Solving the Supplier Onboarding Equation

May 19, 2014 Matthew Stammers

Let’s be honest, onboarding suppliers onto a P2P automation program can be difficult. After all, you’re asking a business to change its behavior and adopt a new process. While a medium-sized company may regard such a change as normal, for a small business, this disruption can be a major inconvenience.


Getting into the mind of your supplier

So how can you ensure that you have a successful P2P program? The answer lies in simple psychology: It has to be obvious to the supplier that it’s more lucrative to be on a P2P platform than to not be. Any supplier onboarding program can be seen as a simple equation: Aspects of the program that benefit the supplier can be seen as a positive side of the equation, and those that cost extra time, money, or effort are negatives.

At first, it can be difficult to convince suppliers to enroll, since suppliers will have to dedicate time and resources to the onboarding process. While suppliers may recognize that they have to get on board in order to be paid, signing up may still not be a top priority.

The first three steps to a success supplier onboarding programme

So how do you ensure the positives outweigh the negatives? The first task is to knock over as many of barriers as possible.

  1. Make sign up seamless: If you make enrolling difficult, you run the risk of losing your supplier at the start.
  2. Eliminate extra costs: Quite simply, never charge suppliers for submitting invoices. Remember, this is about making the invoice process simple and cheap, not about keeping costs the same or hiking them up
  3. Let the supplier choose: Whether the supplier wants to use EDI, PDFs, supplier portals or something else, Taulia will make it happen

So now you’ve got a great supplier onboarding process, right? These steps will have a significant impact on the numbers of suppliers you sign up (i.e. moving from none to some), but these points alone are still not game changers. What more needs to be done? The key to changing behavior here is to offer something of value to the supplier--ideally something that the supplier can’t get any other way.

Changing the game is the key to success

In order to hit your goal of enrolling all your suppliers, it’s best to think of this process not as an onboarding program, but rather as the start of a new way of doing business with your suppliers. It’s a system that both you and your suppliers will really profit from. Anything your company can do to help a supplier get paid sooner is something that’s going to grab the supplier’s attention and entice them to enroll.

Going beyond ‘free’

So many eInvoicing projects really struggle to get sign ups and usage because suppliers don’t see the value of eInvoicing. Even if the technology and processes work and your supplier portal is free to use, eInvoicing by itself is just a way for the buying company to cut paper – there’s no real benefit to the supplier. In contrast, supplier onboarding programs that are focused on enabling a new trading relationship between the supplier and buyer will succeed. Why? Because those programs are focused on what the supplier really cares about: Getting paid as soon as possible. After all, that’s what an invoice is – a request for payment.

Solving the supplier onboarding equation

In the end, you can make this an easy equation for your supplier.

Through seamless onboarding, easy-to-use technology with no fees to the supplier ever, and the opportunity to get paid earlier, you give suppliers a real reason to want to come on board.

That’s the way you create a successful supplier program.

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