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Enabling the e-commerce ecosystem with sales enablement methodologies




Enough has been spoken about the e-commerce boom in India. Albeit the recent roadblocks, the Indian e-commerce sector is expected to cross the 100 million mark by the end of 2016. As per eMarketer, a market research firm, globally the ecommerce sales will reach a $3.5 trillion within the next five years. It is the technology platform which will provide 12.4% of global retail sales by 2019.  Indian economy which is one of the fastest growing economies in the world indeed has a major share to contribute in the mentioned statistics. Thus it becomes inevitable for the e-commerce platforms to widen their market, increase the trade flow and enable their sales.


Sales enablement, through a combination of sales methodologies and processes, then plays a vital role in enabling e-commerce companies by helping get trade closer to them and widening the marketplace. The issues faced by the Indian ecommerce giants can be sorted out ably if only the right sales enablement solutions are applied. These enablement methodologies range from partner/ merchant acquisition to customer relationship management; from skilling the ecosystem to customer adoption. Let us understand these sales enablement methodologies individually in context of the e-commerce sector.


Partner/ merchant acquisition: To accelerate consumer activity e-commerce companies are always on the lookout for on-boarding merchants/retailers on their platform. The important measure here is coverage and volume of merchants/retailers on-boarded within a specific time period. In a diverse geography like India this is not an easy job. It requires consistent reach and evangelizing effort.  Some relevant sales enablement methodologies to drive this are:


Feet-On-Street - This essentially entails driving touch points and experience. A strong sales force on feet who are the deal pioneers in a sense will drive the sales vision. Unless you have got deal pioneers, your e-commerce venture will be miss opening doors.
Telesales- This is specifically for the products which are largely virtual experience or technology- driven. The approach of the telesales agent is the most crucial and yet most reliable part of your e-commerce ecosystem.
Digital marketing – As they say, there's no point talking #shawarma to a #vegan. It is about exploiting what's in demand and understand partner interests and behaviour. Digital marketing campaigns can drive partner acquisition strategies in the most effective and targeted manner.
Marketing activations – This broadly involves driving engagement in partner hubs. It is about creating touch-points and marketing activations are effective in that sense.


Customer registration: The next area where sale enablement can play an important role is in helping drive customer registrations. This is the first step towards building a large prospective customer base. Leveraging sales enablement can help in reaching out and understanding the customer and attracting them to the platform. It gives favorable environment to the e-commerce retailers to tweak their database basis the client/ customer’s perspective and preferences.  It makes the experience for the customer smoother which in turn serves as an attractive proposition. The common sales enablement methodologies involved here are those of telesales, BTL activities and digital marketing.


Telesales- Telesales provides a quicker response, higher ROIs and greater geographical reach. This is especially effective in a B2B e-commerce scenario.
Marketing activation- Customer registrations for e-commerce portals can be effectively driven by marketing activations. With effective customer engagement, it has the potential to provide quicker returns. This works in both B2B and B2C focused e-commerce platforms.
Digital marketing- With pointed campaigns, customer registrations for e-commerce platforms can be increased. This is most effective in a B2C e-commerce platform.


Customer adoption:  Once the customer registration happens, the bigger challenge is to drive adoption and loyalty for the e-commerce platform. One of the toughest challenges faced by the sales and marketing team is to get higher traffic on their portals. It all boils down to generating awareness and powerful information dissemination driven by engaging sales enablement methods such as:


FOS – Driving adoption is about regular engagement and customer nurturing. Showcasing the value and the relevance of the products/ services in the platform can be done effective by the feet-on-street soldiers.
Telesales- Talking about engagement, tele based methods are also effective sales enablement implementation methodology to create that one-on-one connect with the customer across geographies.


Skilling the ecosystem/ partner readiness: In this new ecosystem, partners need to be aligned with the new ways of doing things. This is about improving the ecosystem preparedness for selling in the e-commerce ecosystem. Readiness programs including communication engine, readiness engine and engagement engine is of prime importance here. Sales enablement aids this by providing sales training. As a powerful means of developing the sales force and sales managers, it builds critical skills and knowledge for long-term success. The objective of training is to impart a simple message, ensure its consistency, and track the impact. Training can be deployed through various methodologies - classroom training, remote training, on-the-job training, e-learning, etc. – and each method equips the sales force to perform better. Well-thought-out training content and its effective implementation have the power to transform the sales force of an enterprise, as well as provide customers with a consistent and standardised experience across the organisation, across geographies.


E-learning platforms- Truly a sales initiator, e-learning platform provides a cost effective solution for the partners.
Face-to-face training methods like on-the-job training- Though the advantages of digital and e-platforms cannot be denied, we need to remember that interaction (face-to-face in particular) is crucial. This involves on-the-job training for sales. This works best when the ecosystem is in clusters and physical coverage is not difficult.
Remote training- Tele-led training, webinars, pod casts, simulations, audio- video broadcasts, online testing and feedbacks etc. are various methods of remote training which keep the representative abreast with latest innovation and developments which come in handy for enabling the e-commerce ecosystem.


In view of the above, enabling the e-commerce ecosystem via sales enablement then is a simple and direct approach and yet complex in terms of their implementation if the understanding is not correct. E-commerce companies can take their success story to the next level by applying right sales enablement methodologies.