit orders, and beyond. Automation and A.I.-powered features address most manual aspects of the process by speeding up processing times and helping sales reps sell more successfully. For example, features like automatic upselling, integrated payment processing, and other tools that promote self-service use technology to create new sales opportunities and optimize the customer experience.
3. Flexible pricing management
Pricing management is essential, especially for B2B orders which tend to be more complex than B2C sales. The best sales order management software platforms will allow you to manage complex pricing and discount policies according to vendor or customer. Choose a platform that supports unique customer profiles, allowing you to set different pricing levels based on individual customer contracts or groups of customers. Flexible pricing management features should also allow you to dictate unique payment terms, discounts, and shipping arrangements according to customer or groups of customers, in addition to establishing quantity and volume discounts.
4. Automated commissions tracking and reconciliation
Getting commissions done right and in a timely manner is an integral part of the sales process, especially when commission incentives can literally mean the difference between retaining or losing your top-performing sales reps. Automating commission tracking and reconciliation is another way to save time and money while improving your business processes.
For example, Aleran’s RepDesk software uses commission rules so you can assign rates by location, manufacturer, agency/representative split, and so on. When these same rules are applied to your commission statements you can reconcile the entirety of your commission payments automatically. This kind of automated commissions tracking and reconciliation improves sales productivity by centralizing and streamlining the sales order process — freeing up your administrative staff to focus on other value-added activities and reducing errors.
5. Dedicated B2B and B2C E-Commerce
To provide the best experiences for audiences with different needs, look for sales order management platforms that offer dedicated B2B and B2C e-commerce solutions. Dedicated B2B and B2C sites improve customer experience, drive customer acquisition, increase cash flow and help organizations achieve higher growth rates than their peers. While some B2B sellers have been using 3rd-party ERP plug-ins to enable selling from B2C platforms, this adapted approach has serious functional and experiential limitations. Dedicated B2B e-commerce, offers sellers more of the very specific functionality they need, allowing them to set price levels, create term accounts, check inventory, integrate product catalogs and manage customers.
Additionally, B2B e-commerce also supports the kind of robust self-service features today’s buyers demand, like: product content and demos, customer log-ins for pricing, order history, delivery and pickup methods, and integrated, secure payment processing with full PCI-compliance guaranteed. OneMart, Aleran’s SaaS B2B e-commerce solution, offers this kind of smart, tailored, and streamlined customer experience that addresses the B2B buying journey and specialized needs of today’s savvy and demanding B2B decision-makers. Using OneMart, sellers can quickly showcase and sell their products directly without spending a ton of cash or time on complicated builds — even turning their static PDF catalogs into shoppable websites almost instantly. OneMart’s customizable templates and intuitive sitebuilder make it possible to build a rich and feature-rich B2B while automating sales order management for B2B and wholesale customers.
6. Integration services
With the right integrations, sales order management software platforms can give sellers and their customers full visibility into different stages of the order cycle and help promote transparency across their entire organization. In addition to handling sales orders, integration services can help sellers automate their back-office business processes, promote collaboration between departments, and connect with e-commerce, accounting, CRM, and other ERP systems. By connecting your most essential business apps with your sales order management platform, data can flow freely and easily between systems. This reduces the likelihood of costly human errors and creates many efficiencies for your business — like connecting you with your channel partners and improving the way you collect and manage data.
7. Revenue Intelligence
Look for sales order management software platforms that provide real-time revenue intelligence. This may include dashboards with key performance indicators geared to identify trends in sales performance. Additionally, these dashboards should offer data visualizations to help further illustrate those findings. Rather than spending time and money manually aggregating data from across systems and poring over reports, Revenue Intelligence gives real-time access to a range of performance measures (i.e sales channels, brands, sales reps, customers, and products). Armed with crucial data points, sales orgs and sellers can make informed decisions about how they’re selling and adjust strategy accordingly.
When evaluating sales order management software platforms for your business, look for a platform solution which supports growth. Ideally, the platform should be geared for scalability with tools and technology to meet your needs and the needs of your channel partners. The right platform will benefit both digital and traditional channels, to help you align with your partners and support the unique goals of your sales business.
Aleran’s Sales Order Management Software Platform
Aleran’s sales order management software platform encourages omnichannel growth and automates the most essential parts of the sales order management process and puts valuable intelligence at your fingertips. Our unified commerce solution saves you time and money by automating day-to-day operations and gives you actionable sales intelligence so you can manage your team, track your sales, and grow your revenues.
With the Aleran platform, you get cost-efficient tools and tech designed specifically to help sales orgs, manufacturers, and retailers sell smarter and faster, including:
- An all-in-one, integrated unified commerce solution across B2B and B2C, including marketplace
- Real-time sales order delivery and management
- Automated commissions tracking & reconciliation
- Real business intelligence with robust reporting dashboards, vendor and product performance, customer maps, and suggestive selling
- Low total cost of ownership
- Reduced implementation time you can realize ROI sooner
- No technical expertise required
- 24/7 cloud-based availability
- No-strings-attached subscription pricing with zero long-term commitment
Want to see what Aleran’s sales order management software platform can do for your business?
Click here and request a personalized demo today.