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Digital solutions key in business-to-business credit

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Business-to-business transactions are becoming increasingly competitive and digitalisation is placing greater pressure on businesses to grant credit effectively and quickly to remain ahead of the competition, writes Keith Wardell, commercial strategy drector of Experian South Africa.
One of the most significant challenges in the B2B environment is getting goods and services out faster and the same is true for businesses granting or extending credit to debtors. The pressure to approve credit applications is intensified for businesses operating on legacy systems, as sales teams have to complete paper-based forms before applications reach credit departments.
This often results in customers being delayed in being on-boarded and business subsequently being lost to companies that are able to offer a better customer experience through efficient digital solutions that not only improves the speed of the credit approval process but also allows credit managers to make more informed decisions.
Chief amongst the concerns of credit professionals is knowing whether to grant customer’s credit and how much. Making the correct decision can afford companies more business, and profit, while granting credit to the wrong customer can expose businesses to bad debt, potentially resulting in a loss of business and subsequent revenue.
With access to the right data, insight and technology, companies are able to quickly negotiate informed credit terms, set appropriate credit extensions to their best customers and/or renegotiate credit terms with riskier clients.
To ensure the most favourable credit terms for both businesses and their customers it is important to have a holistic view of a customers’ financial affairs, requiring fast, secure access to information. Through accurate information sales teams are informed to enable them to negotiate the most favourable deal. By having access to the most current and accurate information available businesses will also be able to potentially offer terms more favourable than their competitors, whilst safeguarding against potential risks.
Customers will always need credit and are likely to have credit with a number of companies. To secure more business companies must offer better credit terms faster than their competitors. This requires information concerning customers’ payment trends, which will provide insight into what terms competitors are providing, thereby providing opportunities to offer more favourable terms.
Data also affords companies the opportunity to proactively develop long-term credit strategies based on customers’ credit history and behaviour, thereby providing a greater experience for customers.
While digital solutions threaten companies still using legacy systems there are options available that will allow them to make the transition to provide credit faster, more accurately and more intelligently.
By migrating to online return on investment tools, such as Experian’s SmartEvaluate, companies can now confidently approve credit to customers using a tool that will not only improve the speed of the process, as well as attract and retain customers, but will also limit their exposure to bad debt.
Experian’s SmartEvaluate offers companies access to provide better customer experience through immediate and accurate credit decisions by combining data, analytics, consultancy services and technology in one simple to use tool.