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Finding the Missing Link: The #1 Pitfall for B2B Product Sellers

By Jessica Nash on Thu 02 March 2023 in Blog

Finding the Missing Link: The #1 Pitfall for B2B Product Sellers

No matter how good your marketing, quoting and order-taking processes are, some customers will inevitably look elsewhere for other products and suppliers. But for B2B product sellers, spotting that is hard, and yet doing so quickly is essential for customer retention.

The impact of missing orders

Before we explain how to identify missing orders and what you can do about it, let’s first understand the significance of a missed sale. 

A “missed order” literally means they should have ordered by now, but haven’t. It can be easy to presume the order will be placed at another time but, with every missed order, there’s potential for customer churn. For product businesses that depend on loyal, relational customers, late orders can quickly become uncontrollable and difficult to salvage. Before you know it, a few seemingly mislaid orders can spiral into a growing list of churned customers, now purchasing with a direct competitor.

Spotting it

Product businesses typically have hundreds or even thousands of customers placing lots of orders. In amongst this noise, it’s challenging to confidently identify trends and anomalies in ordering behaviour – never mind applying any kind of predictability to the frequency and value of expected orders. With this lack of understanding and visibility, product businesses often suffer with a leaky bucket.

Some of the most common challenges cited by product businesses include:

Being unable to quickly and easily identify when a customer’s ordering pattern changes
Finding it difficult to proactively chase missing orders (i.e. outside of the customer's normal ordering pattern)
Struggling to drive up order frequency & order value

But in most businesses, customer ordering patterns are surprisingly predictable with the right analysis. Predictive tools like AI can use customer buying patterns to identify missing orders, meaning product sellers can prompt customers at the right time (for them) to avoid delayed or forgotten orders. Not only does this increase your sales revenue, but importantly it will reduce customer attrition (prevent that leaky bucket!).

Actioning it

Identifying your at-risk customers as quickly as possible is the first step, but also engaging with them is vital to secure those missing sales. 

With a list of absent orders to hand, simply calling these customers to ask for their next order might be enough to avoid customer churn. This is a quick win, and you’ll be surprised by how many customers want to place an order but just haven’t found the time! 

Consider implementing a basic quote-to-order workflow too. Not only will it enable you to take more orders (more often and with less effort!), but it’ll simplify and streamline the ordering experience for your customers too. Including simple ways for customers to authorise and pay for quotes online makes for an intuitive workflow that's efficient, profitable and scalable. Ultimately, it’ll help reduce the chances of customers shopping elsewhere, and keep that list of missing orders at bay.

Want to find out exactly which customers you’re missing orders from? Prospect CRM has built-in B2B product intelligence and churn alerts that automatically tell you which customers you’re at risk of losing; allowing you to act early and avoid customer churn. Identify and chase up your missing orders today with Prospect CRM – try it for free here.