Strategies for Enrolling Suppliers in Your Virtual Card Program
The following tips were shared by Matthew Dragiff, Vice President, Product Development, AvantGard Payment Services, SunGard. See also more resources related to card acceptance, as well as ePayables/Virtual Cards.
Organizations continue to migrate suppliers from paper check payments to electronic payments, which include Virtual Cards. The biggest hurdle to such an initiative is supplier enrollment. Whether your organization tackles this hurdle or you outsource the process to a company like SunGard, the same key strategies increase the likelihood of success.
Prep Work for Supplier Enrollment Campaign
- Identify the suppliers to target by considering current spend volume, frequency of use, spend category, etc. In particular, review suppliers currently paid via check.
- Understand the supplier/buyer relationship and determine the best approach or tone to take for each supplier. Will you simply offer, strongly encourage or mandate your Virtual Card program?
- Prepare customized communications (e.g., campaign letters) for each type of tone.
Ensure you have current contact information for each supplier, including mailing address, phone and email. Organizations often find that they lack a current email.
Executing the Campaign
Communications should include a letter and/or email plus a phone call. It takes an average of three calls to reach the right contact—someone with decision-making authority—within each supplier organization. For every two outbound callers, you will need one inbound call receiver.
If a supplier declines participation in the Virtual Card program, document why. Plan to follow up again with the supplier at a designated time (e.g., in nine months) in case something changes.
Once a supplier enrolls, do not keep sending a check payment. This is confusing to the supplier.
Verify that things are working as planned with enrolled suppliers. See related blog post (last section on "A Smooth Landing") for more on supplier follow up. Continue to add suppliers, as appropriate.