Technology-enabled financial solutions, also called fintech, are quickly changing the way we do business. For small to medium B2B companies, these solutions represent an opportunity to streamline complex processes and better compete with large and enterprise brands.
Between 2008 and 2018, investment in the fintech industry expanded from 1.8 to 30 billion dollars. And it shows no signs of stopping.
For business-to-business companies, the continued growth of fintech solutions offers a wealth of opportunities for companies to change and simplify the way they handle money, contracts, and even customer service.
What trends should your business pay attention to? Here are seven new and growing trends poised to change the B2B landscape.
Previously, sending payments across a national border was expensive and logistically complicated. Businesses sending money to another country faced increased regulations and conflicting bank accounts. The rise of fintech cross-border payment solutions makes it cheaper than ever for agencies, freelancers, and businesses to send funds across borders — so they can hire the best person for the job without concern for location.
Solutions like Curve simplify the payment process for remote workers, agencies, and international companies to work without worrying about exchange rates — or borders.
B2B Lending Solutions
Funding is a common stumbling block for small and growing companies — and traditional lenders often require intense application requirements for high-interest loans. This can prevent many businesses, especially those led by marginalized populations, from gaining access to the funds they need to expand, invest, and grow their businesses.
Platforms like Funding Circle and Street Shares facilitate P2P loans and offer simplified loan applications, giving growing companies access to the funds they need to invest and scale their companies.
Conversational Artificial Intelligence
Conversational AI, which uses messaging apps to automate communications, is growing fast. In fact, revenue for AI software solutions is expected to rise from 70 billion in 2017 to 118 billion in 2025. The use of AI in financial institutions is particularly intriguing as bots become more capable of answering complex questions.
With the rise of machine learning, chatbots can now use a company’s financial data to personalize conversations with customers, provide on-demand customer service, and even learn from past discussions.
Computers can’t replace trained human financial advisors entirely; however, AI is quickly becoming better than ever at providing relevant, contextual financial advice. Which lowers fees for consumers and creates substantial savings for B2B companies.
Accounts Payable Automation
Accounts payable has long been a manual process involving paper checks, data entry, and physical ledgers. That is changing fast with the growth of automated accounts payable solutions.
In 2020 and beyond, AP automation will lean more heavily on machine learning, allowing businesses to further eliminate paper and streamline manual processes, such as data entry. Automated AP helps cut costs so companies can focus on increasing cash flow and investing in strategic business decisions.
AP automation also reduces accounts payable data entry errors and increases security. Stampli, for example, streamlines the approval process by centralizing communication on the actual invoices, which reduces duplicate payments and ensures only approved personnel have access to sensitive data.
Electronic B2B Payments
For decades, banks and traditional financial institutions have held a monopoly on B2B payments. With an estimated global payment volume of $120 trillion, this market represents a massive opportunity for digital payment solutions to disrupt the status quo — saving B2B companies time and money.
Solutions like WorldRemit have reduced traditional banking’s hold on the market with sleek solutions that offer features like automatic payments, immediate release of funds, and process automation features, which makes it far easier and faster to transfer money from one party to another.
Contracts serve a vital business function. They can outline costs, set agreements, outline deliverables, and even assign legal liability. While necessary, the contract process can be costly and require back and for negotiations with legal teams. The additional headaches involved in contract negotiations often slow businesses down.
Smart contract solutions like Smart Contract simplify the contract process with minimal security risks by using cryptographic keys, which serve as a digital signature. Instead of paper, contracts are securely digitized and utilize blockchain technology, making them virtually tamper-proof.
Simplifying the contract process is particularly vital for small businesses that may not have an in-house legal team to protect their interests.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of blockchain technology — but what exactly is it and how will it impact B2B marketing? At its core, BlockChain is a secure digital ledger of financial transactions. However, those ‘blocks’ can be used to record far more than just electronic payments; they can also help businesses exchange data.
BlockChain powers a wide range of cutting edge technologies, including smart contracts, cryptocurrency, and payment processing. Future applications of BlockChain are likely to make it easier than ever for B2B to send information and payments without the involvement of third parties.
Final Thoughts on B2B Trends
The fintech industry is giving B2B companies access to tools and solutions that can reduce the resources required to run a successful business. Small to medium B2B companies that keep abreast of these trends — and implement those that fit their needs — will be competitively positioned in the coming months.