Convincing management of the value e-commerce brings is key, says B2B Next speaker Sonesh Shah, vice president, brand marketing and digital for the North American region of Robert Bosch Power Tool Corp.

B2B Next speaker Sonesh Shah, vice president, brand marketing and digital for the North American region of Robert Bosch Power Tool Corp. says organizational support is the biggest roadblock—or biggest booster—to e-commerce success at B2B companies.

Shah’s session is titled “Be Everywhere You Need To Be, and Nowhere You Don’t.” In the session, Shah will speak on how B2B manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers are mastering channel shift at B2B Next, the conference and exhibition to debut September 24-26 in Chicago under a new partnership between top B2B e-commerce analyst Andy Hoar and Vertical Web Media.

When things start to go well and there is success, the organization suddenly pushes resources, mindshare and support in that direction.
Sonesh Shah, vice president, brand marketing and digital for the North American region
Robert Bosch Power Tool Corp.

Forrester Research estimates that B2B e-commerce will reach $1.2 trillion and account for 13.1% of all B2B sales in the US by 2021. At the end of 2017, Forrester expected e-commerce to reach $889 billion and represent 11% of total B2B sales in the US.

Bosch didn’t break out online sales from reported 2017 revenue of 78.1 billion euros, or about $92.03 billion, but in an interview with B2BecNews, Shah made it clear that at Bosch, which has been selling online for the past 15 years, e-commerce is key to growth.

“Manufacturers and retailers that are still asking whether to be online or not are asking the wrong question,” Shah says. “At this point, it should be ‘How quickly can I expand online?’”

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Q: What’s your biggest piece of advice for B2B companies looking to add online sales or increase them?

Shah: Help your organization see the opportunity and the possibilities—online sales success takes a tremendous amount of coordination and support. It is vital that companies understand this and build a resource plan accordingly. But this can only be done if the organization is aligned on the opportunity in front of them.

Q: What leads to the company’s decision to expand online?

Shah: User demand—our users were expecting to find our products online, both directly from us and indirectly through our online retail partners.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge?

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Shah: Organizational support. With anything new, it is very hard to pull resources away from areas that have existing operations and put them into something new. For us, this meant the investment required in people and capabilities to really support this channel.

Q: What has been the biggest gain?

 Shah: Ironically, organizational support. When things start to go well and there is success, the organization suddenly pushes resources, mindshare and support in that direction. Like any flywheel, the most difficult part is getting it started.

Registration for B2B Next is open. The conference features:

  • 38 Sessions
  • 44 Speakers
  • 28 Exhibitors
  • 9 Networking Events

Learn more at B2BNext.net.

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