Understanding the customer journey – and your internal team’s journey – is critical in B2B industries like manufacturing and distribution. The financial team member is a crucial part of every B2B business. He steps in after the purchase has been made and shipped, and is interested in whether that order was received, the order was correct, and that the agreed-upon price was upheld.
He is less interested in how the order was placed, and he focuses more on the monetary consequences associated with each order. He needs to have access to information across multiple channels to keep the books accurate.
Finding the Right Information
Inaccurate data is a hindrance to the finance member of your team, and 30% of B2B organizations say that internal finance teams are most impacted by data unreliable data. The finance member needs access to the information relevant to his job without having to search through multiple systems and unrelated information. He is interested in order history, payment confirmation and invoices, and delivery confirmations, and he needs this information to be readily available and accurate.
A commerce solution can help him get that information quickly and efficiently so he can move on to the next task. He has to keep track of financial data from multiple organizations, and that means the information he needs is often spread across multiple systems. The information he’s looking for needs to be presented to him in a more condensed way so he doesn’t waste time sifting through irrelevant data.
Self-service for Efficiency
The ability to access information without picking up the phone and asking for assistance is crucial to the financial team member. If he needs to pay an invoice online, get a copy of an old invoice, or view updated invoices that have changed since his last review, he wants to be able to easily find those documents in one platform.
By enabling him to self-serve and decrease the unnecessary task of tracking down disparate information, he can devote more time to tracking spending and ensure no pricing mistakes are made.
Influencing Commerce Change
Making a case for adapting to an eCommerce system can be difficult without internal buy-in. The finance member can be one of the most influential champions for this transition. He needs to ensure that all financial transactions are being carried out without error and are well documented. An eCommerce solution can be a powerful tool for him because he will have access to all the information necessary to do his job. He can help with the adoption and onboarding as you move to a digital channel and increase your availability to your customers.
Interacting with the Finance Team Member
What He Does
- When buyers make purchases, he reviews the invoices and compares what the company is being charged compared to what the company has received
- Works to ensure that the company is paying the right price and will often compare invoices against quotes
- Deals with late payments and other issues when there is missing information
What He Needs
- The ability to self-serve with the vendors he is responsible for paying without doing a lot of extra work
- An easier way to verify that everything was received that was expected and the charge price lines up
- An easier way to get copies of invoices that don’t make it to his desk or perhaps change because of a return
Where You’ll Reach Him
You’ll often find the finance member at the customer’s location. He may be an accountant, an end user, or a part of the original equipment manufacturer organization. He’s often accessing various systems and using multiple screens to get information.
What You Can Provide to Make His Job Easier
- Access to order history in order to verify past purchases, pricing, and delivery information
- An easier way to access invoices and the means to pay them online
- A way to review quotes to verify the price charged matches the invoiced price
To learn more about the other roles involved in the B2B buying process and how you can improve their experience, check out our guide The People of the Manufacturing and Distribution Buyer Journey.
Senior Commerce Consultant for Perficient Digital, a leading digital transformation consulting firm. Experience includes more than two decades in digital commerce, product management, business development and marketing for manufacturing and distribution organizations. Has provided strategic leadership for global suppliers and brands resulting in innovative techniques for improving the customer experience overall, reducing cost of sales and accelerating efficiencies within complex buying and selling scenarios. Authored articles for leading publications in the manufacturing, distribution and ecommerce industries.