Q&A: Bob Motta, chief business development officer at ingredients supplier Callisons, aims to get the right mix of technology to expand the company’s reach through a B2B marketplace.

As the chief business development officer at Callisons, a global supplier of mint oils and other ingredients, Bob Motta is leading the development of the company’s global marketplace. Here he shares insights about transforming a century-old, family-owned business for the digital age.

Motta will speak on the panel, “Keys to Success on B2B Marketplaces,” June 21, at the EnvisionB2B 2023 Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

DC360: What is driving B2B companies like Callisons to expand online?


Bob Motta, chief development officer, Callisons

Motta: Expand our market reach, complement our existing direct sales team, and improve the overall customer experience.

DC360: What are your biggest internal and/or external barriers?

Motta: Staffing — finding the right personnel who can handle high-velocity engagement and quickly qualify opportunities. Traditional internal sales personnel may not be ideally suited to the role.


DC360: What are the chief gains you’re realizing?

Motta: Significant increase in traffic and qualified leads through our digital storefront. Additionally, an unexpected increase in customer interest in countries and regions we do not currently serve with direct sales.

DC360: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have on how to launch online B2B sales or increase them?

Motta: Preparation — digitizing your catalogue for ease of use by the customer. Creating a seamless end-to-end experience for the customer that seems like real people on the other end throughout the sales process.

DC360: Regarding COVID-19 and supply chain disruption, what is the biggest adaption your company has made?

Motta: A more thorough and aggressive approach to forecasting key materials, and evaluating the risk vs. reward of taking inventory positions. Managing raw materials by their risk classification.

DC360: Looking back over the past few years, is there anything you wish you had done differently in ecommerce?

Motta: Started sooner and evaluating staffing needs differently.


DC360: What excites you the most in new digital commerce technology?

Motta: Cost effectively extends our market reach and offers the customer a unique opportunity to engage in the moment, when they are most available.

DC360: Going forward, what do you see as the most significant commerce challenges and opportunities?

Motta: Challenges — staffing, and convincing customers there are significant benefits to a digital sales platform. Opportunities — growing and expanding into markets and regions not currently served by boots on the ground and complementing our existing direct sales team.

Jim Daly is a Mount Prospect, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.

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