In many ways, the business-to-business world remains stuck in the past. Many of us as consumers enjoy modern, online systems such as Amazon, where we can easily purchase a new pair of pants or some fresh running shoes. Or we simply walk into a store and pick what we want from the shelf. But how does that product get to the store shelf?

    The journey from manufacturer to seller – the business-to-business transaction that puts those products on the shelf - isn’t nearly as simple or clear cut. But the path those pants and shoes take from the manufacturer to seller is critical to the success of any manufacturer, and a new way of choreographing that journey within the supply chain could help strengthen a company's B2B sales.

    That’s where Appropos comes in.

    Four years ago, our company – based on the west bank of the Grand River here in Grand Rapids – developed Envoy, a wholesale B2B platform that helps companies power up their sales and streamlines their marketing. Envoy gives sales teams the tools needed to increase their speed of sale, and marketing departments will gain more control over their brand story and content. Both will benefit from a modern online experience.

    B2B transactions take place within a supply chain, among manufacturers, distributors and retailers. It constitutes the whirlwind of business activity that happens before the end product gets to you, the consumer. To this day, many businesses still conduct transactions over the phone, writing orders down on paper, or even requesting items via fax. In an increasingly global, complex 21st-century economy, where the volume of sales for goods multiplies exponentially, doing business the old fashioned way opens the door to preventable problems.

    A program like Envoy is designed to present several solutions simultaneously, to approach B2B functions as a unified and harmonious service, instead of a traditional back-office utility. Unlike add-on B2B programs that are akin to individual utility tools in a tool box, Envoy is an entire Swiss Army knife that has tools for everyone, at every level, focused on sales and marketing.

    Historically, B2B tools have been sold as a framework that the clients are then responsible for maintaining, often using their own internal resources for configuration and user support. Instead, Envoy is sold as a service, which includes both access to the “framework,” a configuration of the framework for your business, and ongoing support and training. With Envoy, a flat monthly fee includes all of this, in addition to the platform tools themselves.

    Our platform is purchased using the software-as-a-service model (SaaS), which is simply software that’s licensed on a subscription basis and typically hosted in the cloud. If you’ve used Quickbooks online, joined Netflix, used Amazon Prime, or done dozens of other everyday things online, chances are you’ve used a software-as-a-service platform.

    What’s relatively uncharted territory in the software-as-a-service model are business-to-business sales –and we believe that’s an untapped opportunity for a countless number of businesses here in Michigan and beyond.

    Our Envoy platform reflects a simple reality in today’s business environment. Just as consumers want instantaneous information, businesses demand instantaneous sales. When retailers take less time to fill orders, when sales reps can showcase products six months down the pipeline in attractive 360-degree photography and when invoicing, inventories and additional assets can be instantly accessed – and this can all be done in a clean, modern interface – businesses up and down the entire chain have a competitive edge.

    By redefining the relationship among manufacturers and sellers, and emphasizing strategy over stagnant utility, Envoy helps meet a client’s business needs by giving them a modern suite of tools and providing a much needed edge in today’s fast-paced, global economy.

    See more at envoyplatform.com

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