27 Aug 2013 e-Invoicing – high-touch enrollment of suppliers
It’s not easy to find real best practice advice for e-Invoicing and supplier enrollment. This extract from The Supplier Engagement Handbook describes recommended steps on how to offer suppliers that send a high volume of invoices or have complex organizations a more consultative enrollment approach.
e-Invoicing – high-touch enrollment of suppliers
Accurate contact details
Before starting a communication effort, it is important to have accurate contact information. Ideally, this includes up-to-date details for sales contacts and the people in billing and collections. No one is happier to accommodate your needs than your sales contacts; use them to your advantage.
Creating a comprehensive and coordinated strategy is essential and must take into account all your stakeholders. A common pitfall is to solely focus on the messages to suppliers. It is just as important to communicate the vision and objectives of the program within your own organization to achieve the necessary buy-in and support.
Use a careful mix of channels and media to communicate both internally and externally, including your website, intranet, press releases, social media, posters and existing newsletters.
It’s likely that your suppliers are not all in one country. To help make the transition to e-Invoicing as easy as possible, you should create communications in the relevant languages with information on local trading environment and tax laws.
Hitting the phones
Communicating with suppliers requires a multi-channel strategy. However, outbound telemarketing is one of the most effective channels you can use.
This aspect of the project is by far the most important, and will ultimately determine its success. As such, it must be supported with a sophisticated CRM system to manage all the moving parts and provide you with transparency throughout the process.
Strong, clear communications internally and to suppliers about why e-invoicing is important and the benefits it offers will bring a large part of your supplier base onboard. There will, however, be some suppliers who are reluctant to let go of their current practices.
Even if you are working with a service provider that is leading your enrollment activities, your organization needs to be ready to work with suppliers who push back. We call this the refer-to-buyer (RTB) process. There are a number of steps you should take to make this work smoothly:
- Have someone dedicated to working with resistant suppliers
- Work closely with Procurement and have good relations with your internal buyers
- Have a clear process in place for responding to RTB alerts
The final post in this series will focus on ensuring that your enrollment campaigns engage with all suppliers, even those that send you infrequent invoices.
This is an extract from The Supplier Engagement Handbook, an e-book from OB10. You can download the entire e-book by completing the following form.