In today's buying landscape, both B2B and B2C buyers are more empowered than ever to spend their hard-won financial resources with brands that can truly meet their needs—for convenience, data security, ethical alignment, monetary value, and more.

A 2021 Forrester report, “The Future of Buying Requires Rapid and Repeated Business Reinvention,” identifies four forces in particular that are changing the way B2B and B2C consumers shop:

  1. The growth of marketplaces
  2. Demand for great experiences—not just great products
  3. Mounting privacy concerns
  4. Shifting needs & values require brands to evolve business models.

Given these drivers, both B2C and B2B businesses looking to remain competitive must look for ways to become more agile, better interact with their customers, streamline business processes, and fully protect customer privacy at every turn. The solution? A modernized billing foundation that supports, rather than hinders, their ability to stay ahead of the curve.

5 Ways Modernized Billing Software Empowers Businesses

Many B2B and B2C businesses have relied on outdated legacy billing systems for far too long. For a quick fix, they slap on proverbial band-aids or "MacGyver" new capabilities on an ad-hoc basis to avoid the upfront investment in a new, more agile, more sophisticated system. However, the reality is that the costs, frustrations, errors, delays, and lost opportunities associated with maintaining an outdated system—primarily through periods of significant growth or unprecedented disruption—far outweigh the benefits of investing in and implementing a system designed with growth in mind.

Here are five ways modernized billing software enables B2B and B2C brands to remain competitive in their markets:

Meet Customers Where They Want to Shop

The "Future of Buying" report from Forrester notes that businesses are under pressure to sell through various channels to meet consumers where they are. These businesses include branded brick-and-mortar and digital outlets and marketplaces, which the report says now account for two-thirds of B2C global e-commerce sales.

While one-off sales from a single channel may be straightforward enough for a legacy system to manage, the additions of complex billing models and additional channels are liable to overload those less-sophisticated platforms. In particular, marketplace sales—which are becoming less of a novelty and more of a critical path—pose unique challenges requiring sophisticated billing systems to overcome.

Enable Data Capture & Analysis

Billing data can already be a powerful source of customer information and insights, driving educated offering, pricing, and bundling decisions. But, Forrester says, in this age of heightened security concerns leading to data deprecation (limiting the use of data management resources for advertising purposes), billing data will become even more critical. According to the "Future of Buying" report, traditional marketing will implode as changes in global regulation, big tech operating systems, and browsers continue. In addition, consumers' expectations force a reset of the online advertising, media buying, and customer tracking methods which brand and retail marketers have relied upon."

A second Forrester report, “Empowered Buying Requires Powerful Billing Technology," also addresses this notion. It specifically notes that billing data will be critical to "fill in the gaps that data deprecation leaves behind" because it provides so much fodder for brands to learn about their customers and derive insights to improve offerings and engagement.

As you may imagine, outdated billing systems—particularly those that require manual data maintenance and analysis—aren't going to cut it for businesses that want to stay smart about their customer preferences. Instead, savvy companies look for sophisticated billing software that gives them direct access to accurate, real-time data—and the insights that come with it—twenty-four-seven.

Connect the Front & Back Office

A billing platform is just one component of the sprawling tech ecosystem that keeps a business running at full speed. And as "business as usual" becomes more and more complex, these platforms must work together seamlessly, automating workflows to minimize overlaps, gaps, errors, and inconsistencies in internal and customer-facing processes.

Forrester's "Empowered Buying" report identifies billing as part of a critical "middle office," which connects front-office activities with compliance and other "behind-the-scenes" initiatives in the back office. Because billing connects so many different moving parts of an organization—from the sales representative preparing the quote, to the marketing department targeting customers based on purchase history, to the legal department creating the contract, and more—the billing system must be designed with connectivity in mind. Think APIs and easy-to-configure integrations that ensure the tech ecosystem is cohesive, seamless, and fully automated.

Future-Proof Your Business

Forrester’s “Future of Buying” report says that, in the face of continued disruptions, “Brands will need to diversify their revenue streams and improve their profitability by vigorously developing new business models: from alternative revenue streams to expanded partnerships and new channels.”

We’ve already seen this at play as the COVID-19 pandemic turned “business as usual” upside down in 2020 and beyond. We wrote, back then, about how businesses that already had agile systems in place were able to pivot quickly and thrive under these circumstances, while those that were less agile were fighting to survive. Particularly noteworthy was recent MGI Research indicating that only 29 percent of companies can introduce new pricing plans in less than four weeks, and 32 percent report experiencing “time-to-market challenges” when implementing new pricing paradigms.

Forrester's "Empowered Buying" report cites outdated billing platforms as a liability when it comes to agile business processes: "Billing tools that can't accurately process your business's evolving monetization strategy will force you to figure out workarounds. You won't be able to launch that new product on time or with the right pricing rules." The result? Frustrated customers are running out of patience and taking their business elsewhere.

Ensure Airtight Privacy & Compliance

Finally, the “Future of Buying” report describes privacy as “a multidisciplinary practice spanning governance, ethics, security, and legal factors for a range of stakeholders, including regulators, enterprise leaders, and customers.” In other words, a business’s data protection and regulatory compliance capabilities—or lack thereof—can have widespread effects on the people in its orbit. And it’s not just data that’s on the line, but the business’s overall well-being, as consequences for skirting regulations and best practices around security and reporting can be steep.

We took an in-depth look at one of the most notable privacy regulations, GDPR, in our recent blog post, and you can read more about the importance of security in billing here. With the stakes as high as they are around security and compliance, growing businesses must be implementing billing platforms that they—and their customers and other stakeholders—can trust to keep them secure and compliant every step of the way.

In today's business environment, the only constant changes, and the companies that want to keep their B2B and B2C customers engaged, loyal, and eager to spread the word are tasked with implementing the modern billing software that will help them do just that. Gotransverse is here to help. Our cloud-based billing platform is designed to empower change, flexibility, and growth, no matter how chaotic the market. To learn more about our platform, we invite you to take a tour today. Then, when you’re ready, you can schedule your complimentary, personalized demo to find out whether Gotransverse is the right choice for your business.