Updated October 17, 2023 | 4 min read Table of Contents Differences Between Sales Portals and B2B Commerce Websites Sales Portal Features of Sales Portals Pros of Sales Portals Cons of Sales Portals B2B eCommerce Websites Features of B2B eCommerce Sites Pros and Cons of B2B eCommerce Sites Clarity Can Help FAQ Key Takeaways A sales portal is a centralized platform that primarily focuses on facilitating sales processes and online orders, streamlining order management, and providing access to product information for sales teams and authorized partners. It is typically designed for internal use or restricted access. B2B commerce websites are customer-facing platforms that cater to a broader audience of potential buyers. These websites aim to attract and engage customers, provide a comprehensive product catalog, help with decision-making, enable digital self-service online ordering, and support various stages of the buyer's journey. B2B commerce websites often include features like personalized pricing, customer-specific catalogs, and robust integration with CRM and ERP systems. While both sales portals and B2B commerce websites contribute to B2B sales, their primary focus and intended users differ, with sales portals targeting internal teams (such as sales reps) and authorized partners, and B2B commerce websites targeting external customers. The Similarities There are a number of similarities between these two types of B2B portals. Both are often integrated with an ERP system in order to deliver a real-time status on inventory and orders. Key features for customers include the ability to place orders, access order history and order status, order tracking, easy re-ordering, and returns options, all with secure access. You'll be able to juggle complex relationships, like offering customized pricing for your best customers and getting real-time visibility on customer actions. Differences Between Sales Portals and B2B Commerce Websites Comparing sales options for business-to-business companies There are so many ways that businesses can go about marketing and selling their products and services to their customers, whether retail or wholesale customers. Two of the most common ways for business-to-business companies to go about it are to use an online B2B portal or employ a B2B eCommerce website. Both are able to get the job done, but one may work better than the other depending on your business, employees, and customers. Is it viable to have your own sales portal? Is a website a better option? Let's find out. B2B Sales Portal A B2B sales portal is an online interface that contains information and tools that are useful, especially to your sales team, but also to the rest of your employees as well. The goal of such a B2B portal is to enable your sales force to better and more effectively inform and sell to your clients and business customers, to enable partner benefits that aren't available to other businesses. Features of Sales Portals Depending on how your B2B portal is built, you can have many different features. With an online portal, you are able to control who sees what content. Search, sales, marketing, and social media tools are also some important features in most sales portals. Some eCommerce portals even allow you to create small stores within your portal for your customers that can be customized with their logos, specific pricing, easy reorder options, and information that is pertinent to them. Such an online portal may be called a white-label portal. Pros of Sales Portals One of the biggest benefits of using a B2B portal is being able to access all of your sales collateral and tools in one place. If a salesperson is looking for a specific piece of marketing material, they can easily find it without having to ask the marketing team to send it to them, interrupting and slowing both of their tasks. Everyone can see real-time status on order history, order status, price lists, etc. Another positive of a B2B eCommerce portal is that you can customize the portal to your specifications. You can also store more sensitive and extensive information in a portal because your staff is usually the only people who have access to it. Portals can be specialized; some companies need a HIPAA-compliant patient portal or a distributor portal, while others need a B2B portal that can handle split shipping. Cons of Sales Portals An eCommerce portal relies on marketers to keep adding and updating information, so if you don't have a strong marketing or sales team, your B2B portal won't be as beneficial. To make the portal work, salespeople must actually visit it often and pass on the information from it. If your sales team doesn't know how to use the portal or doesn't take full advantage of it and all of the tools it has to offer, then it is not going to have an impact on your sales. B2B eCommerce Websites Business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce sites are publicly-facing websites where companies can buy products or services from another company online. They are usually a combination of a content management system and an eCommerce platform. Features of B2B eCommerce Sites Features of B2B eCommerce change depending on the type of business that is being done. Some of the possible features of a site include user registration, real-time inventory, product catalog, customer-specific pricing, and dealer locators. Pros and Cons of B2B eCommerce Sites A positive of using an eCommerce storefront is the fact that all of your information is consistent. What one customer sees or reads on your website is the exact same thing that the next customer will—unless they are logged in and have content specific to customer accounts, such as customer-specific catalogs and pricing. Additionally, anyone is able to visit your website, not just your employees who have access to it or the business that you have created a store for, which means you can drive new customers to the site with SEO. A good custom eCommerce platform is built with SEO in mind. The eCommerce site could also be customized, but it cannot be as highly customized as a sales portal. It's harder to cater to each specific customer—what every customer else sees is generally what they see. All of the processes are standard and not adjustable for each and every customer. Clarity Can Help At Clarity, we know full well that there is more than one way to get a task accomplished to aid sales reps in their goals. Our team of developers is highly skilled at solving business problems for our clients with our customized applications that deliver top-ranking customer satisfaction, giving you a competitive advantage to increase sales. We have built numerous sales portals and B2B eCommerce sites for many of our clients and would love to build a custom solution for your business. To find out more about what online sales portal development can do for you and how Clarity can make it happen, call or click to contact us today! Talk To Us FAQ What is a B2B sales portal?A B2B sales portal is an online platform that facilitates business-to-business transactions by connecting sellers and buyers. It provides a digital marketplace where a business sales team can showcase their products or services with a custom menu to manage sales processes, see order history, calculate wholesale pricing, and communicate with potential customers via customer accounts. Such a B2B portal makes the entire process easier for both parties. B2B sales portals often include features like product catalogs, place orders, pricing information, customer support, and secure payment options. An online sales portal streamlines the sales cycle, enhances collaboration between businesses, improves the customer experience, and enables efficient and convenient transactions within the B2B sector. How do I create a B2B portal or other online sales portal?Creating a B2B portal—or another type of online sales portal—involves several key steps. First, define the portal's objectives and target audience. Next, design the user interface and consider essential features such as customer catalogs, place customer orders, and secure login/authentication. A B2B sales portal creates an environment in which sales data can help create more online sales for your sales rep. Develop the B2B portal using web development technologies and integrate necessary APIs for functionality like a B2B payment gateway and inventory management. Ensure the portal is secure and user-friendly. Finally, test the B2B portal thoroughly and launch it, followed by continuous monitoring and improvement for a better buying experience. Can ERPs integrate with a B2B portal?Yes, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can integrate seamlessly with a B2B (business-to-business) portal. This integration is highly beneficial as it streamlines processes and enhances efficiency in B2B transactions. ERPs are designed to manage various aspects of a business, including inventory, finance, human resources, and more. With a B2B portal and ERP integration, they facilitate real-time data exchange between a company and its partners or suppliers. This means that orders, invoices, and other critical information can be shared instantly, reducing manual data entry and minimizing errors. I Integrated ERPs provide businesses with a holistic view of their operations, enabling better decision-making. B2B portal integration empowers companies to offer a seamless and responsive experience to their B2B partners, ultimately leading to improved collaboration and a stronger supply chain. The integration of ERPs with a B2B portal is a strategic move that enhances operational efficiency and competitiveness in the modern business landscape.Still have questions? Chat with us on the bottom right corner of your screen #NotARobot Written by Stephen BeerStephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade.He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.