How’s Your B2B Back-End?

Tips for setting up workflows that produce more cash and less chaos.

When it comes to selling both B2C and B2B, with every product, price, and customer comes more data complexity. In fact, the pressure selling to these two groups puts on back-end systems is often the cause of unpleasant confusion on both sides of the sales funnel.Setting up #B2B workflows that bring more cash and less chaos. #Webgility @QuickBooks Click To Tweet

Let’s consider the simplest use case—selling products with different price points. If you have different price points for different customer segments, you’ll need to keep track within some system of record, typically in accounting. Instead of creating proper structural rules, most sellers end up creating different SKUs and then tagging a different price for each of them. Or they keep the product at the same SKU but provide different business logic for each customer segment and its corresponding price point.

What once seemed like a simple pricing decision is now so much more complex. For instance, take that formula and multiply it by all the other factors that a B2B business has to deal with. In B2B selling, not only do you have different product price points but you also have different levels of visibility for each product. So you might have specific payment terms—like direct with credit card billing—for an infrequent customer and a different set of terms—like an invoice with payment due in 60 days—for a regular purchaser. These two cases have different implications on the order fulfillment workflow. There are dozens of other examples that show how the layers of complexity around data related to a B2B business are much higher than what a B2C business typically has to deal with. More on multichannel inventory managment.

Show That Inventory Who’s Boss
There are lots of great standalone inventory management systems out there, but the greatest tool in the world will not help if your inventory naming and mapping is off kilter. So before anything else, I recommend a solid standardization of how you’re going to organize your products. Before you do anything, stop and think about:

  • how to create easy and identifiable SKU naming conventions
  • a long-term plan for a scalable catalog structure
  • easily identifiable fields and categories
  • different B2B use cases—different segments, bulk buyers, international customers, etc.
  • how you plan on selling each item in your catalog, B2B or B2C or both
  • whether or not your system can handle the complexity need.

Assume You Will Succeed
For high-volume sales, it’s important to have a great structure in place and really think through what systems can help you now and as your business scales. After all, you don’t want to have to upgrade in a year or two if you don’t have to. With its inventory module add-on, QuickBooks Enterprise is designed for high-volume sellers who need full details on inventory with sorting by warehouse and bin locations.

Before committing to too many channels, products, and customers, it’s crucial to think through a streamlined, scalable back-end workflow that operates with a single system of record that can serve both your accounting needs and your inventory needs.

At the very least, it’s important to set up the workflows so all of the systems understand the differences between a B2B sale a B2C sale. B2B sellers who put thought and effort behind how to maintain these workflows stand a far better chance of building a sustainable, profitable business that pleases all of their customers.




Before founding Webgility, Parag led product teams at and was a founding partner at the leading web development company Gate6. Parag is a self-proclaimed data addict.