Recently, I was having a conversation with a Sales Leader from one of the big Merchant Selling Organizations. I asked, “So what is the merchant Value your people are selling in B2B? There was a bit of a pause, and then they said a little bit sheepishly, “Level II & Level III Data”. I probed a little further asking. “Anything else you guys talk about?” This time there was a much longer pause, I could almost hear the person on the other end of the phone searching for an answer to which there was none. I know they wanted to give me more, but it was just not there. As an Independent Sales Organization does this conversation have a familiar ring to it? Is this what you are leading with on your B2B Sales Calls?
The origins of Level II & III data go way back to 1986 when the first Purchasing Cards were issued in the US. Back then it was the US Government that was essentially the testbed for Purchasing Cards before it was finally rolled out to Non-government merchants in the 1990s. The issuers had a little bit of a problem in that they needed to pass on information that was contained on the Purchasing Order’s (PO’s) they would now electronically be replacing. In order to get a Supplier to pass that data, they offered a rate reduction to encourage the process. In theory, it worked really well. In practicality, it was not always a home run. In some cases, businesses had the data but failed to pass it. In others, they passed it to a processor who failed to pass it on, and it some cases it worked as designed, but to say it was universal in the benefits it delivered to suppliers would be a stretch. Much has not changed despite the passing of time. Granted technology has assisted in some ways to make up for data that is not entered, but with a percentage of B2B spend on consumer cards, Level II & III data is a non-starter for this business volume.
In its simplest form the more data required for a transaction the higher the level assigned to that transaction. Level III requires the most data and can provide the largest rate reductions. Th