One of the problems with outdated business-to-business (B2B) payment processes is that they still rely on people to manually process invoices and paper checks.
Because they cannot feed this information directly into Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR) systems, these methods not only open the door to errors, but also miss the opportunity to capture valuable data. on customers and to measure trends and patterns, according to the “B2B Digital Payments Tracker”, a PYMNTS and American Express collaboration.
Get the report: B2B Digital Payments Tracker
This customer data is key not only to streamlining the B2B buying experience, but also to more personalized sales interactions – a growing necessity in B2B customer relationships.
Getting the most out of business relationships
For vendors, there is a growing need to provide better visibility and efficient processing, as well as an easier way to close their books on multiple types of payments and receipts, Trina Duttavice president and general manager, B2B payments automation, global business services at American Express, PYMNTS told PYMNTS in an interview in May.
Read more: Digital innovations improve B2B buyer-supplier interactions
Whereas in the past, supplier processes have generally evolved to meet buyer demands — and innovation has been skewed to the AP side of the equation — technology is leveling the playing field a bit, Dutta said.
“By leveraging the data that traverses B2B transaction networks,” Dutta told PYMNTS, “we can begin to help suppliers get the most out of their business relationships, specifically how and when they receive payments.”
A complete view of the customer journey
Centralizing the collection of customer data, including payment data, helps create a more unified buyer experience, Michael Vitumsenior director and head of payments and commerce go-to-market at HubSpot, PYMNTS told PYMNTS in an interview for the report.
A robust customer relationship management (CRM) platform with all of these tools in one place can help streamline the B2B buying process.
“Integrating commerce into CRM helps you provide a complete view of the customer journey,” Vittum said.
This digital streamlining of the checkout process not only allows for greater efficiency and a smoother experience, but it can also pay off.
“If I am a [customer service or sales] representative, I can walk in, look at the history and see that they’ve bought X, Y, or Z or they seem to be on, say, a quarterly buying cadence, and it’s a good time to stretch the hand [to] give them something else,” Vittum said. “I think it just reinforces [customer service representatives] do their job better. »
Understand and serve customers
Many of the world’s largest companies are looking to continue transforming their digital payment processes in the future, meeting the expectations of their customers and suppliers.
They found that digital technologies and automation made B2B payments more flexible and helped companies better understand and serve their customers.
By digitizing AP and AR, businesses can create more efficient processes for customers and suppliers, facilitate retention, and build loyalty and establish a positive reputation.
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