The pillars of procure to pay: Part 3—supplier adoption

September 12, 2016 Tradeshift Editorial Team

procure-to-pay collaboration and innovation

The third installment in a series that explores Tradeshift’s vision for an agile and powerful P2P solution. By guest contributor, Alycia Simpson, B2B Content Writer.

Let’s face it, we all get excited about the latest procure-to-pay technology. But as most already know, the value generated from P2P solutions is closely tied to adoption. Yes, you you need to be innovative and agile, get more spend under management, and drive process efficiencies, but without supplier participation, it’ll be an uphill battle.

Supplier adoption makes or breaks the business case on the buy side. Companies who onboard 70-80% of their suppliers to their solution and roll out key supplier-facing tools and services see a much higher ROI than those who convince only a handful of suppliers to onboard.

The difference comes down to suppliers’ willingness to onboard and adopt the application. Suppliers won’t use something that provides them little to no value. Supplier fees, poor user experience, multiple sign-ons, slow processing times, difficult-to-manage catalog publishing experiences, and watered-down portals have for years left suppliers burned and feeling that they’ve received little value.

Suppliers, sadly, have become accustomed to being required to pay to use Procure-to-Pay solutions in order to do business with their customers and often perceive technology as an expense rather than an investment. Change, which sounds to suppliers like a disruption in cash flow and another learning curve for their users, can make the perceived value low. It’s no wonder, as painful as they are, many suppliers have a preference for their legacy tools and older approaches.  

Remove the adoption barrier for your whole supply base

At Tradeshift, table stakes for supplier adoption is no fees for suppliers. Ever. The cost of using the solution is low because the intuitive nature and value it brings makes it naturally sticky. There’s no need to charge suppliers to pad margins or force them to feel invested.

With Tradeshift, suppliers can manage catalogs first, then submit invoices,  and then collaborate. They also become strategic partners, get more predictable cash flow and peace of mind.

Breaking it down, there are four components Tradeshift enables that directly affect adoption rates: perceived value, confidence, accessibility, and trust:

  1. Create universal value

To help suppliers see what’s in it for them, you must ensure your chosen solution offers a clear and compelling value proposition. Suppliers need to have confidence it will actually provide value without a great deal of difficulty. With Tradeshift, the value for suppliers is clear.  

First, suppliers only have to complete a technical setup for invoicing once, regardless of the number of buyers. Whether they use Tradeshift for publishing catalogs for customers, invoicing, or simply making themselves known on the Tradeshift marketplace, account information only needs to be created once, and can be easily maintained by the supplier over time.  And, suppliers are welcome to create profiles on Tradeshift at any time, without being invited by a customer.  

Further, Tradeshift makes it very easy for suppliers to publish their catalogs and manage commercial terms across their customers.  Unlike other vendors who require suppliers to publish their catalogs for every single customer individually – resulting in lost time and a great deal of maintenance overhead – Tradeshift enables suppliers to publish their catalogs one time, then configure pricing and other commercial terms on a customer by customer basis.  This makes it very easy for suppliers to efficiently and effectively conduct business with their customers through Tradeshift.  Additionally, once they publish their catalogs on the Tradeshift marketplace, they can be discovered by potential new customers using Tradeshift, giving them an opportunity to develop new business.  

With Tradeshift, suppliers can submit and manage invoices through our e-invoicing capabilities, and they can do so free of charge.  The simple, intuitive user interface makes it easy for suppliers to use, and the collaboration capabilities enable them to engage with customers to answer questions and quickly resolve disputes.  Suppliers can also benefit from early payment discounts and other financing options that may be available to them through their customers.  

Tradeshift makes doing business easier for suppliers, and that makes life easier for you.

  1. Ensure confidence with error-free invoicing

Tradeshift provides capabilities for validating that invoices meet each customer’s business requirements prior to suppliers submitting them to customers.  As a result, any potential issues are caught before invoices make their way through the customer’s approval channels, and reduces any payment delays that may result from invoices being rejected and resubmitted.  

Also, by moving their invoicing processes online, suppliers are able to create, flip, request, track, and receive payments all by clicking a button.  This enables suppliers to simplify and streamline invoicing, while gaining transparency and visibility into their entire invoice and payments process.

  1. Use the transaction to facilitate the onboarding for paper suppliers

Another aspect of onboarding is the behavioral nudge to onboarding enabled by Tradeshift’s scanning technology. By offering the option early on to scan paper invoices, the switch from paper or email to electronic invoicing is made much easier for suppliers. This leads to a higher rate of “full” onboarding and more rapid adoption.

  1. Build trust through collaboration

The relationship between buyers and suppliers can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Maintaining a positive buyer-supplier relationship is nearly impossible when suppliers chase payments and are left to phone calls and emails to get the correct orders and information. With Tradeshift, suppliers manage their own compliance, and the buyer gets instant notifications of compliance issues or updates to supplier information. Able to communicate in real time, collaboration becomes a breeze, suppliers become more efficient, and improve their customer relationships. See how DHL supplier HRG used Tradeshift to implement easy invoicing and build a rock solid relationship, allowing both parties to maximize their time, resources, and investment.

When it comes to adoption, the defining question is always: Will people use it and how does it benefit them? Fast adoption, presenting a massive opportunity for accelerated economic growth, makes bringing your suppliers and users into the fold mutually beneficial. There’s an art to supplier onboarding. Our supplier success team offers integration as a service, which melts away the barriers to adoption for suppliers and delivers industry-leading onboarding rates to our customers. This support is predicated on technical flexibility, rather than a prescriptive “one size fits all” approach.

What’s clear: suppliers of every size love Tradeshift because the natural and intuitive user experience makes it genuinely easy to use. The same intuitive, simple experience that makes Tradeshift a win for your internal users and stakeholders. And the value for suppliers goes far beyond free invoicing.

About the Author

Tradeshift connects buyers, suppliers, and all their processes in one global network. We help you transform the way you work with suppliers today – and adapt to whatever the future brings.

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