Companies Team to Give Hard-Pressed Sales Reps a Boost

Mobile sales and business-to-business e-commerce platform Handshake has teamed up with Square to provide easy B2B ordering and payments via an app that enables a seamless workflow between the two companies’ products.

The app, which is available now on the Square App Marketplace, offers the following capabilities:

  • B2B sellers can accept all major credit cards and see their money deposited in their bank accounts in one to two business days;
  • Businesses can capture sales rep and customer orders electronically; and
  • Manufacturers and distributors can customize each customer’s e-commerce checkout experience to require payments by credit cards only, to pre-authorize and capture funds later, or to capture funds from the customer immediately.

“The opportunity here for B2B manufacturers and distributors is delivering greater speed in the sales process,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Many manufacturers and distributors participate in trade events, and the ability to conduct sales immediately through Square increases their order-to-cash velocity,” she told CRM Buyer.

The app provides sales reps with access to real-time data about their customers; accurate product, pricing and inventory information; and order histories.

“It will be important for sales teams to make sure that they have relevant and effective content to share with customers and prospects so that buyers are confident in their purchases and so that sales reps can further prove their value,” Avionos President Scott Webb told CRM Buyer.

Areas of Focus

Handshake’s offerings include the following:

  • Handshake Rep, a mobile sales rep productivity and order writing app for manufacturers and distributors;
  • Handshake Direct, a family of B2B e-commerce offerings designed to enable easy ordering for buyers, which has both mobile and Web components; and
  • Handshake Hub, a customer service offering.

Handshake Rep works on iPads and the iPhone. Pricing is US$40-$80 per user per month, billed annually, for the core and professional versions. Pricing for the enterprise version is not publicly listed on the company’s website.

Square — a financial services and merchant services aggregator and mobile payment company — lets users accept offline debit and credit cards on their iOS or Android devices. It recently has been making aggressive moves, such as launching a restaurant app. It also has acquired a New York state cryptocurrency license, which sent its share prices surging on Monday.

Sales reps can use Handshake Rep with Square to accept credit cards at trade shows and customer appointments.

Smoother Sales Processes

“The integration of Handshake and Square should streamline the payment process and give companies using Handshake another way to accept payments,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“As we continue to see automation cutting into B2B sales, this gives sales an advantage,” she told CRM Buyer, “as they can close credit cards deals in person rather than directing a customer to a site to pay — and potentially cutting themselves out altogether.”

The number of B2B customers purchasing online has grown over the past year, according to the 2018 Avionos Procurement Officer Report.

Being able to make purchases online and the consumerization of retail have changed buyer expectations, diminishing the role of sales reps.

“The consumerization of the buying process is blurring the lines between B2B and B2C,” Constellation’s Zhou observed. “The B2B buyer is the same person that shops online and uses their mobile device to research vendors and solutions.”

Serious Competition

Square faces strong competition in mobile credit card payment acceptance from both established and new companies, including PayPal Here, Intuit GoPayment and Wells Fargo’s PayAnywhere.

Meanwhile, Handshake faces competition in the B2B e-commerce platform field.

“We’re seeing more vendors cut into this space,” Wettemann said, citing Salesforce’s CloudCraze acquisition earlier this year as an example.

The Handshake-Square teamup also will be challenged, Wettemann suggested. “I expect we’ll see more integration partnerships and consolidation in this space.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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