As the business landscape transforms, so too must the marketing strategies of B2B companies. The four traditional Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion, and place – are no longer enough in today’s digital landscape. To stay ahead of the game, B2B companies must consider a fifth P: payments. This includes modernizing the order-to-cash (or quote-to-cash) process beginning from the time a customer places an order to the moment a business receives a payment.
In the era of digital commerce, where users can request a ride at the click of a button, B2B buyers have grown to expect a smooth and effortless payment experience that also meets their behind-the-scenes complex needs. A survey found that 74% of B2B buyers would make a purchase with a competitor if a vendor’s eCommerce store could not keep up with their purchasing expectations. By implementing an end-to-end payments strategy, businesses can see measurable results, including stronger conversion rates, higher AOV, increased customer LTV and deeper loyalty.
B2B companies can learn from B2C experiences
We know that shoppers are looking for quick, easy and omnichannel payment options in the B2C space. Some companies, like Starbucks, have invested heavily in understanding what their customers prefer. With this knowledge, the coffee giant offers a variety of payment methods, from cash to mobile apps, creating a seamless user experience and retaining brand loyalty. Starbucks boasts 29 million users actively using their loyalty app, second only to Apple. B2B buyers (who are also coffee consumers!) expect this level of payments innovation too.
Credit cards are not the preferred payment method in B2B
While credit cards are the most widely used payment method in B2C digital transactions, they are not always the first choice of business buyers. In fact, the B2B Buyers Report: Why More Payment Options Mean More Purchases highlighted that half of B2B buyers prefer alternative payment options over credit cards. While building out a payments strategy for the complexities of B2B purchases may mean investing in a robust platform, B2B businesses that limit themselves to only accepting credit card payments risk losing customers to competitors that offer more desirable options at check-out. A sleek, sophisticated trade credit offering, along with net terms invoicing across all channels can pay off though as 15% of B2B buyers spend more when offered trade credit, according to the same report.
Navigating the complexities of B2B payments
The inner workings of B2B payments can be complex, involving invoicing options, payment terms and data management of ERP platforms. B2B buyers also expect their preferred payment terms to be available instantly. To meet these expectations and deliver a B2C-like transaction, merchants must consider offering automated onboarding, instant decisioning and digitized accounts receivable alongside trade credit. This will help to win, serve and retain business customers in a loyal buyer network.
Overall, payments is a powerful P for B2B in the marketing mix, and implementing an end-to-end payments strategy has become a must-do, not just a nice-to-have. B2B buyers want their preferred payment terms to be offered on the spot, and businesses who invest in a customer-centric payments strategy can meet this need. From offering alternatives to credit card payments, learning from our experiences in B2C transactions, and modernizing the order-to-cash process, B2B companies can simplify the payments process and stay ahead in today’s competitive market. While the complexities of B2B payments can be challenging, a comprehensive payments strategy can help navigate these difficulties and ensure a smooth experience for both the buyer and the seller. By taking a page from B2C’s book, B2B companies can succeed in the digital age.