How eSignatures speed up B2B marketplace transactions

Cory Shrecengost
June 29, 2022
minute read
How eSignatures speed up B2B marketplace transactions editorial illustration
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As B2B transactions increasingly move online and B2B marketplaces grow towards an anticipated market size of US$25.65 trillion by 2028, it’s essential for marketplace operators to harness technologies that streamline operations and attract more buyers and sellers.

eSignatures can make a big impact for B2B marketplace owners. Once simply a way to sign documents electronically, now eSignatures go hand-in-hand with digital contract management and security.

So if you’re not already using eSignatures in your B2B marketplace workflows, here are 5 reasons you should.

1. Accelerate your verification processes

A B2B marketplace is only as good as the quality of its suppliers. That means maintaining supplier quality through a thorough verification process, including financial checks, licenses and certifications, confirming the business addresses and contact details, and identifying key management contacts.

Suppliers have a choice of many marketplaces. To be at the top of the list for suppliers, you want to stand out as a marketplace that’s easy to work with. And one way to do that is to make the verification process a smooth, digital experience when signing up to your platform.

With eSignatures you can send documents and declaration forms digitally to collect the information you need to onboard new suppliers, which provides a streamlined experience for suppliers while supporting a thorough, reliable, and legally binding verification process.

Advanced eSignature tools even have bulk sending capability meaning verification documents can be sent to multiple vendors at a time, rather than one by one. This is especially valuable if you’re just starting to set up your marketplace and need to onboard a large number of suppliers quickly, or if you're scaling fast and needing to keep up with buyer demand.

2. Save time with flexible templates

eSignatures not only save time for marketplace vendors, they also free up time for your own team.

B2B transactions are significantly more complex than B2C ones. From scheduled or staggered delivery requirements to volume discounts, dynamic pricing, and 30-120 day payment terms, the requirements greatly vary between industries and suppliers. And as a marketplace, you must accommodate the whole range or risk missing out on transactions.

One way to add flexibility and speed to the array of transactions buyers and sellers expect to undertake on your platform is with eSignatures.

eSignatures allow B2B marketplace operators to create multiple contract templates with variations that cover all the possible transaction types a buyer or supplier may want. And when you can offer flexible ways for buyers and sellers to transact through your platform, it reduces the time it takes for them to close deals and encourages them to use your platform for future transactions.

3. Manage and order multiple signees

In the 2021 B2B Buyers Survey Report, 55% of buyers said the purchase timeline had lengthened, compared with the same time last year.

It’s in large part because of the fragmented nature of sales cycles that involves several stakeholders, hundreds of emails, and several versions of the same documents.

However, B2B marketplaces offer a solution to long sales cycles by centralizing the point at which buyers and sellers transact.

But there’s a hitch: digital or not, sign-off from multiple stakeholders within businesses is still the norm on both the buyer’s and seller’s sides. See, B2B contracts often require more than one reviewer or signatory, and stakeholders may also need to view and sign contracts and documents in a set order reflecting their seniority or role in the organization.

The good news is, eSignature solutions solve many of the speed bumps in the B2B transaction process. You can set up multi-person contracts for review and sign-off, automating the order of review to make the process more efficient and reducing time wasted. Instead of sending documents back and forth or the wrong party signing documents before they’ve been reviewed by stakeholders like IT and legal, you can set the exact order and each person is notified when it’s their turn to sign—keeping a multi-person agreement in a streamlined, singular workflow.

4. Turnaround contracts at speed

Unlinking verification and contract-signing processes from access to a printer and scanner is a major timesaver. eSignatures allow buyers and sellers to sign documents on their mobile phones, tablets, or laptops boosting contract turnaround times by 80%.

Marketplaces can even take things a step further by embedding eSignatures into their website or app, that way buyers and sellers can sign contracts without even switching tabs or applications.

And with digitally native Millennials making up 35% of the US workforce, a growing number of people expect this level of convenience when they transact.

5. Reduce supplier drop-offs

As former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer said: “Delay is the enemy of progress.” And it’s especially true on B2B marketplaces.

Delays in the supplier onboarding process limit the number of suppliers on your marketplace, which dominoes into reduced competition, which influences prices, which attracts fewer buyers, which hurts your marketplace.

That’s certainly what grocery delivery company Instacart found. As Max Mullen, co-founder of Instacart said before implementing eSignatures into their product workflow: “There was considerable friction in the sign-up and onboarding process. We had staff in the office that would scan all of the documents as well as manage the process of getting the paperwork complete. We were losing qualified service providers before they’d even shopped their first order.”

That’s why it’s so important to avoid delays in the supplier onboarding process. Allowing people to complete marketplace verification and contract processes online with eSignatures can result in up to 80% faster signing, compared with paper-based processes.

Build a friction-free marketplace

The secret to a successful online marketplace is efficient transactions and interactions for buyers and sellers. The better you make every single participant interaction, the more attractive it becomes to do business.

And one of the fastest paths to improving buyer and seller transactions is with an eSignature solution that reduces friction across the board, reduces barriers to completion, and streamlines the essential admin that underpins successful B2B trading. To find out more, take a look at the e-guide, How eSignatures Eliminate Transaction Complexity for B2B Marketplaces.

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