The Ecommerce Cannibalization Conundrum
“Don’t cut into my commissions!” your sales team pleads. It may be a dog-eat-dog world, but that doesn’t mean your online sales have to eat into your existing employee-aided deals. Now you’re stuck with the question of how to expand your consumer base without taking from their transactions. Everyone worries about e-commerce cannibalizing sales from their team (and with good reason).
In the age of eCommerce, disintermediation reigns supreme. The fewer obstacles between you and your customers, the more sales you can make. That doesn’t mean there is no place for sales professionals. Talented employees are an asset, not an obstacle. Building relationships and reaching out directly can be critical to reeling in those big fish.
Selling is a team sport. Playing with various approaches can more easily lead to success. After all, there is more than one way to get to your goals. Below we will examine several options for expanding your revenue without waves of rage-quitting from the business development department.
A Little Chat a Little Commission Cash
One method is to give partial commissions for partial work towards the sale. The employee still is involved with the sales process, but only as a support role. This might include spending time on chat platforms such as your company’s Facebook Messenger. Facebook can be directly connected to HubSpot, and many other customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
We have all yelled at the computer screen in frustration over unintelligent chat bots. (Maybe just me? Okay then.) Having a chat window pop up that clearly states a real human is waiting to help could alleviate this potential problem. The live chat allows your sales individuals to capture more leads for themselves and more conversions for you.
Less work for less commissions can seem fair to all. It may be a better solution than telling your sales team they are cut out entirely from the new process. Motivation is key in the sales process, and you don’t want to risk slowing down the role of excitement for the employees who need it most by telling them they can’t play with your new sales toy.
Importantly, for this method to work, management needs to ensure that the number of hours your sales employees are spending on this sale are actually less than what they would put in for a full commission sale. If not, the commission should be adjusted to the employees’ full commission rate. This can be a risky maneuver if financially planning for only partial commissions but ending up with full commissions instead.
Holding Hands Start to Finish
Why not let your employees play with your shiny new e-commerce website for a turn? There are lots of ways to incorporate person-to-person selling with website sales. Established customers, and those who reach out to your team directly, can be given a custom discount code. This incents sales team interactions still.
Sales personnel can then walk consumers through the web purchasing process. This can ensure their cart gets pushed all the way through checkout. It also gives an easier experience to your consumers who are getting used to the new website. Any questions can be answered in real time with all the tone, emotion, care, connection, and concern that the best salespeople so readily provide.
Automate and Separate
Another option is to separate eCommerce entirely from your person-to-person sales process. Automated marketing allows leads to move down the funnel without stressing your sales team. Ads and emails can keep potential customers engaged during the first phases of the funnel. Instead of giving sales individuals a tracking or discount code, custom URLs can be included in the emails or ads. Additionally, a discount code can be used for tracking and faster conversions (like what was suggested for employee-run sales).
More Sales is the Bottom Line
Increasing sales in one channel tends to increase sales in all channels. The brand halo effect is a fabulous asset (almost as good an asset as your incredible sales employees) when we get it right. For help navigating the above options, reach out to an expert (like us). We’d love to talk about your challenges and goals!