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Payment preferences, conversion and growth: How to gain an advantage in the B2B market

Jan 20202 min read

Top insights on B2B payment preferences from more than 4,000 businesses around the globe.

Why does customer payment preference matter for B2B businesses?

Sales cycles in the B2B world are often lengthy and complex. With a large amount of resource going into securing new customers, and a hefty lead time on getting the next one in the door, conversion rate optimisation is important for everyone.

The payment methods you offer your potential customers can have a big impact on conversion.

When you offer your potential customers the payment methods they prefer to use, you’re further tailoring your sales and onboarding experiences to your individual customer. But you’re not only increasing their likelihood of conversion, you’re also setting up your future relationship with your customer for success, maintaining their satisfaction and reducing likelihood of churn.

Armed with this, B2B companies with recurring business models can leverage customer payment preference as a key element in the growth of their business.

We surveyed 4,990 businesses across 9 markets to quantify customer payment preference

We partnered with YouGov to poll 4,990 businesses across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, the USA, Canada and Australia, asking how they prefer to pay for four common types of recurring purchases - regular business bills, invoices, digital subscriptions and instalments.

In short, we learned that payment preference varies greatly around the world. While the worlds of business and payments are constantly changing alongside the pace of technology, culturally ingrained preferences about how to pay remain. We’ve seen this in the B2C space, and this report indicates the same is true of the B2B market.

B2B businesses looking to optimise in their local markets, or expand internationally, can’t take a one- size-fits-all approach to payments. To maximise conversion and offer the best payer experience, it’s essential to adapt to market preferences. Below are a few key insights from the data.

1. Bank-to-bank payment methods are the most preferred, globally

Looking across the nine markets and four payment use cases surveyed, bank debit and bank transfer tend to be the two most likely payment methods for businesses to use. Bank debit is the most commonly preferred payment method, being most preferred 42% of the time, with bank transfer at 36%. The global preference for bank-to-bank payment methods reflects ingrained cultural habits – in most of the markets surveyed, bank-to-bank has long been the standard way to pay for recurring payments.

2. Corporate card continues to dominate in North America

Both US and Canadian businesses continue to prefer corporate card to other payment options. In the US, half or more of businesses are likely to choose cards in each of the surveyed use cases, and in Canada, this preference tends to creep up several percent higher.

3. After corporate card, B2B SaaS companies should offer bank debit as their next payment method

A minority but significant segment of the market for digital subscriptions is unlikely to pay by corporate card (16% in the US, 29% in the UK and as much as 33% in mainland Europe). Offering bank debit is key to capturing these segments - it’s the second-most commonly offered payment option by the 50 largest public SaaS companies of 2019 (after corporate card), and is preferred by as many as 60% of businesses in various countries around the world.

Download the full report for all the data-backed insights across all 9 markets

You can access the full report for free today, with data-backed insights into the payment preferences of businesses in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, the USA, Canada and Australia.

Tailor your payment methods to each of your markets, optimise your conversion, and boost the growth of your business. Download Global payment preferences for recurring B2B purchases for free now.

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GoCardless Ltd., Sutton Yard, 65 Goswell Road, London, EC1V 7EN, United Kingdom

GoCardless (company registration number 07495895) is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017, registration number 597190, for the provision of payment services. GoCardless SAS (23-25 Avenue Mac-Mahon, Paris, 75017, France), an affiliate of GoCardless Ltd (company registration number 834 422 180, R.C.S. PARIS), is authorised by the ACPR (French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority), Bank Code (CIB) 17118, for the provision of payment services.