As a Forbes Finance Council member, our CEO, Brandon Spear, shared his insights into B2B payments trends in a recent column. Based on his experience with TreviPay clients, he reveals the top four issues—and answers three questions—to help you implement an effective B2B payments strategy.
1. Make B2B payments as frictionless as B2C purchases
Brandon summarizes the post-pandemic B2B payments ecosystem, “If your customers don’t already expect their business-to-business payments to be invisible, they will soon.” And the slow march is now a sprint. In fact, a McKinsey & Co. study reveals that 66% of B2B decision makers surveyed now believe that digital transactions are twice as important to customers than traditional sales interactions—an 18% increase from before COVID-19.
Think of it this way: B2B buyers want their payments to be as easy and convenient as an Uber transaction.
2. Offer instant decisioning and credit
“In my experience,” Brandon explains, “business customers prefer to purchase on terms and will spend more, more frequently when they have a dedicated financial relationship and credit line with a business. The advantage over the competition is significant when customers know they can easily purchase once they’re ready for more stock.”
You don’t have to build it yourself. Partnering with an experienced B2B embedded payments provider can simplify this process immensely.
3. Digitize accounts receivable
With an embedded payments strategy, B2B businesses are automating the back office to support their new customer-centric approach. This process can save time and money; eliminate manual errors; reduce lengthy credit decisions to mere seconds; and simplify bank reconciliations.
“It also can improve cash flow by allowing buyers to receive consolidated invoices daily, weekly, or monthly and make payments on terms they control,” Brandon said.
4. Protect against business identity theft
As more customers are acquired online, there is a growing risk of B2B business identity theft and other forms of fraud. That’s why a sophisticated fraud detection process is essential—be sure to ask potential partners for details.
Before You Launch Your B2B Payments Platform
So, you’ve decided to future-proof your payments strategy. Great! Here are a few key questions to help you get started, as asked by Forbes, and answered by Brandon.
How can we ensure a successful rollout of new B2B payments technologies?
“When it comes to adapting a merchant’s payments strategy, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Payments needs and preferences may be different for each client … Within the B2B payments function, the first step should be reviewing and evaluating your current payments channels to determine if there are any friction points or areas that can be streamlined.”
What if clients have different B2B payments preferences?
“The buyer check-out experience is critical to success in businesses of all sizes. By adopting an omnichannel B2B payments strategy, you are giving buyers the freedom and choice to pay in their preferred method. … The key to payments digitization is that buyers and sellers will be able to transact in the method that works best for them, at that moment in time.”
Can the updated process be used as a sales enablement tool?
“In short, yes. Given the ongoing shift to digital-first preferences for purchasing, your B2B sales team should be evaluating each client relationship on an ongoing basis. … [Another] example, for small businesses looking to grow a specific segment of their business, [is that] automated technology can help to facilitate growth without a lot of resources.”
It’s Now or (Very Possibly) Never
B2B merchants are quickly prioritizing investment in digital payments that will provide a better customer experience. These companies—the ones that really meet buyer expectations—can establish more stickiness and loyalty with customers. And companies that don’t modernize their B2B payments now are likely to be left behind.