Why More Isn’t Always Better In The B2B Payments Biz

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What's Next In Payments®
7:10 AM EST July 17th, 2014

PaySimple, an 8-year-old company whose products enable small businesses to collect payments and manage customers more efficiently, has seen various market changes over the years, but it also has seen where things haven’t changed much at all.

In a recent podcast interview with Market Platform Dynamics CEO Karen Webster, PaySimple CEO of founder Eric Remer discussed how his company is addressing the marketplace, and what it’s not doing.

As Remer sees it, the more tools offered to a merchant, the more difficult it’s going to make that customer’s life. But the merchant’s life could be made much better simply by providing something that makes the tools he uses easier to use, he said.

As an example, PaySimple later this year plans to launch a product that will enable service-based businesses, such as plumbers, to offer customers a means to book appointments online, Remer said. Adding such functionality would feed into the payments aspect of their operations as well, thus not only freeing up time otherwise spent handling appointments by phone, but also potentially the payment part of the relationship as well.

B2B versus B2C

In explaining his clientele, Remer said it’s about 70 percent business-to-consumer and 30 percent B2B. And the ratio hasn’t shifted much over the years, though there are variations by industry sector, where service-based daycare centers, for example, weigh heavily on the consumer side and Web developers are more attuned to B2B relations.

Various issues complicate efforts to sell services to the B2B players, Remer noted. (Jump to: 5:45) “The biggest challenge in the B2B space is, if their business customers are extremely large, they’re going to demand their own terms and their own payments,” he said. “They won’t be utilizing your core systems.”

In terms of changes in business owners’ openness to doing new things, companies that see no problem with their current paper-based systems will continue to be difficult to switch over to electronic payments, Remer said. That said, awareness that there are more options available to them is growing, and it is creating an uptick in small-business conversions, he added.

(Jump to: 3:25) “It is extremely difficult to convince a small business that wasn’t seeking a solution to change their process. But when they become more aware that more and more things are out there that allow them to make their lives easier and their business more efficient, they’re coming to us at a more rapid pace.”

Proper tools

In explaining what PaySimple does, Remer cited what consumers might do when paying Comcast. The cable service’s software enables it to collect personal information from customers and to choose whether to support one-time payment, recurring billing, invoicing or other options.

(Jump to: 2:25) “We give that same tool to a small business in a SaaS-based solution to collect payments and manage customers,” he said.

A common reason to switch to electronic payments is to improve cash flow, but Remer says he has started seeing a confluence of managing customers and accepting payments as a common pain point businesses face. Small businesses don’t think based on transactions; they think based on customers, he said.

PaySimple has created a customer-centric system, Remer said. (jump to: 5:03) “We feel we are really well positioned to take advantage of both the transaction cash-flow concerns as well as that customer-management issues that they’re having,” he said.

In terms of how his sales team approaches businesses, one of the biggest difficulties is holding back and not offering too much. (Jump to: 10:44) “It’s our greatest challenge, it really is,” Remer said.

So the key is to zero in on what specifically can make it easier for a business to get started in making a process simpler. If you can’t do that, you’ve lost them, he said.

To hear more about Remer’s views on business billing and payments issues and market trends, click here.

 

To listen to the full podcast, click here

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*If you have trouble with the audio player above, click here.

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