Often, one of the job that comes along with making sales is collections. It is not unusual to see the customer representatives remind their business contacts regarding pending payments. Though tedious and not the “defined responsibility”, chasing accounts receivables is an important task. Getting paid on time is definitely important for financial health of the organization. Usually sales people have better connect with the business than finance / accounting clerks. Yet most of the sales software omit this from their core offering.
Ways to empower sales rep make faster collections
There are numerous ways to ensure faster payment. In this section of the article, we will explore some of them.
Ensuring having access to data
If you sales team is using an application to make sales, it is better to integrate the same with your financial system. This will ensure that they have data in a single place to access dues from the customer and their payment history. It will also eliminate the need of having to call finance team and getting the information every single time.
Figure – Authors own creation
Ability to record payments
A customer can pay in various modes (cheque / wire transfer/ Money Order). The sales team member must be able to capture the payment within the system so that finance team knows what pending invoices have been paid.
Access to credit information
Every B2B business requires credit limit to be set for business / trading partners. Knowing the limit as well as current consumption levels ensure that sales representative can make an informed decision whether or not to make a new sale. For example, if a customer has already consumed $48,000 of his $50,000 limit, the sales rep can instantly ask him to make a payment before he places a new order worth $5,000. He can also, alternatively, get approval from his manager before taking the fresh order.
Customers flagged due to non payment
Customers who have been flagged for non-payment must be known to sales team. In this way, they can avoid make new sale for these customers unless the flag has been removed.
Customer self service page
Company can provide a self service page where their B2B customers can check their outstanding balance and even better make a payment using their credit card from there itself. This eases the collection if the sales rep can login on behalf of the customer and ensuring payment right away from the portal.
Software tips for an efficient collection
Technology can play an immense role in reducing the days outstanding (DSO) and generating a better cash flow. Below are some tips regarding this.
Highly integrated applications
One of the key to having success is to make the information available across the user segments. Finance and sales team need to be highly coordinated with both the teams having access to same information. Understandably they are on different applications. They need to have their respective application exchange information seamlessly.
Secure online payment option
Some of the customers may wish to pay using their corporate cards. Secure applications which can accept online payment may just be the answer you were looking for. Integration with payment gateway eliminates risk and let you remain PCI compliant.
Automatic matching of payments
Recieving the payment is not the end of story. Accounting team needs to match each payment record with the respective outstanding invoice. If the volume of transaction is high, this becomes a very tedious task. Traditionally companies have used the Lockbox feature of their bank. However, artificial intelligence software can help help match the payment in a much more effective manner.
Benefits of efficient systems for collection
Some of the benefits of efficient system are obvious. Not only do they improves the cash flow and helps the company grow faster, but they also reduces risk of non payment by keeping checks and balances in place. An integrated application, ensures that offline communication is kept to the minimum.