HPE’s e-commerce team collaborates with the company’s sales team to bring more buyers online.

 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the manufacturer of internet network servers and other information technology hardware and software products, is increasing the “net new revenue” it receives from online sales, vice president of business-to-business e-commerce Martin Rohde says.

To produce net new revenue, or revenue that is incremental to sales completed offline, HPE developed a system of teaming its e-commerce professionals with sales reps to educate customers on how they benefit from ordering online, Rohde said in a presentation last week at the B2B Online conference in Chicago. That, along with making more complex products available for online purchase, he adds, has helped to win more customers over to e-commerce.

HPE is selling about 50% of its products through e-commerce, Rohde says. This includes products sold by its Enterprise Online Store, where buyers can configure and order large complex systems like network servers with multiple blades or server modules for computing and data storage; and its Parts Store for ordering replacement parts. HPE also provides an online marketplace where buyers can view information on HPE products and click to the e-commerce sites of resellers and other channel partners to purchase products and services. Rohde didn’t provide more details on HPE’s e-commerce sales.

The company has expanded the number of products available for online purchase by adding to its e-commerce sites more of its complex products—such as network servers with 15 blades, Rohde says. “We’re going up in the level of complexity we can cover,” he says.

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In addition, HPE has introduced a variety of online services for business buyers. These include:

  • Setting up a company-specific HPE product catalog with contract prices and terms;
  • Configuring complex equipment and systems, and saving product configurations for quick re-ordering;
  • Managing online orders across more than 200 countries, using 10 languages and 43 currencies, with the ability to begin product research in one language or currency, then approve the purchase and complete the order in different languages or currencies;
  • “Punching out” from their procurement software applications to place orders under approved contract terms on a customized section of HPE’s e-commerce portal;
  • Monitoring order status for all purchases from a single online portal, regardless of where in the world orders were placed online or via phone or fax.

HPE also provides its customers with online reports of their purchasing histories and overall consumption records.

Even with these added e-commerce services, HPE still had to take steps to persuade many of its customers to order online, Rohde says. One effective method is organizing members of HPE’s e-commerce management team to accompany sales reps on visits to customers to help explain the benefits of ordering online, Rohde says.

HPE has directed its e-commerce, product development and sales teams to collaborate on how to better design and deploy online cross-selling and upselling displays to increase conversion rates and “find hidden pockets of net new revenue,” Rohde says.

Getting more customers to place more orders online instead of through sales reps, he adds, has freed up HPE’s reps to help produce more revenue by helping customers place more complex orders.

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