Everyone wants to get paid faster. In today’s uncertain economic climate, it’s essential that customers pay on time so your cashflow doesn’t suffer.
But paper-based payments can’t really keep up with the needs of modern B2B organizations, particularly in this challenging economy. In a recent infographic, DigitalCommerce360 shared research from Deloitte on the impact of traditional payment methods in B2B. A few points stood out:
- 35% of businesses experience significant challenges with traditional payment processes
- AP organizations see a cost of $8 per payment when paying suppliers
- 62% of this cost comes from labor
These stats aren’t too surprising. While purchasing is moving from offline methods to B2B ecommerce—and customer service is moving to self-service customer portals—payment processes are often the last frontier for midmarket SAP companies.
Clearly, B2B payment processes are due for an upgrade.
The power of a self-service B2B payment portal
All customer-facing processes get smoother (and cheaper) when you switch them to self-service.
Naturally, this holds true for payment processes—particularly when you can leverage the payment processor that you already use.
Organizations that enable self-service B2B payments typically see a significant reduction in DSO (days sales outstanding). Self-service can remove 6 days from the payment cycle—4 days in the mail (sending and receiving) and 2 days of processing time.
The answer is a self-service customer portal that integrates with your existing payment processor. But what does that look like? And what pitfalls should B2B companies avoid?
Here’s everything you should look for in a self-service B2B payment portal.
Your payment portal should work on any device, 24x7x365
True self-service means putting the customer in control of their journey.
When it comes to B2B payments, that means they should be able to log in, select invoices, and pay them off on any device.
Maybe the buyer is at the airport and they need to make a quick payment from their phone to take their account off credit block—so their team can go on placing orders.
Or maybe they’re working in the warehouse, and they need to make a payment from a tablet.
Whatever the scenario, your B2B payment portal should work on any device. It should also show real-time financial data for the customer’s account, and it should process payments instantly through your chosen processor.
Which leads us to our next point.
Your payment portal should integrate with your SAP ERP system
Your SAP ERP environment is the system of record for all business data. No matter the customer, your data on them lives in SAP—whether orders, invoices, open items, or real-time credit status.
If a self-service payment portal is going to replace human interaction, the portal needs to account for all their data in your SAP system.
And it needs to read and write that SAP data in real time.
This is why a B2B payment portal requires comprehensive integration to SAP ERP. In the case of Corevist, that means reading open items and payment history, paying open items, clearing invoices immediately in SAP, integrating with leading payment processors, and more. (See our 49 prebuilt SAP integration points for more.)
Your B2B portal should cover more than just payments
Here’s a question.
If customers would rather pay off invoices through self-service, how do they feel about the other steps in their journey as customers? Do they have to call customer service to track orders or shipments? What about getting current pricing and availability—or placing an order?
If you’re still relying on phone or email interaction to move customers through the purchasing cycle, it’s worth looking at the potential impact of self-service across that entire cycle. Believe it or not, a comprehensive B2B portal can cover every phase of the customer journey—things like:
- Product education and comparison (through a self-service catalog)
- Order creation and placement (with relevant SAP business rules enforced)
- Tracking orders, line items, and shipments (with real-time SAP data)
- Tracking and paying off invoices
Self-service payments are a great choice—but the real benefits start stacking up when you offer comprehensive self-service. (This is the thinking behind the Corevist Platform. It’s a one-stop shop for your customers to learn about products, place orders, and manage their accounts—all with deep, real-time integration to your SAP ERP system.)
Your payment portal shouldn’t create more work for IT
Your customers need that comprehensive integration to your SAP system.
But that integration is the thing that can trip you up.
It’s a complex proposition to create (and maintain) this real-time integration to SAP. If your portal solution doesn’t include real-time SAP integration, you’ll need a third system (typically middleware or iPaaS, integration-platform-as-a-service) to replicate and synchronize data between SAP and your payment portal.
Midmarket SAP companies typically don’t have a lot of IT resources who can work on something like this. IT usually has their hands full maintaining business-critical systems (like SAP ERP). If you’re migrating to S/4HANA, then IT is even less available.
If you’re going to offer self-service payments, you don’t want to create more work for IT. It’s better to find a managed, cloud-hosted portal solution that includes that SAP integration and works with your chosen payment processor. Then your IT team maintains their current workload, and any configuration changes in SAP are immediately reflected in the payment portal.
That’s the thinking behind Corevist.
Want to become Easier To Do Business With?
Check out the Corevist Platform.
Managed B2B portals and eCommerce with prebuilt integration for ECC and S/4HANA.
Take A Tour