Trends Support the Transition to Electronic Payments
The landscape of online business transactions expanded rapidly during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, 42% of B2B payments were by check. In the years since, 73% of companies have transitioned to digital payments. Their favored outgoing payment option is credit cards, with 69% using them.
Why the change? The pandemic drove digital interactions in any space. It restricted the ability for advertisers to drop off checks or for salespeople to collect them. They also no longer wanted to deal with the challenges of mailing invoices and receiving checks. According to a payments benchmarking survey, organizations pivoted to increase efficiency, reduce costs and prevent fraud. Some more insights from this research dive deeper into why companies favor electronic payments. They spend six to 10 hours each week cutting checks and reconciling them, which they consider wasted time.
There’s also a cost to this manual work. The cost of issuing a paper check is between $2 and $4 per check. That adds up and erodes profits.
So, if it’s so convenient for you and your clients, why is electronic payment adoption still hard?
Good Change Is Still Change
Whenever you introduce a new process, you must also have a plan to change behaviors so people become comfortable. It has to become a habit that has value. You and your customers both reap benefits from the adoption of electronic payments. Understanding that is the starting point, but you’ll need to create strategies that enable this transformation. It won’t happen immediately, so consider these long-term initiatives.
4 Strategies to Drive Electronic Payment Adoption
Consider adding these ideas to your adoption plan.
Create a Partnership with Sellers
The most important group to transition to champions is your sales team. They have the strongest relationship with advertisers. They set up accounts and go over how to remit payments. They also often pick up checks as a touchpoint and follow up on past-dues. They want to get those dollars in just as much as the accounting folks do.
As a result, you would think they’d be glad to see greater adoption of electronic payments. They don’t have to chase people for payment and can now use the platform to request pre-payments. It means they can spend more time selling.
AR can walk salespeople through the simplified life cycle, demonstrating how much faster invoicing and payments are. However, there will still be objections. They don’t want to upset the cycle and may fear losing some connection with their customers. The finance managers we work with have confirmed this pushback.
The better approach is to remind them of the ease of electronic payments and how it financially benefits them. One of our customers also relayed that she made salespeople part of the process. They were part of the customer outreach to grow adoption and had all the information they needed to explain it.
Set Up New Accounts with Electronic Invoices and Payments as the Default
Another strategy that involves a partnership with sellers is new account setup. For any new customer you onboard, the default would be electronic invoices and payments. If that’s the process they start with, the adoption is immediate. Some customers may have concerns, but your sales team will be able to walk them through it, pointing out the platform’s security and how they can pay quickly and easily with guest checkout.
Communicate with Advertisers Consistently and Continuously
All change management needs the support of communication. People often resist change because of fear or misconceptions. Proactive communication in the change process is critical. Some tactics to consider:
- Emails to customers about the change and its benefits with a link to FAQs about security, how it works and requirements
- Inserts in printed invoices with similar information to the email, directing customers to learn more by contacting their salesperson or accounting
- Tapping sellers to do outreach to those slow to respond or high-touch clients
- Additional communications about the benefits of paying online, such as the expenses of sending paper checks
The more you educate your customers, the more likely they are to adopt the practice.
Implement an Electronic Payments Platform with Customer-Centric Features
The last part of your strategy is the technology you use. If it’s clunky and creates a bad experience, customers will abandon it. Some key features to look for include:
- A secure and compliant platform
- Solutions with an advertiser portal that’s modern and intuitive
- The ability for customers to remit payment and choose which invoices to pay without logging in
- A system that integrates with your traffic system for streamlined workflows
- The capability to accept ACH payments as well as debit and credit cards
- Automatic receipts back to customers
- Functionality to allow agencies to pay for all clients at once
- Support for multiple invoice formats (e.g., PDF, HTML, 4A)
- Self-service for advertisers to control their account access
Lead Electronic Payment Adoption with These Strategies
Achieving the benefits of electronic payments comes only with increased adoption. You can influence this and drive change. Apply these strategies to your stations to nudge advertisers to a transaction that offers convenience and a positive user experience. You can learn more about this journey by reading our case study featuring PayNow.