In B2B payments, there is always a power dynamic between buyer and seller, with the most powerful terms being determined. Today, though, both sides are increasingly finding common ground.
“Everyone wants electronic payments,” Jeff Johnston, FIS Vice President for Integrated Payments, told PYMNTS. “Everyone wants to be paid on time with certainty.”
He added that the use of electronic payments benefits both the buyer and seller, simplifying settlement and reducing the time spent dealing with paper checks and invoices.
Create a digital roadmap to reach an ideal state
Today, middle-market companies are looking to digitize their operations – and payments in particular – and they don’t have the resources to get it wrong.
“They have to do it right the first time, and it can be very difficult to think of a digital roadmap to get you to your ideal state,” Johnston said.
He recommended that companies consider whether they are looking to increase revenue or save costs. He said that companies focused on the digital opportunity tend to fall into one of two camps. They need more leads, more pipelines and more revenue, or they have it all in place and they need to avoid drowning out productivity so they can deliver on what they promised to customers.
Think about the customer experience
“If you decide that payments is something that can help you as far as automation, the only thing a mid-market company needs to consider is integrating into accounting software and [enterprise resource planning (ERP)] – That’s the key to really automating that process,” Johnston said.
It is also important to consider the customer experience because everyone in the B2B chain is also a consumer and has done business with merchants that deliver massive customer experience (CX), user experience (UX), and user interface (UI).
“In B2B, we have to remember that if they’re doing something in their personal life, they expect it to be just as easy in their career – if not easier,” Johnston noted.
Invest time today to save time tomorrow
Everyone has learned over the past 18 months that digitization provides flexibility, which has contributed to this continuing trend. This wisdom is passed on to smaller and smaller companies.
“If you have 1,000 invoices coming in every month, that’s a clear need for automation to flow,” Johnston said. “But now you see companies with less than 100 invoices saying, ‘There’s an opportunity for me to do some automation. “The question is: How far can we go down the tail?”
Looking ahead, Johnston said he expects to see continued investment in ways to eliminate manual processes.
“I would just encourage people, when they think about their projects for 2022, to ask what they can do today,” he said. “There is still time to act today to demonstrate efficiency in the year or revenue benefits in 2022.”