Modernizing your wholesale strategy by adopting a B2B system is a great decision and will have a tremendous impact on your business, but like any upgrade or improvement, it will take a bit of work and a lot of planning to go off well. And while any reputable provider will offer assistance in your adoption, because it is such a large step there are a few recommendations we like to give that we think will ease the transition.
None of these recommendations are particularly difficult to follow or plan around, but we want to offer them as a reminder:
Build An Org Chart!
First, we recommend creating an org chart to identify all the roles needed for a successful rollout. Basically, who’s going to do what in this project. B2B adoption can have a lot of moving parts, so it’s important to know all of them are being tended to.
It’s best to set up three roles - a marketing role, a tech role, and a project management role. These roles can be filled by the same person, but we recommend against it if at all possible. After all, the whole point is to minimize the likelihood of problems by spreading the responsibilities across a team.
Stay In Communication!
Our second recommendation is to communicate, early and often, with your retailers, reps, and anyone else involved. Let them know what changes are coming, what effect they will have, and what is expected of them. This can, and probably will, include product folks as well as marketing teams.
You want to make sure everyone is ready when the switch is flipped. As you probably know, there is often some difficulty here. People are busy and don’t read the first email or are sick and miss the meeting. And by sending another email or scheduling another meeting, you’re working to mitigate that difficulty.
Prep That Data!
Finally, we recommend a specific effort to get your data ready for B2B. Depending on your operation, this may already be done. In our experience though even the most prepared teams need to do a little extra work on their data.
For example, if you are not doing a direct integration, you’ll have to determine how your data will get into the system. If you are working through an integration, your job is obviously easier, but you’ll have to make sure your data comes through how you expect - new integrations (of any type) can reveal problems in your data that you’ve never had to worry about.
These recommendations are not meant to be intimidating or blown out of proportion. If you’ve ever adopted a new software platform, most of this will be familiar to you. But because B2B systems touch so much of your business, we wanted to point out a few key areas where you’ll want to pay a little more attention. A good team, good communication, and good data. If you’re able to manage those three things, you’ll be well on your way to a successful rollout. Good luck!