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Enterprise Blog

Markaaz CEO on Transforming Business Identity Verification for Banks

Traditional credit scores can be misleading, especially for small businesses that have weathered the pandemic. While profit and loss statements reveal some numbers, they don’t capture the full dynamics a business has experienced. Moreover, financial institutions struggle to verify about 30% of individuals applying for accounts and services.

At Markaaz, our CEO Hany Fam emphasizes the importance of comprehensive and actionable insights in the age of “know your customer” and “know your business” initiatives. Without these insights, financial institutions and companies face significant risks from impostors and potential fines for violating sanctions lists.

The Shift from Physical to Digital Footprints

In the past, bankers would visit physical branches to gather information. Today, with the rise of digital footprints, there’s a shift towards newer signals like social media, open banking integrations, and consent-based access to financial data. However, identifying businesses and their owners remains a challenge.

Often, financial institutions rely heavily on the majority owner’s credit score, similar to how they assess individual credit card applicants. This method overlooks the comprehensive data needed for thorough decision-making.

By better identifying and assessing the 30% of previously unverifiable applicants, financial institutions can unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue.

The Holistic Approach to Business Data

Gathering all relevant data beyond standard profit and loss statements is crucial. At Markaaz, we facilitate this by offering a platform that integrates a broad range of data, including public and non-public financial information. This holistic approach ensures a thorough understanding of a business’s operations, relationships, and financial supply chains.

The lack of such comprehensive data negatively impacts smaller businesses, preventing them from accessing essential services like credit, cash flow, and insurance. Suppliers may miss out on opportunities with large retailers due to verification issues.

Building Trust in the Digital Age

The critical missing ingredient in today’s digital landscape is trust. Businesses must take ownership and responsibility for their data and how it’s perceived. At Markaaz, we build this trust by synthesizing and offering diverse information through our platform, which includes over 200 data elements.

These data elements encompass business health, compliance information, reputation details, and social media reviews. Diversity information is also valuable, helping firms identify businesses based on gender or ethnicity designations.

Enhancing Relationships and Security

Our goal at Markaaz is to support and memorialize relationships between bankers and clients without interfering. We accelerate the onboarding process by providing the best quality information and ensuring the highest level of security in data sharing.

For financial institutions and FinTechs, our platform’s ability to converge all compliance and monitoring obligations is transformative. This convergence streamlines processes and enhances trust.

Educating and Empowering Businesses

As Markaaz collaborates with client firms and financial institutions, we provide education on data usage and offer tools to correct inaccurate data, similar to how individuals can correct their credit reports. Our platform also enables companies to perform due diligence on potential business partners and consumers.

With open banking gaining traction in the U.S. and AI facilitating automated data collection, we’re moving towards a future where businesses can access all necessary information for informed decision-making. This access allows them to find the best deals, rates, and approval levels.

The Future of Business Verification

Looking ahead, we anticipate dramatic improvements in how enterprises identify, verify, and onboard businesses. Cleaner data will lead to real-time analysis and monitoring, fostering dynamic, rather than static, business relationships.

At Markaaz, we provide credible data that empowers businesses to build and maintain trust-based relationships, ensuring they have all the information needed for success.

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Enterprise Blog

Customize Business Onboarding with Firmographic Data

From banks and financial institutions to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers, B2B data is more than just a preferable asset; it’s a priority. Not only will data fuel Know Your Business (KYB) checks to maintain business with legitimate companies, but it will also facilitate personalization to customize crucial onboarding experiences in B2B relationships.

Customization has had profound impacts on the B2B buying journey in recent years, with conversion rates doubling for personalized experiences year over year. B2B data is now the key to tailor-made onboarding — and the pinnacle of B2B data is firmographic data. 

In today’s post, we’ll explore how to leverage firmographic data for the ultimate onboarding experience. 

The link between firmographic data and onboarding 

First impressions have a significant impact on client relationships. A personalized onboarding experience not only introduces prospects to your products or services, but it initiates a relationship based on mutual understanding. Using relevant firmographic data, you can visualize clients’ unique needs and challenges, so clients can recognize the value your business solution can provide. 

By demonstrating a firm grasp on client pain points with a customized onboarding experience, you allow businesses to feel more like partners than just another lead in the pipeline — which has a considerable payoff. A recent Forrester survey of leaders responsible for B2B personalization strategies found that customized experiences have exceeded targets and expectations for:

    • Revenue (68%)

    • Customer experience measures (67%)

    • Conversion rates (67%)

Data-driven messaging is now considered the most successful source of individualized experiences. Garnering accurate B2B insights from firmographic data providers enables your business to forge stronger, more satisfactory relationships during onboarding. With the right firmographic data, onboarding can become a catalyst for meaningful client relationships with maximum retention. 

Firmographic data points to gather for onboarding 

Firmographic data is a B2B dataset that describes the fundamental characteristics of a business or organization. Often referred to as “firm demographic data,” firmographics include the distinct attributes used to categorize a client as a whole organization rather than as a sole individual. Common firmographic data points used in the onboarding process include, but aren’t limited to:

    • Structure of company (i.e. parent companies and subsidiaries)

    • Size of company (i.e. employee and revenue)

    • Contact details (i.e. phone number and email)

    • Industry type (i.e. primary NAICS code and description)

    • Geographic data (i.e. company headquarters and delivery centers)

    • Performance details (i.e. credit rating)

  •  

You can source firmographic data in several ways. For public businesses, firmographic data can be found across press releases, earnings reports, and business websites. For private businesses, it can be gathered or verified by third-party B2B data providers. Data enrichment and business verification services, like the Markaaz Directory, combine registrar, public and private data sources in one place. 

How to segment businesses with firmographic data

Before personalizing onboarding processes for new clients, it’s wise to use insights honed from a firmographic data service to segment businesses. Firmographic segmentation refers to grouping businesses based on shared qualities or attributes. For instance, businesses can be segmented based on company size, industry type, operating location, growth stage, revenue, and more. 

Segmentation allows you to fine-tune your general onboarding approach. For example, larger businesses with thousands of employees and lengthy sales cycles may require more hands on deck to guide them through the onboarding process. With a growing need for a human touch in B2B customer experiences, you’ll need to ensure you have enough team members to tackle the job.

Segmenting businesses also allows you to tailor your messaging, especially about relevant features or value propositions. Imagine you build customer relationship management (CRM) tools and firmographic data reveals that tech startups are seeking more advanced lead tracking. Your onboarding process can then provide a webinar on your tool’s automated pipeline management.

Strategies for tailoring onboarding with B2B data

One of the best tips for tailoring onboarding processes with firmographic data is to implement a welcome survey after businesses sign up for your product or service. Welcome surveys help gather additional business information like goals and jobs to be done (JTBD), which can then be paired with firmographic data insights like industry type, company size, and operating location. 

From here, you’re able to combine the firmographic segments with noted challenges and objectives listed per segment. This process will allow you to effortlessly tailor onboarding processes by segment. You can craft specific walkthroughs, webinars, checklists, and tooltips that each segment will find most beneficial. 

For example, financial institutions may offer specialized support teams for businesses operating across multiple regulatory jurisdictions, ensuring their clients receive tailored onboarding from experts who understand the unique compliance requirements. They may also provide a product walkthrough in multiple languages, so international stakeholders can remain informed.

Alternatively, a sales forecasting software company may recognize that ecommerce clients have goals to scale operations but need tools to simplify demand changes and seasonality. In this instance, the onboarding process can be customized to include a hands-on workshop for revenue projections and flexible pricing plans that account for annual fluctuations in ecommerce sales. 

Turbocharge onboarding with firmographic data solutions

Your business only has one chance to make a good first impression during the onboarding process — but you can’t do that if you don’t understand what clients want. With firmographic data, your business can craft a more personalized approach to onboarding that lets clients know you’ve done your due diligence in realizing what they need and recognizing how you’ll deliver it. In terms of reputable data, no provider offers greater completeness and accuracy than Markaaz. Markaaz sources data from multiple global partners, both public and private, with proprietary matching techniques that power the most advanced data enrichment and business verification services. Connect with our team to learn more about Markaaz’s firmographic data solutions.

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Enterprise Blog

B2B data enrichment services: What you need to know

data enrichment

As the business world becomes more data-driven, the accuracy and completeness of B2B databases can significantly impact a company’s success. Poor data quality is a pervasive issue that impacts organizations across industries, and the resulting financial losses can be staggering. IBM estimates that, in the US alone, poor data quality costs institutions an average of $3.1 trillion per year

This is where B2B data enrichment services come in. They help ensure business owners base their decisions on accurate, comprehensive, and up-to-date information.

In this guide, we’ll dive into what to expect from a data enrichment service, including the processes, benefits, and key considerations for business owners. 

What are B2B data enrichment services?

B2B data enriching is the process of adding missing information to an existing database. It’s one part of the broader data enrichment process, which involves gathering, cleaning, and validating data to make sure it’s complete, accurate, and up to date.

Data enriching is often done by collaborating with B2B data providers with access to extensive datasets. Companies like Markaaz use sophisticated techniques to match and integrate relevant data into your company’s records.

The process of data enriching

Data enriching typically begins with an evaluation of your current database to identify missing or outdated elements and a discussion of your overall goals. Then, the B2B data enrichment services provider uses specialized algorithms and entity resolution methods to accurately match and enrich data. Information that may be added or updated includes but is not limited to: 

  • Contact information: Office address, phone, email, social media, website links
  • Demographic data: Income, age, marital status, number of children, level of education, buying behaviors, lifestyle attributes (ex. hobbies/interests, occupation)
  • Firmographic data: Industry, market sector, annual revenue, key contacts, internal structure

The need for data enrichment services

Incomplete or outdated data presents multiple challenges for businesses. Incorrect contact details can lead to communication failures, lost sales opportunities, and a tarnished brand image due to unprofessional outreach attempts.

Similarly, outdated demographic or firmographic information can skew market analysis, leading to poor strategic decisions. These inefficiencies can bog down a company’s operations, leading to a waste of time and resources from chasing incorrect or outdated leads.

Benefits of data enriching

Investing in reliable data enrichment services can create significant benefits for businesses in a wide range of industries. Here’s a look at some of the key advantages:

  • Improved data accuracy: Data enrichment corrects inaccuracies in your database, ensuring that all contact details and critical information are current. This precision helps in effectively reaching and engaging with the right customers and stakeholders.
  • Enhanced KYB verification: Data enrichment services enhance Know Your Business (KYB) checks by ensuring all necessary business verification information is accurate and up to date. This supports compliance efforts, helping prevent fraudulent activities and ensuring companies can keep up with evolving KYB requirements.  
  • Refined marketing strategies: Updated and enriched data allows for more finely tuned marketing strategies. Businesses can segment clients more accurately, personalize communications, and gain customer insights that allow for offerings that are more closely aligned with customer needs. 
  • Increased sales opportunities: With access to a richer dataset, sales teams can better identify and capitalize on new opportunities. Reliable data ensures that efforts are focused on viable leads, increasing the potential for successful conversions.
  • Better compliance and risk management: Regularly enriching data helps businesses stay in compliance with changing regulations. It also helps reduce business risks associated with data errors and outdated information.

Tips for evaluating B2B data enrichment service providers  

Choosing a reliable partner is the key to a successful data enrichment project. When vetting potential B2B data enrichment service providers, ensure the company can effectively meet your data enhancement needs. Key features to look for include:

  • Data quality: Ensure the provider offers high-quality, accurate data. This includes checking their sources and methods for collecting and updating information.
  • Coverage: Look for providers with extensive coverage that matches your industry and geographic needs.
  • Update frequency: Ensure the provider regularly updates their datasets to keep information relevant.
  • Compliance: Ensure the provider adheres to all relevant data protection and privacy regulations.
  • Integration capabilities: Confirm that the service easily integrates with your existing systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. 
  • Case studies: Review the provider’s case studies or success stories to gauge the effectiveness and real-world application of their services.

When evaluating Markaaz, decision-makers often note standout features such as daily record checks and alerts and seamless integration capabilities that allow for streamlined data delivery directly into your systems. A comprehensive database with over 300 million global business records and 200 data points makes Markaaz relevant to businesses in a wide range of industries. A wealth of case studies also clearly demonstrates real-world successes, while a company-wide commitment to data security ensures legal compliance.

Integrating B2B data enrichment services with your current systems

Data enrichment is not a one-time process. Since data points are constantly changing, it’s important to regularly update and maintain databases to ensure completeness and accuracy.  

Integrating B2B data enrichment services into your existing CRM, ERP, or KYB solutions can significantly enhance data management and operational efficiency. An application programming interface (API) that enables direct, real-time data exchange ensures provider updates are instantly reflected in your systems without the need for manual intervention.

Markaaz offers a fully scalable solution, with web interfaces for customers with lower-volume needs and APIs for larger-scale, fully integrated, automated data delivery. Additionally, our robust developer portal provides the API resources and information your team will need for hassle-free implementation.

Optimize your operations with data enrichment services

B2B data enrichment services are crucial for ensuring business databases are complete, accurate, and up to date. By investing in data enrichment, businesses can enhance their compliance and risk management, refine marketing strategies, improve efficiencies, and create new sales opportunities.

With our vast database, daily updates, and seamless integrations, Markaaz offers an industry-leading B2B data enrichment service. To learn more about how your business can benefit, connect with our team to schedule a personalized demo.

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Enterprise Blog

Why you need an AML monitoring solution in your KYB

In 2023, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, faced a staggering $4.3 billion fine for failing to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and allowing illicit activities to thrive on its platform. Following the conclusion of the case, officials made it clear that AML violations will not go unpunished. 

“A corporate strategy that puts profits over compliance isn’t a path to riches; it’s a path to federal prosecution,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division reiterated, “Make no mistake: when you place profits over compliance with the law, you will answer for your crimes in the United States.”

While this is an extreme example, it highlights the importance of being vigilant and adhering to AML regulations. The Justice Department’s public commitment to prosecuting violators highlights the need for businesses of all sizes to take their AML responsibilities seriously. 

Ensuring compliance begins with understanding the connection between Know Your Business (KYB) procedures and AML monitoring. The following guide explores the relationship in detail and explains best practices for implementing effective solutions.

The connection between KYB and AML monitoring

KYB is a crucial component of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) compliance. AML procedures aim to detect and prevent financial crimes such as money laundering, fraud, and terrorist financing. KYB focuses on verifying the legitimacy and identity of business clients to ensure they are not involved in illicit activities. 

Regulatory requirements

Global regulatory requirements for AML and KYB are stringent. While they vary by jurisdiction, some key regulations include:

  • USA PATRIOT Act: Enacted in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, this act requires financial institutions to implement robust AML measures, including customer identification programs and ongoing AML monitoring to detect and report suspicious activities. 
  • EU’s 6th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (6AMLD): Expands the scope of AML regulations in the EU, introducing harsher penalties for noncompliance and holding businesses accountable for a wider range of financial crimes.
  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations: Provide a global standard for AML and CTF measures, urging countries to implement effective regulatory frameworks. The recommendations include detailed guidelines for sanction screening, customer due diligence, and the use of business monitoring solutions.

Each of these regulations mandates rigorous initial and ongoing AML monitoring to ensure businesses do not engage in or facilitate financial crimes. Noncompliance can lead to severe penalties, including hefty fines, criminal charges, and reputational damage—as evidenced by the recent Binance case and other notable cases involving companies such as Danske Bank, HSBC, and Standard Chartered.

Mitigation of financial crimes

Integrating AML monitoring solutions and KYB processes helps mitigate financial crimes by ensuring continuous surveillance of transactions and business activities. This ongoing scrutiny allows organizations to detect suspicious activities such as unusual transaction patterns, high-volume cash flows, and dealings with high-risk jurisdictions.

AML monitoring software can detect layered transactions designed to obscure the origin of illicit funds, identify and flag transactions linked to individuals or entities on international watchlists, and ensure businesses do not engage in transactions with sanctioned entities or individuals.

Enhanced trust and reputation

Effective AML monitoring builds confidence among stakeholders by showcasing a proactive approach to risk management and regulatory compliance. This ultimately creates a safer and more transparent business environment. Clients and partners are also more likely to engage with companies that enhance trust and protect their reputations by demonstrating a commitment to preventing financial crimes. 

Best practices for integrating AML monitoring into KYB

Properly integrating AML monitoring into the KYB process can help businesses ensure compliance and do their part to prevent financial crimes. With the right tools and best practices, organizations can ensure seamless integration, robust monitoring, and enhanced security against illicit activities. 

1. Select industry-leading AML monitoring tools  

Advanced tools and technologies help organizations stay a step ahead of criminals. Look for solutions with the following features:

  • AML monitoring software: Used to analyze transaction patterns, identify suspicious activities, and generate real-time alerts. This technology provides comprehensive coverage and automates the monitoring process, making it more efficient and accurate.
  • Comprehensive databases: Access to all global watchlists, sanctions databases, politically exposed persons (PEP) lists, and adverse media databases ensures thorough background checks.
  • AI and machine learning: AI-enhanced algorithms improve the accuracy of business records and help quickly identify potential risks. These technologies enable continuous learning from data, enhancing suspicious activity detection.

Markaaz offers access to the industry’s most advanced firmographic, compliance, and financial risk analysis. With AI-enhanced matching algorithms, enhanced entity resolution processes, and a directory of 480 million global business records, Markaaz creates the most precise business records globally. Our database offers comprehensive coverage across approximately 200 countries, including key regions like the US, EU, and Asia. These are just a few of the features that make Markaaz a standout option among AML and KYB compliance solutions.

2. Integrate AML checks into the KYB process

Integrating AML checks into the KYB process ensures thorough vetting and ongoing monitoring. The following steps will help you seamlessly incorporate AML monitoring into your KYB workflows:

  • Assess your current process: Identify gaps and areas for improvement.
  • Select AML monitoring tools: Choose tools that align with your business needs.
  • Complete data integration: Integrate selected tools with your existing databases and systems for seamless data flow and comprehensive monitoring.
  • Develop a risk-based approach: Implement a risk-based framework that prioritizes more rigorous scrutiny for high-risk transactions and entities.
  • Commit to training and awareness: Ensure your compliance team is well-trained in how to use the new tools and understands the importance of AML checks within KYB processes.
  • Complete continuing monitoring and feedback: Establish a system for continuous feedback and improvement, regularly updating your processes based on the latest regulatory requirements and threat intelligence.

Strengthen your KYB and AML compliance with Markaaz

By offering screening against all global watchlists, sanctions lists, PEPs, and adverse media databases, Markaaz provides comprehensive business verification solutions that help companies maintain both AML and KYB compliance. Integrating Markaaz into your KYB procedures improves accuracy, streamlines the verification process, and enhances overall operational efficiency.  

Connect with our team to learn more about how our advanced solutions can simplify your compliance efforts and secure your business operations.

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Enterprise Blog

What is ongoing AML monitoring and why you need it

Money laundering is a significant global problem, and it becomes increasingly complex each year. As criminals become more tech-savvy and globally connected, financial institutions face unprecedented challenges in maintaining effective anti-money laundering (AML) procedures.

According to a Financial Times report, 2022 saw a 50% spike in financial penalties handed down to institutions for failing to combat financial crimes. The numbers are staggering—nearly $5 billion in fines were issued for violations related to anti-money laundering procedures, sanctions breaches, and lapses in Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols. The trend continued in 2023, with global enforcement fines rising by more than 30%. Notably, the United States accounted for 85% of these fines, underscoring the country’s stringent stance on financial compliance.

AML compliance requires closely examining accounts and transactions to spot any suspicious activity. In the past, conducting reviews at regular intervals was enough to identify and stop financial crimes. However, the advanced technology and complex strategies used by modern criminals require a more proactive approach.

Ongoing AML monitoring represents a shift from intermittent checks to a vigilant, real-time strategy. This allows financial institutions to anticipate and quickly adapt to emerging threats rather than simply reacting to them. The following guide examines the key components of ongoing AML monitoring, its primary challenges, and how an advanced software solution can help protect financial institutions. 

The key components of ongoing AML monitoring

Effective ongoing AML monitoring requires a blend of advanced technology and strategic processes. The key components typically include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) enhance the system’s ability to detect patterns and anomalies that may indicate suspicious activity. AI and ML’s ability to learn and evolve helps organizations keep pace with new tactics used by money launderers.
  • Big data analytics involves complex algorithms that analyze vast datasets, allowing institutions to uncover potential risks and gain insights into transactional behaviors. This enables more accurate decision-making.
  • Transaction monitoring systems analyze each transaction in real time, flagging those that fit specified criteria or patterns that may indicate suspicious activity.
  • Regulatory technology (RegTech) solutions automate and streamline the reporting process, risk management procedures, and adherence to the latest AML regulations. 

Conducting ongoing monitoring helps ensure regulatory compliance, allowing institutions to avoid potentially severe penalties while safeguarding their reputations. 

Effective business monitoring solutions also identify and mitigate financial crimes before they escalate, protecting the global financial system from the adverse effects of money laundering. In addition, ongoing monitoring can help businesses operating internationally adhere to necessary global and cross-border regulations. 

Addressing the Challenges of Ongoing AML Monitoring

While the transition to ongoing AML monitoring is a smart compliance move, it’s not without its challenges. From implementing complex technology integrations to managing the costs of system updates, institutions face several key hurdles. Understanding and addressing these issues is a necessary step in establishing a robust AML compliance solution.

Advanced technology integrations

Mixing new tech like AI and big data analytics with older systems can lead to compatibility and scalability issues. Keeping pace with rapid technological advancements requires a flexible approach and may need continuous investment in system upgrades.

Cost considerations

The financial burden of implementing and maintaining a comprehensive AML monitoring system can be substantial. Institutions must strike a balance between investing in this essential technology and the need to control operational expenses.  

Data privacy and security

Ensuring the security and privacy of customer data while maintaining accessibility for monitoring purposes poses unique challenges. The threat of data breaches requires strict adherence to information protection regulations. At the same time, detailed reviews of customer details and transactions are necessary for spotting suspicious activity. 

Regulatory compliance

AML regulations are constantly evolving, requiring institutions to stay informed of new requirements and standards. Institutions operating across multiple jurisdictions often face even greater regulatory challenges.  

Accuracy and efficiency

To ensure operational efficiency, organizations must minimize false positives without compromising their ability to flag genuinely suspicious activities. This requires institutions to continually assess and update risk parameters to match the latest methods used to disguise money laundering activities.

Human intervention

Even with advanced technologies, human intervention remains a critical component of effective AML monitoring. Institutions must ensure staff are well-trained and equipped to handle the complexities of ongoing monitoring. This may involve completing courses, certifications, and continuing education requirements. 

Streamline AML compliance with Markaaz

While these challenges can complicate AML compliance, partnering with Markaaz for your business monitoring services can help you stay ahead of the compliance curve without the complexity of building and maintaining a standalone system. 

Our advanced AML service offers daily checks of customer records against global sanction lists, law enforcement watchlists, and politically exposed persons (PEP) databases. Markaaz’s intuitive, user-friendly interface takes the complexity out of the AML screening process, offering a cost-effective, accurate, and efficient compliance option. 

Real-world applications of continuous AML monitoring 

While the benefits of ongoing AML monitoring are clear, it’s critical to understand how this technology applies to real-world scenarios. From everyday transactions to complex international dealings, continuous monitoring plays a vital role in identifying and mitigating potential financial risks. Here are just a few key scenarios where ongoing AML monitoring is particularly valuable:

  • High-volume transactions: Businesses that process a large number of transactions, such as retail giants or payment processors, benefit from leveraging ongoing monitoring to efficiently identify suspicious activities without disrupting legitimate customer interactions.
  • Large cash deposits: Substantial cash deposits, particularly those just below reporting thresholds, can be a red flag for money laundering. 
  • Frequent small deposits: A series of small, seemingly innocuous deposits can also indicate illicit activities like “smurfing,” where large sums are broken into smaller amounts to avoid detection.  
  • High-risk customers: Customers with a history of suspicious activities, or those operating in industries prone to financial crimes, require extra scrutiny. Ongoing AML monitoring provides an extra layer of protection. 
  • Overseas transactions: International transactions, especially those involving high-risk jurisdictions, demand rigorous, ongoing monitoring.
  • Cryptocurrencies: The anonymity and speed of cryptocurrency transactions make them attractive to money launderers. Continuous monitoring of crypto exchanges and wallets is essential for detecting suspicious patterns and ensuring compliance with evolving regulations.

Strengthen your AML compliance with ongoing monitoring

With financial crimes becoming increasingly sophisticated, ongoing AML monitoring is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. By continuously scrutinizing transactions and customer behaviors, institutions can effectively detect and prevent money laundering, ensuring compliance with evolving regulations.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics provide the power to identify suspicious patterns in real time, while RegTech solutions and well-trained staff ensure that compliance remains a top priority. Implementing and maintaining standalone monitoring systems can be complex and cost-prohibitive, which is why Markaaz offers a streamlined, user-friendly option. Our industry-leading technology provides real-time 24/7 monitoring to support your institution’s AML compliance efforts.

Connect with our team to request a personalized demo today. 

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Enterprise Blog

Calculating business verification ROI: A step-by-step guide

The costs of onboarding fraudulent businesses are crystal clear. In 2022 alone, banks and financial institutions were fined nearly $5 billion for anti-money laundering (AML) infractions, with noncompliance fines from Know Your Business (KYB) regulations surging by 50%. 

What’s less obvious, however, is the return on investment (ROI) of business verification solutions. Beyond circumventing noncompliance fines, business verification services simplify AML and KYB processes, reduce the human capital necessary for manual application review, and even enhance new customer acquisition to drive more estimated lifetime revenue per approval.

Yet this still begs the question: How do you assign a dollar value to business verification ROI? In this guide to calculating the ROI of business verification, we’ll explore the key metrics and formulas necessary to quantify the financial impacts of business verification services. 

What is the ROI of business verification?

Organizations can incur millions in fraud loss and AML compliance fines for onboarding fraudulent businesses and criminal enterprises. So it comes as no surprise that business verification solutions have become integral components of AML compliance processes, working to enhance KYB fraud detection and sanction screenings and validate B2B data for more confident approvals.

AML compliance standards have become more stringent in recent years, and business verification services have enabled organizations to generate additional lifetime value by safely verifying more businesses. The ROI of business verification illustrates the estimated revenue lift achieved by these legitimate businesses, as well as the reduction in costs dedicated to manual reviews. 

Without reliable business verification tools, validating the legitimacy of applications requires human analysts to evaluate businesses on a per-application basis. As a people-driven operation that can require anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 full-time analysts just to manage KYB screenings, the majority of financial institutions spend approximately 1-2 months to review a single corporate client.

When you consider the human capital and overhead costs, which can reach upwards of $3,500 per application review, manual verification expenses can become crippling. For that reason, the ROI of business verification tools is measured by two elements: the additional lifetime value generated by verifying more legitimate businesses and the reduction in manual verification costs. 

By factoring in both elements, you can calculate a tangible dollar value for business verification ROI.

How to calculate business verification ROI

Whether you’re weighing the cost benefits of a data verification company or wanting to quantify the efficacy of a newly implemented solution, the best place to start is by calculating the potential ROI. Here’s a step-by-step guide to calculate business verification ROI, with tips for helpful tools.

1. Gather key data and metrics

The first step for calculating the ROI of business verification is collecting relevant data. Business verification ROI is determined on an annual basis, so it’s wise to gather metrics from the previous year for the most holistic look at your organization’s data. 

Look through your internal database to locate the following:

  • Number of applications you must verify per year 
  • Number of applications you can’t verify per year
  • Number of additional verifications gained through verification services per year
  • Amount of lifetime revenue per verified business customer
  • Number of business records requiring manual review per year
  • Average manual verification cost per application

When determining the average manual verification cost per application, bear in mind the total labor costs for the employees spearheading KYB screenings, including annual salaries, payroll taxes, and benefits packages. Also, factor in total overhead expenses, including the costs of office rent, utilities, and required software for the duration of a single application review. 

2. Apply the business verification ROI formulas 

Once you’ve identified the relevant figures, you can begin to calculate business verification ROI. Remember, you’re calculating two ROI amounts here: the estimated revenue gain from additional verifications and the cost savings from a reduction in manual escalations. 

Estimated revenue gain = additional verifications x customer lifetime revenue 

Imagine your organization needs to verify 20,000 applications per year. You previously could not verify 10,000 applications and manually reviewed 5,000. Business verification services allowed you to verify an additional 30% of those 10,000 applications, which enabled an increase of 3,000 customers per year. If the lifetime revenue for business customers is $10,000, the formula for business verification ROI would look like this:

Estimated revenue gain = 3,000 x $10,000

Estimated revenue gain = $30,000,000 

Next, you’ll need to quantify the time saved leveraging business verification services in lieu of manual escalations. To do so, you’ll need to determine the average manual verification cost per application (described above), then multiply that amount by the number of manual reviews per year to find the total annual cost.

Total cost of manual reviews = cost per application x number of applications requiring review 

For example, if you calculated your average manual verification cost per application to be $2,000 and you previously manually reviewed 5,000 applications, the formula would look like this: 

Total cost of manual reviews = $2,000 x 5,000

Total cost of manual reviews = $10,000,000

Now, to determine the cost savings of verification, compare the previous cost of manual reviews to the current cost with business verification services. If business verification services automated another 3,000 verifications per year, it could bring the number of manual reviews down to 2,000.

So the new cost of manual review would be as follows:

Total cost of manual reviews = $2,000 x 2,000

Total cost of manual reviews = $4,000,000 

Compared to the previous $10,000,000 in manual verification costs, the implementation of business verification services saved $6,000,000 annually. These savings are in addition to the $30,000,000 estimated revenue gain, bringing the total business verification ROI to $36,000,000.

3. Simplify with a verification ROI calculator

Due to the numerous impacts of verification (and the multiple formulas), manually calculating business verification ROI is not as straightforward as multiplying a few numbers. You can streamline this process by using a reputable business verification ROI calculator. 

The business verification ROI calculator by Markaaz uses a fraction of the insights you would have needed to gather for manual calculations, making the process far easier. All you need to do is plug in the number of applications you need to verify, the number you cannot verify, the lifetime revenue from your business customers, and the number of records requiring manual review. 

The calculator will assume a $2,000 standard manual verification cost per application, the industry average to review a single corporate client, so you don’t have to gather various labor and overhead costs related to application review. 

From here, it will determine the business verification ROI on a 30% increase for the revenue increase estimate, making it dramatically simpler to conceptualize the boost in estimated customers and additional lifetime revenue. Rather than spend hours gathering figures and applying various formulas, the business verification ROI calculator makes understanding ROI as simple as 1, 2, 3. 

Enhance verification rates, drive additional revenue

The ROI of business verification extends far beyond AML compliance and KYB regulations. With reliable business verification services, organizations can safely approve thousands more businesses per year, driving additional revenue streams and decreasing manual escalations. 

Markaaz is a leading KYB data provider and business verification solution designed to simplify how organizations confirm the authenticity and lawfulness of business partners and clients. Connect with our team today to learn how your organization can capitalize on business verification. 

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Enterprise Blog

Markaaz Unveils Global Business Identity Platform

Markaaz has launched a pioneering global business identity platform to help banks, FinTechs, and enterprises verify and onboard businesses of all sizes, especially smaller ones. After four years and incorporating millions of data points, Markaaz aims to transform business access to essential services.

A Groundbreaking Solution

“No one has created a single pre-populated directory with a comprehensive view of every business worldwide and a two-sided platform for secure, real-time, mutually consented monitoring,” says Markaaz CEO Hany Fam.

Fam emphasizes that Markaaz addresses a longstanding issue: outdated and incomplete business data, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Thirty percent of small businesses globally are rejected for basic services because they can’t be verified.

Proven Leadership

Fam, who previously developed Mastercard Track, aims to connect small businesses with suppliers, customers, and financial institutions. Markaaz’s team includes experienced executives and advisors from leading organizations, giving them a head start in creating a global business directory.

Comprehensive Directory

Markaaz’s directory includes 480 million businesses worldwide, sourced from 65,000 global sources and refined for accuracy. This data helps banks, FinTechs, and enterprises identify, verify, onboard, and monitor businesses in real-time. Markaaz partners with Centerfield, Byfunder, Lendfoundry, Temenos, and Paysafe, among others.

Beyond Credit Scores

Markaaz offers a comprehensive view of business health, beyond traditional credit scores, through a proprietary business health score. This real-time contextual score provides banks with a more accurate picture of a business’s viability and creditworthiness.

Future Vision

Markaaz plans to establish a trust bureau for business data and offer real-time transaction-level financing. The platform is designed to support global business growth and enhance profitability.

“We’re dedicated to supporting business growth and enhancing profitability worldwide,” Fam says. “Business inclusion is a key focus for us.”

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Enterprise Blog

Creating a best-practice KYB verification process: A detailed guide to getting started  

KYB_verification

According to a recent Fintech Times report, more than half of banks don’t perform Know Your Business (KYB) checks. These checks are increasingly important, but they can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you’re performing manual business verification.  

KYB compliance is crucial in the current regulatory landscape. Doing business with illegitimate companies or those impacted by sanctions, for instance, can result in significant fines and reputational damage.  

To streamline the process, here’s a guide to creating an effective KYB business verification system. We’ll discuss KYB in the context of the regulatory landscape, how to implement a risk-based KYB approach, and how to make KYB an integral element of your business operations.  

Navigating the regulatory landscape 

The regulatory environment surrounding business identity verification is fraught with potential obstacles that can cause problems even for discerning companies.  

Anti-money laundering (AML) initiatives, such as the EU’s AML Directive and the US Patriot Act, require organizations to verify the identities of those they do business with and report suspicious activities. Similarly, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) has rules about the kinds of verification you need to perform and when and how to prove your system is adequate. For example, in Title 31, section 5325, the Act stipulates the kind of customer data a bank needs to collect before issuing a customer a cashier’s check greater than $3,000. This section also outlines an institution’s obligation to disclose details of its ID verification system to the Secretary of the Treasury.  

One primary difference between domestic and international KYB regulations is the laws that control them. For instance, in the US, KYB is regulated by the BSA while KYB in the EU conforms to the AML Directive. This is significant because each has its own rules and consequences. 

Additionally, it’s important to carefully examine the terms used in the applicable legislation. For example, according to Title 31—Money and Finance of the BSA, even if you’re “about to engage” in an act that violates the BSA’s regulations, you can be subject to a civil penalty. Similarly, in a press release detailing new AML regulations, the EU says institutions have to both verify facts about customers and “report suspicious activity.” In other words, even if there hasn’t been any confirmed fraudulent activity, the financial institution still has to report anything that raised suspicion. 

How to implement a risk-based KYB approach 

Mitigating risk is one of the primary goals of KYB. A risk-based KYB approach enables organizations to tailor their verification process based on the level of risk posed by each potential customer. Here are some steps you can take: 

    • Assess and categorize your business’s risk: This involves assessing the risk of fraud companies present to your organization. You then categorize them according to the level of risk they present. 

    • Tailor your KYB processes based on your risk assessment: If your assessment reveals a particular company poses a significant risk, build your KYB processes around mitigating these risks. For instance, if your company does business with companies in countries with lax KYB requirements, use an automated system that verifies both domestic and international business data. 

    • Continuously monitor and review your business relationships: Business principals can make poor decisions. They may inadvertently go into business with a terrorist, thereby putting your company at risk. As such, it’s important that you regularly conduct reviews of your customers.  

One significant factor that can impact your KYB approach is the accuracy of the KYB information you have access to. Accuracy is paramount; inaccurate KYB data can lead to risky business decisions. A reliable KYB data provider like Markaaz can help. You can check the information you have against the Markaaz Directory, a comprehensive database containing 300+ million global business records. If the data aligns, your compliance team can proceed with the next steps. If not, you can decide whether to further investigate or reject the business partnership altogether. 

Making KYB verification an integral part of business operations 

To make KYB verification an integral aspect of your operations, it’s imperative that you set up internal policies and procedures for business verification. For example, make it mandatory to run all customer-provided information through a third-party service that specializes in KYB.  

You can follow these steps to weave KYB into the fabric of your business: 

    • Provide training on KYB requirements: Members of your compliance and customer-facing teams should understand what KYB involves and how to identify potential issues. For instance, if a business attempts to purchase goods or services using another company’s checking account, this could be a sign they’re laundering money.  

    • Ensure efficient and user-friendly KYB processes: Your KYB systems should be straightforward enough for even new employees to understand, particularly those who are still learning how to handle KYB checks.  

    • Consider data privacy and protection issues: By making sure you stay in line with the California Privacy Rights Act, HIPAA, the EU’s GDPR, and other applicable compliance requirements, you can reduce the risk of fines or reputational damage. 

Establish an effective KYB verification system today 

Navigating the complicated KYB regulatory landscape starts with assessing your risks of doing business with fraudulent companies or those involved with money laundering, then using what you find to set up a verification system that protects your organization. By making KYB a central element of your operations, you can reduce the risk of falling out of line with regulatory standards and ending up a victim of fraud.  

When added to your KYB waterfall, Markaaz can fill crucial gaps in your data coverage. We have the SMB data other providers lack and can cover businesses of all sizes from around the world. With Markaaz, you can reduce false positives and negatives and reliably verify businesses in as fast as 2 seconds. Reach out to our team to learn more.

 

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Enterprise Blog

A guide to AML compliance: What every business needs to know

The consequences for failing to meet anti-money laundering (AML) monitoring requirements can be severe. In June 2020, the payments company Wirecard reported missing nearly $2 billion from its accounts. The investigation resulted in fines of $2.8 million for AML security breaches and jail sentences to associated individuals. 

While this may seem extreme, even small businesses can face potentially devastating fines. FINRA’s 2024 Sanctions Guidelines state that small firms can be fined $10,000 to $310,000 for AML compliance failures, while sanctions for mid-sized to large firms start at $20,000 and have no upper limit.  

To avoid unintentional noncompliance, businesses must understand the fundamentals of money laundering and stay informed of the latest AML regulatory developments. By combining this knowledge with advanced technology, firms of all sizes can build a robust AML compliance solution. Here’s what you need to know.

The basics of money laundering

Money laundering is the process of making illegally gained profits appear legal. This is typically carried out in three key stages: placement, layering, and integration.

Placement

In the placement stage, launderers introduce their illicit gains into the financial system. This is often done by spreading large deposits across accounts to make them less suspicious. Other methods include purchasing high-value items like luxury cars or jewelry, or funneling money through cash-intensive businesses where large cash transactions are less likely to draw attention.

Layering

Layering involves moving money around to create confusion and distance it from its illegal source. It’s commonly done through complex financial maneuvers such as transferring money across international borders, investing in financial products with minimal transparency, or purchasing and selling assets through a web of companies.

Integration

In the integration stage, the laundered money re-enters the economy, appearing as legitimate income. The now-clean funds are typically invested in legitimate businesses, used for real estate transactions, or used to acquire other significant assets. Launderers might also return the money to the criminal enterprise from which it originated, under the guise of legitimate earnings from investments or business activities.

What is AML compliance?

At its core, AML compliance is a set of laws, regulations, and procedures designed to detect money laundering activities. Financial institutions and other regulated entities must have AML programs in place to detect and report suspicious activities, such as large cash transactions or transfers to high-risk countries.

The global AML regulatory landscape includes several key components, including:

  • Financial Action Task Force (FATF): An intergovernmental organization that sets international standards for combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • European Union AML Directives: A set of laws that member states must implement to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing within the EU.
  • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA): A U.S. law requiring financial institutions to assist government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering.
  • USA PATRIOT Act: A U.S. law that expanded the BSA and introduced new AML requirements, such as enhanced customer identification and reporting of suspicious activities.
  • Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC): A U.S. Treasury Department agency that enforces economic sanctions against targeted foreign countries, terrorists, and other threats to national security.

AML compliance is constantly evolving to keep up with the latest money laundering techniques and newly uncovered vulnerabilities. For example, the Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting rule, which went into effect on January 1, 2024, aims to increase transparency regarding business ownership and control. 

The recently proposed Anti-Money Laundering Regulations for Residential Real Estate Transfers rule would mandate reporting for certain all-cash real estate transactions that are susceptible to money laundering. Other advances are also on the horizon, including an increased focus on cross-border information sharing and proposed regulations to address the rise in cryptocurrency transactions. These changes underscore the importance of continually updating AML compliance programs. 

Building a robust AML compliance program

A well-designed AML compliance program is the key to ensuring your company can detect, respond to, and eliminate risks associated with money laundering, terrorist financing, and other forms of fraud. To ensure compliance, businesses must complete the following five steps: 

1. Appoint a compliance officer

Appoint a dedicated Compliance Officer responsible for overseeing and implementing your AML compliance program. This person should have a deep understanding of AML regulations and the authority to enforce compliance measures across your organization.

2. Develop policies, procedures, and control

Develop clear policies and procedures that align with AML regulatory requirements. Incorporate AML compliance software to automate and streamline your processes, enhancing the efficiency of ongoing monitoring and control.

3. Conduct risk assessments

Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities within your business operations. Utilize business verification solutions to accurately assess the risk profile of customers and transactions.

4. Establish training programs

Effective training programs are essential for ensuring each employee understands their role in AML compliance. These should cover the fundamentals of AML regulations, your business’s specific policies and procedures, and how to recognize and handle potential money laundering activities. Regular updates and refresher courses will keep staff up to date on the latest compliance standards and practices.

5. Perform independent reviews and assessments

Schedule periodic independent reviews to evaluate the effectiveness of your AML compliance program. These assessments can help identify areas for improvement and ensure your program adapts to new regulations and emerging risks.

Leveraging technology in AML compliance

In the past, AML compliance required time-consuming, labor-intensive manual practices. The exhaustive verification procedures and extensive paperwork demanded significant time and effort and were prone to human error. Manual methods also struggled to keep up with evolving money laundering techniques.

Today, most modern compliance programs are built on advanced technology platforms. AML compliance software allows for ongoing AML monitoring, real-time threat detection, and advanced business verification services. This new technology improves accuracy and efficiency while minimizing incidents of false-positive detection.

Markaaz offers industry-leading AML compliance solutions, including daily checks against global sanctions and law enforcement lists. Our Markaaz Directory of over 300 million global business records and rapid matching algorithms mean you can get results in a matter of seconds. Real-time alerts keep you informed around the clock, ensuring your business is ready to take proactive action the moment a threat arises, placing you in the best possible position to avoid fraud risks and stay ahead of the compliance curve. 

Explore Markaaz’s advanced AML solutions

For many business owners, keeping up with anti-money laundering regulations is more than a legal necessity—it’s a critical part of operations. In addition to avoiding significant fines, proper AML compliance protects your reputation and helps safeguard the global financial system.

In today’s complex regulatory environment, regulated businesses of all sizes need a comprehensive AML compliance program. Business owners must understand the fundamentals of money laundering and stay informed of the latest regulatory developments. Markaaz’s solutions will help you develop a robust, efficient AML compliance program that’s always up to date. 

Learn how ongoing monitoring, advanced algorithms, and enhanced sanctions screening can safeguard your business. Schedule a personalized demo with Markaaz today.

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Enterprise Blog

How advanced business verification prevents financial crimes

Financial crimes, such as money laundering, fraud, and terrorist financing, are a pervasive problem worldwide. Fraud alone costs organizations approximately 5% of annual revenues, draining billions from the global economy each year.  

Effective business verification significantly improves risk management, acting as a first line of defense against financial crimes. The process involves analyzing and validating firmographic data and other information to confirm the business is legitimate and in compliance with legal requirements. 

However, data gaps and deficiencies in the business identity verification process can create significant vulnerabilities. By identifying discrepancies or suspicious details, business verification helps companies avoid entanglements with fraudulent entities, minimizing risk and creating a safer business environment.  

The role of business verification in AML and risk management

Business verification, also known as Know Your Business (KYB), is the process of confirming the legitimacy of commercial entities before engaging in financial transactions or partnerships. Key components include:  

  • Firmographic information 
  • Legal status verification 
  • Verification of operations 
  • Financial stability verification 
  • Company officer verification 
  • Business financial risk review 

KYB business verification helps prevent fraud and financial crime. Done effectively, it ensures adherence to anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, minimizes risk, and protects the integrity of the global financial system.  

The process includes determining whether the organization is actively and legally operating at the claimed addresses and whether it is associated with sanctioned entities or jurisdictions. It typically involves multiple steps, including reviewing business information databases and official government registries, conducting onsite audits and inspections, and using trusted business verification services

Roadblocks to effective business identity verification

Data inconsistencies and obscured information frequently create verification challenges. Discrepancies across registration documents, directories, and websites lead to mismatches that often stall verification efforts. Minor variations in addresses, spellings, and operating names, and errors like typos or incomplete entries further complicate the confirmation process.  

Increasing globalization adds a layer of complexity. When companies operate across borders, confirming the legitimacy of subsidiaries requires working with various jurisdiction rules and registration systems. Jurisdictions with low transparency, also known as secrecy jurisdictions, create additional risks. They’re known for laws and structures that allow for opaque registrations, under-regulation, and other loopholes that make it difficult to verify business information and easier to move and hide illicit money. 

Then, there are online businesses with no physical presence. As internet-based businesses become more common worldwide, their digital footprints can spread across servers and domains, potentially obscuring critical identifying details. 

Data gaps and their impact on business security

Data gaps undermine the business verification process, potentially creating security vulnerabilities. Inadequate business information may allow nefarious actors to mask illicit dealings behind seemingly legitimate enterprises. The following types of data gaps are problematic for entities trying to shield themselves against financial crimes: 

  • Unverified or outdated registrations: Stolen, fake, or out-of-date company registration documents can be used to create shell companies as a front for illegal businesses. 
  • Incomplete financial records: Missing or contradictory financial statements, tax filings, bank records, or cash flow reports can hide revenues from illegal activities or obscure insolvency risks. 
  • Insufficient operational details: A lack of information regarding revenue sources, inventory, or supply chains can mask the illegal trafficking of merchandise, conceal the flow of black market goods, or allow a shell company to pose as a legitimate supplier. 
  • Hidden beneficial ownership: Missing or false data regarding the individuals who control or profit from entities may allow for the concealment of illicit activity, fraud, or noncompliance.  

Notable examples of verification failures resulting in financial crime 

While business verification breakdowns can impact organizations of all sizes, instances such as The Panama Papers and the Danske Bank AML scandal bring to light the scale and scope of damages that can result from failures in company identity confirmation. 

The Panama Papers 

A massive leak of over 11.5 million encrypted confidential documents, known as The Panama Papers, exposed over 200,000 tax havens involving public officials, entities, and wealthy individuals from more than 200 nations. Many of the documents revealed the setup of shell corporations that were used for tax evasion, fraud, or avoiding international sanctions. Since these activities occurred in secrecy jurisdictions, they were virtually impossible to detect prior to the leak.  

Danske Bank

Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, recently pled guilty to money laundering charges and agreed to forfeit $2 billion to the US following one of the world’s largest AML compliance scandals. It also owed $413 million in penalties to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as additional settlements with Danish authorities. The bank admitted that its compliance team failed to address multiple gaps in its business monitoring and risk management processes. As a result, suspicious transactions totaling approximately $200 billion flowed through the international financial system. 

As part of the plea agreement, Danske Bank admitted several significant failures, including claiming it had automatic AML monitoring software and sanctions in place when it was, in fact, still relying on manual monitoring and form-based compliance questionnaires. Using a reliable, technology-driven data verification company could have minimized the bank’s risks, allowing it to detect indicators of financial crime in real time. 

Leveraging tech for effective risk management 

Technology is increasingly playing a critical role in strengthening the business verification processes for organizations of all sizes. Often, there are billions of data points for a single business spread across multiple databases. While the data may be similar, small differences in names, addresses, and spellings are common.  

Entity resolution is the process of identifying and linking these records by recognizing when they refer to the same real-world company, even if details don’t perfectly match. By correctly matching and aggregating this information, B2B data providers and KYB solutions can significantly improve positive verifications and enhance due diligence. This creates efficiencies and reduces the potential for human error. Ongoing monitoring further improves data integrity, providing real-time updates as changes occur.  

With a proprietary global database of over 300 million businesses, Markaaz makes it easy to verify hard-to-identify companies, helping users stay in compliance and effectively manage the risks associated with financial crimes. Innovative matching algorithms reduce false rejections and allow accurate verifications in seconds. Adding Markaaz to your existing KYB waterfall or replacing standard AML software with Markaaz’s advanced verification solutions allows users to make timely, informed decisions backed by an extensive collection of validated records. 

Prevent financial crimes by closing data gaps

Data gaps and business verification challenges create significant opportunities for criminals to engage in illicit activities, exposing organizations to compliance and security risks. Markaaz helps close these gaps with the industry’s most robust directory of extensive B2B data. 

Connect with our team to learn how Markaaz can help safeguard your organization from costly financial crimes. 

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Enterprise Blog

Staying ahead of the curve: Ensuring compliance with the latest AML regulations 

Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations have put many organizations in a tough spot. By the end of 2022, global money laundering fines had seen an increase of 50%.  

But AML compliance regulations are not just a financial liability. When applied properly, they can decrease your chances of being defrauded and boost your reputation, solvency, and shareholder value. By staying on top of the evolving regulatory landscape and understanding what AML compliance involves, you can avoid the financial and reputational millstone that comes with non-compliance.  

AML compliance is particularly important as you onboard new and monitor current business partners. Know Your Business (KYB) identity verification and approval decisioning driven by accurate data prevents both fines and internal losses from hurting your financials. 

The evolving AML regulatory landscape

Anti-money laundering involves laws and procedures that prevent businesses and people from hiding the sources of their money. Compliance regulations, particularly for the financial sector, involve rules and guidelines that mitigate the risk of fraud and doing business with organizations that practice money laundering, theft, or other financial crimes.  

The KYB process is central to the AML regulatory landscape. By understanding who you’re dealing with, you can make better informed decisions regarding the questions to ask, danger signs to watch out for, or whether to do business with them at all. 

Aligning with AML regulations is especially pivotal for financial institutions, insurance providers, and online retailers and marketplaces. These organizations often fall in the crosshairs of fraudulent actors, particularly because criminals can “earn” significant profits by leveraging false information. In addition, businesses that sell online can be easy targets for those who conceal their identity, hiding behind computer screens and fake information.  

Keeping in step with the most recent AML regulations can be a challenge, however, because they change constantly. Many of the adjustments are in reaction to global economic changes or politics. There’s also often a need to adjust regulations for specific industries. As businesses evolve and embrace digital transformations, for example, the attack methodologies of criminals force regulators to adapt to their standards as well. 

Politically exposed persons (PEPs) are another factor, and those that have abused their positions have also forced regulators to adjust their requirements. 

The FinCEN Final Rule is one example of a significant change regulators have had to impose to accommodate a shifting international business climate. Starting January 1, 2024, businesses have to report their beneficial ownership information. This means they must keep track of and file information about who benefits from their business activities.  

With these adjustments, financial law enforcement hopes to reduce the abuse of shell companies used to launder money through offshore businesses and other means. 

Losses and compliance fines stemming from a poor onboarding process

As mentioned at the outset, compliance fines can impact an otherwise sound profit and loss statement.  

Take the Binance case, for instance. Former CEO Changpeng Zhao pled guilty to an array of accusations, including receiving funds from Al Qaeda and ransomware attacks. In the end, the organization got hit with a $4.3 billion fine. Zhao paid $50 million USD out of his own pocket. 

Gambling company Crown Resorts had to pay around $300 million USD, as ordered by a July 11, 2023 ruling by the Federal Court of Australia. According to the ruling, Crown Resorts failed to conduct the appropriate due diligence on customers that presented high money laundering risks. In addition, the court found that the company failed to put appropriate anti-money laundering frameworks in place.  

The size of the actual fine an organization faces depends on the scope of the violation and the discretion of prosecutors, judges, or those involved in the litigation process. But the impact can be significant, as can the reputational ripple effect. 

Even a company with many years of upstanding performance, honesty, and transparency can have its reputation tarnished by a single AML violation. The damage can be even more poignant in the context of terrorists, cybercriminals, and state-sponsored actors using companies to hide the sources of their funds. 

In addition, the costs of investigating and settling an AML-related case can add up quickly. Factor in the cost of losing customers who no longer trust the organization, and the price can easily eclipse any fines courts may levy against a company.  

In some instances, a business can lose its operating license, forcing it to shut its doors altogether. Or, as the Binance situation illustrates, one or more leaders step down to bandage the reputational wound.   

For some companies, addressing an AML issue on a systemic level can easily get expensive. For instance, fixing an inefficient, error-prone onboarding process can mean revamping much of their digital infrastructure, resulting inconsiderable man-hours and investments in new technology.  

How to build an AML compliance infrastructure

Avoiding the financial impact of AML-related incidents can be a challenge, but you can streamline your processes using: 

  • Customer due diligence (CDD): Make sure each customer is who they say they are and their business is legitimate. 
  • Enhanced due diligence (EDD): Delve deeper to uncover any issues that arise during the initial due diligence phase. 
  • Ongoing monitoring: Catch any changes that can indicate AML-related concerns through diligent, continual monitoring. 
  • Suspicious activity reporting (SAR): File a report with a financial authority. Details can be kept confidential. 
  • Recordkeeping: Keep accurate records to spot irregularities, such as suspiciously large transactions or spending patterns that can indicate an attempt to launder money. 
  • Training and awareness: Train your staff on what money laundering looks like and how to perform due diligence to spot issues early on. 
  • Risk assessment: Systematically assess each entity you do business with, then make data-driven decisions. 
  • Compliance policies and procedures: Internal compliance policies and procedures can serve as an AML buffer, helping your staff catch the same kinds of problems investigators would be looking for. 
  • AML compliance officer: An AML compliance officer can focus their efforts on identifying signs of money laundering and mitigating a problem before it gets worse. 

Regardless of the systems you have in place, AML compliance technology can lighten your workload. With a data and technology partner like Markaaz, you get a consistent solution you can use to assess the qualifications and details of businesses you’re considering working with.  

Markaaz’s KYB and AML compliance monitoring solution can help you identify partners that can result in financial exposure. In addition, Markaaz’s database of over 300 million global business records is screened against all global sanctions lists and provides daily compliance alerts, so you can assess your compliance risk on an ongoing basis, using data from the most credible sources. 

Reduce risk by staying on top of regulatory changes

By staying updated, you can adjust existing systems to accommodate new regulations—before you come under the scrutiny of an audit or investigation. In this way, you safeguard the reputation, operations, and financial stability of your company. Your AML compliance process or solution provider can use the following resources to help: 

  • Government regulatory websites 
  • Industry associations 
  • Subscription-based services 
  • Legal and compliance publications 
  • Government news alerts 
  • Reputable online news and blogs 
  • AML software and compliance solutions, like Markaaz’s platform 
  • Consulting firms 
  • Webinars and seminars 
  • Social media forums 

Use technology to systemically maintain compliance

Changes in the AML landscape are unavoidable. Several companies have fallen out of compliance, but you don’t have to. With careful due diligence, recordkeeping, training, and strict internal controls, you can prevent compliance problems from impacting your business.  

Markaaz empowers you with consistent, reliable data, as well as ongoing monitoring, to streamline AML compliance. Our solutions can identify businesses on law enforcement and sanctions watchlists, PEPs, and more. To learn more about how Markaaz can help shield your company from AML risks, reach out for a demo today. 

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Enterprise Blog

Business data in Know Your Business (KYB): Challenges and opportunities  

For financial institutions, insurance providers, and retailers serving all sized of businesses , the accuracy and depth of data used in the Know Your Business (KYB) process can greatly influence everything from risk assessment and financial due diligence to the overall customer experience.  

At its core, KYB helps companies validate the legitimacy of their business partners and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory standards. However, the dynamic nature of business can create both challenges and opportunities that require a more tailored KYB approach.  

Business data in KYB: Key challenges  

The challenges presented by business data can impede the efficiency and accuracy of the due diligence process. Often, the hurdles come from a lack of quality data and available resources. Understanding the most common issues can help enterprises develop effective solutions and streamline their operations.  

1. Data inconsistencies  

Effective KYB procedures are heavily reliant on data quality and accuracy. It’s common for incorrect or outdated information to lead to faulty assessments. There are several factors that commonly contribute to business data inconsistencies:  

  • First, business data is often scattered across multiple platforms, complicating the aggregation process. Without a sophisticated way to gather and match data, sorting through information can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.  
  • Second, understanding an business’ complex ownership and managerial hierarchies can be challenging. business may frequently undergo structural, ownership, and other critical changes, potentially creating instances of conflicting data.  
  • Since business often do not publish detailed financial statements, financial transparency may also be limited.  

2. Resource constraints  

A lack of resources can be a significant barrier to effective KYB processes. Publicly available information is often limited or outdated, so thorough research often needs a more detailed, resource-intensive manual investigation.  

A set budget may prevent organizations from investing in advanced data and business verification solutions. However, failing to invest in KYB solutions can create inefficiencies that cost time and money and potentially create compliance or fraud risks. Financial crimes and compliance violations can cost companies millions in fines and reputational damages.  

3. Compliance challenges  

Regulatory compliance is a key element of the KYB process. However, staying current with changing regulations can be difficult, particularly when dealing with business with varying degrees of documentation and transparency. While thorough due diligence is critical for properly vetting business, companies must also adhere to regional and global data privacy standards.  

Markaaz tackles these challenges by aggregating, validating, and ensuring business data aligns with current regulations and data protection standards. This minimizes risk while maintaining a thorough KYB process. 

Business data in KYB: Unlocking opportunities  

When implementing updates to address the challenges that come with vetting business, companies that harness the right tools and strategies can also unlock some unique opportunities. Gaining access to accurate and timely business data can streamline processes, improve operational efficiencies, and help foster better business relationships.  

1. Enhanced due diligence  

By improving the accuracy and scope of business data, companies can significantly streamline their customer onboarding process. This can help reduce the risk of fraud and create a higher level of trust between the company and business. Markaaz’s KYB data solutions provide real-time, accurate business verification, ensuring due diligence is both comprehensive and efficient.  

2. Improved digital experiences  

Faster and more precise verifications mean shorter waiting times and a better experience for potential business partners. With real-time interactions becoming the norm, having the ability to quickly verify and onboard business can be a significant differentiator. This can allow companies to stay ahead of competitors while also meeting the needs of tech-savvy business. Doing so can potentially position the enterprise as a preferred partner.  

3. Better customer service  

With access to a wealth of accurate information, companies can make data-driven decisions that result in personalized services that are tailored to the needs of each business. Leveraging technology and automation can also ensure a smooth and consistent customer journey.  

Markaaz supports a customer-centric approach by accelerating verification checks and approval decisions. With 300 million business records across 200 countries and data results returned in 2 seconds, companies can verify more business faster. This can lead to an expanded customer base, increased loyalty, and more collaborative partnerships.  

4. Cost efficiency and return on investment (ROI)  

One of the often-overlooked benefits of a streamlined KYB process for business is the long-term cost savings. Traditional due diligence processes can be time-consuming and expensive. Every faulty assessment or compliance issue can also have financial implications, ranging from fines and penalties to lost business opportunities.  

By leveraging accurate business data, companies can make informed decisions quickly, eliminating the need for repeated inquiries and corrections. This not only reduces operational costs but can significantly improve the ROI on KYB solutions.  

The verified business data provided by Markaaz can cut down on manual checks, reduce human error, and ensure a smooth onboarding process. This level of efficiency translates to tangible cost savings and an improved bottom line.  

5. More effective risk management  

Many of the potential risks associated with business customers and partnerships can be mitigated with real-time monitoring and high-quality data match rates. This proactive approach not only reduces potential financial losses but also enhances the enterprise’s reputation.  

Markaaz’s continuous monitoring capabilities enable enterprises to manage risks more efficiently, adding another layer of protection against potential threats.  

Navigating KYB challenges and opportunities  

From data inconsistencies to resource constraints and compliance hurdles, business data can present significant challenges to the KYB process. However, effectively dealing with these challenges can create a range of advantages such as enhanced due diligence, an expanded customer portfolio, and superior customer service.  

Markaaz’s mission is to solve business data challenges. We offer KYB data solutions that aggregate and validate business data across 65,000 global sources. We have created the most accurate business records available so you can validate more businesses and ensure regulatory compliance adherence.  

Using Markaaz’s KYB data helps companies reduce risks and improve KYB processes to serve more business effectively.  

Want to learn more about how Markaaz can enhance your KYB process? Connect with our team today.   

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Enterprise Blog

Enhancing business verification with precise SMB data 

  

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) play a significant role in our economy. Currently, there are more than 330 million SMBs worldwide. In the United States alone, SMBs total 33 million, and over 5 million new business applications are filed in the U.S. each year. 

For companies working with SMBs, efficiently and accurately identifying and verifying information is critical. Business verification ensures regulatory compliance and fosters successful partnerships. However, the very nature of SMBs complicates the verification process. Approximately 29% of SMBs do not have a website, and over 80% are owner-operated. This makes it inherently more difficult to verify SMBs versus larger corporations. 

As companies work to maintain Know Your Business (KYB) compliance, verification errors, mismatches, or the inability to find a match can cause them to either lose significant revenues or prevent legitimate SMBs from accessing important opportunities. 

Understanding the importance of SMB verification 

Accurately verifying SMBs is critical for companies looking to grow while adhering to regulatory standards. Effective SMB verification helps mitigate risks, avoid legal penalties, and build trusted, transparent relationships with SMB clients and partners.  

In the current regulatory environment, where compliance is tightly monitored, companies must be aware of the following requirements and the role data verification plays: 

KYB requirements 

KYB is a process that requires companies to verify the identity and assess the risk associated with potential customers, partners, and suppliers. This involves checking their background, ownership structure, financial status, creditworthiness, and other related information. KYB ensures companies comply with legal standards and that potential customers aren’t unknowingly involved in risky or illegal activities. 

KYB also enables organizations to make smart business decisions. By understanding who they’re dealing with, they can avoid potential risks and build stronger, more informed relationships with SMB partners. 

Anti-money laundering (AML) measures 

Anti-money laundering (AML) measures play a critical role in stopping financial crimes like money laundering and fraud. AML involves a series of procedures and checks that enable companies to detect and report suspicious activities, ensuring their operations are legitimate and transparent. This protects them from being used for illicit financial activities and maintains their reputations as trustworthy and law-abiding entities. 

Customer due diligence

Customer due diligence (CDD) is an important step in ensuring compliance with KYB and AML regulations. This process involves verifying customer identities, understanding their business activities, and assessing their risk profiles. While standard CDD satisfies most verification requirements, the level of diligence varies based on the perceived risk. Simplified due diligence may apply in lower-risk cases, whereas high-risk scenarios may require enhanced due diligence.  

Beneficial ownership disclosure

For SMBs, disclosing who ultimately owns or controls the business, also known as beneficial ownership, is an important part of the verification process. This allows for transparency and helps companies understand the full picture of who they are doing business with, which is important for legal and security reasons.  

Beneficial ownership information is key to preventing money laundering and other illegal activities, as it ensures that businesses are not unknowingly involved in transactions with potentially risky individuals or entities. 

Sanctions screening

Sanctions screening involves checking whether the SMB or any of its owners are listed on any international trade or financial sanctions lists. This allows companies to avoid violating laws by doing business with entities or individuals who are subject to restrictions or penalties. 

Sanctions screening helps maintain legal compliance and protects the organization from legal and reputational damage that can arise from unauthorized dealings. It’s particularly important with international business operations, as it helps ensure that all transactions adhere to global trade and financial regulations. 

Ongoing monitoring

Ongoing monitoring is a continuous process that involves regularly reviewing and updating SMB-related information. This way, any changes in their operations, status, or risk profiles can be promptly identified and addressed. 

Regular monitoring helps companies quickly spot potential issues that can impact risk levels, such as shifts in financial stability or changes in ownership. This proactive approach protects against potential compliance breaches and ensures that the company’s engagement with SMBs remains relevant and secure. 

The unique challenges that create SMB data gaps

As a critical part of the global economy, SMBs drive innovation and create employment opportunities. However, verifying them poses unique challenges that often lead to gaps in data and information. Examples of these challenges include:  

  • Inaccurate information: Errors in SMB data, like incorrect contact details or business descriptions, are common. These inaccuracies can be caused by simple mistakes or outdated information. 
  • Limited digital presence: Many SMBs may not have a comprehensive online footprint. The lack of a website or digital records can make digital verification difficult. 
  • Changing business details: SMBs often undergo rapid changes. They may change addresses or shift ownership, leading to outdated or conflicting data. 
  • Resource constraints: SMBs frequently face limitations in resources. This can result in incomplete documentation or delays in providing necessary verification information. 
  • Fraud risks: The possibility of fraudulent activities or misrepresented information is a significant concern in SMB verification. 
  • Inconsistent data formats: Variability in how SMBs record and report data can create inconsistencies. This makes it challenging to verify and align information across different platforms. 
  • Limited financial information: Many SMBs, especially newer or smaller ones, may not have extensive financial records. This complicates the financial verification process. 
  • Noncompliant submissions: Limited awareness of regulatory requirements can lead to noncompliant submissions by SMBs. 

These issues not only impact the ability to accurately assess and onboard SMBs. They also affect companies’ broader business decisions and risk management strategies. 

Enhancing verification with precise SMB data 

Using precise SMB data for business verification improves risk assessment, allowing for a deeper understanding of potential problems with SMB partnerships. Accurate data helps prevent fraud and ensures regulatory compliance. It also streamlines the onboarding process and speeds up transactions, improving the overall experience for SMBs.  

Additionally, accurate SMB data simplifies vendor and supplier due diligence and supports the creation of customized products and services. Companies that have mastered their SMB verification process are better able to protect their reputations, build a competitive edge, make more informed decisions faster, and forge stronger business relationships. 

Case studies: Enhanced business verification in action 

To help you visualize how enhanced business verification can help companies overcome SMB data challenges and turn them into new opportunities, here are some real-life case studies: 

Global insurance company

A global insurance company recently contacted Markaaz after struggling to verify small business applicants, which hindered their ability to approve benefits products. The lack of critical data, such as employee counts, also impeded their sales strategies.  

Markaaz used its extensive directory and matching algorithms to verify SMBs that other data providers couldn’t. The result was a 79% match rate and the enrichment of 74% of records with valuable additional data, such as firmographics and compliance information. This improved the insurance company’s verification process, enabling them to better serve SMBs and enhance their product offerings. 

Alternative lending provider

A leading alternative lending provider saw an increase in application approvals and a reduction in customer attrition after turning to Markaaz to improve their verification rates. By applying our robust database and matching algorithms to the lender’s unvalidated cases, Markaaz produced an 84% verification rate on previously declined small business applications while reducing the average verification time to just two seconds. 

Empowering companies through enhanced SMB verification

Efficient and accurate SMB verification is necessary for regulatory compliance and business growth. Markaaz effectively bridges the data gap, enhancing risk assessment and fraud prevention while streamlining onboarding processes. 

Reach out today to learn more about how Markaaz’s innovative solutions can provide precise and efficient SMB verification.  

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Enterprise Blog

Top five tips for implementing business verification solutions

In today’s digital environment, robust business verification solutions have never been more critical. Whatever the size of your company, ensuring the legitimacy of your business interactions is paramount. 

While the digital revolution has improved how businesses operate, it’s also given rise to sophisticated forms of fraud. In 2020, compliance spending reached $213 billion USD worldwide, while laundered funds estimates totaled over $2 trillion USD. The cost of fraud is also not only financial—it extends to reputational damage and loss of customer trust.  

In this article, we examine some of the most common business verification and compliance challenges plaguing companies today. We also provide tips on how to get the most out of your business verification solution to avoid costly gaps in your onboarding and customer risk management processes. 

Common business verification challenges companies face

Partnering with entities involved in fraudulent activity, such as money laundering and terrorist financing, is a serious breach of Know Your Business (KYB) regulations. But implementing severely stringent or outdated business verification processes can result in companies turning away legitimate business transactions or partnerships.

While many companies have already incorporated business verification technology into their processes, others are still verifying potential partners and customers the old-fashioned way—through manual means. Still, not all business verification solutions are created equally. Here are some of the most common challenges businesses face with their verification solutions: 

Developer delays

Project prioritization and lack of resources can impact development timelines. But bad application programming interfaces (APIs) and software development kits (SDKs) can also hugely contribute to developer delays. They’re often characterized by: 

  • Poor documentation: Because the documentation is inadequate or unclear, developers struggle to understand how to use the API or SDK.
  • Inconsistency and unreliability: This means extra time for debugging and troubleshooting, and developers may have to find ways to work around unexpected issues.
  • Limited functionality: Poorly designed APIs or SDKs often lack essential features or provide limited functionality. Developers may need to find alternative solutions, leading to even more delays.
  • Security concerns: This can mean inadequate authentication mechanisms or security vulnerabilities. As a result, developers have to invest time in implementing additional security measures.

Data quality issues

Some business verification solutions come with incomplete, outdated, or inaccurate data. These issues typically arise due to data entry errors, stale or mismatched data, or even fraudulent data. Plus, business databases change often. All these can result in false outcomes, forcing compliance officers to conduct time-consuming manual checks.

Null responses

Null responses occur when a verification process fails to provide a conclusive result. This leaves companies uncertain about the legitimacy of the user or transaction. Since most KYB data providers don’t specialize in SMBs, null responses to SMB queries are more frequent. This can be due to incomplete information, technical glitches, or mismatched data. As a result, companies either reject a potential customer or initiate a manual, resource-intensive review process.

Slow verification

With some verification solutions, it can take hours or even days for web miners to collect enough information to verify a customer. Slow verification delays onboarding, leading to frustration among customers and potential business partners. This affects the user experience, which can result in lost opportunities and revenue. 

Five tips to make the most of your business verification solutions

For verification solutions to work in your favor, keep the following in mind:

1. Make sure developers have the tools they need

Ensure your business verification solution provides comprehensive API documentation and developer-friendly tools. Is the vendor proactive in offering support? Collaboration between developers and the solution provider helps to promptly address any issues that may arise.

2. Educate partners and customers about verification best practices

Many small businesses are unaware of data inconsistencies that exist about their company. They may also be unaware of incomplete data that causes them to fail KYB procedures. By educating your potential business partners on the importance of regularly cleaning up their data, you can improve your KYB outcomes.

3. Opt for a solutions provider that offers quick, comprehensive business lookups

Setting up a business verification solution may take time. Choose a business verification provider that provides on-demand access to comprehensive KYB data while waiting for your dev team to complete the setup. 

The Markaaz Business Lookup is a no-code business verification solution that allows companies to perform business lookups immediately. Users can automatically retrieve any information they need about a company listed in the Markaaz Directory, which includes over 300 million records from companies worldwide, 98% of which are small businesses. With immediate access to reliable data, you can verify and onboard customers more accurately and efficiently—all while your developers are setting up your integrated delivery system.

4. Balance automation and manual checks

While automation ensures efficiency, manual checks add an extra layer of scrutiny. Use automation for routine tasks and manual checks for high-risk scenarios.

5. Use a KYB data provider that specializes in SMBs

Are null responses or incomplete data common during SMB verification? If so, it’s best to partner with a KYB data provider that specializes in SMBs. This reduces the likelihood of null responses and improves verification accuracy.

Don’t settle for subpar business verification solutions

Achieving business compliance relies on accurate data and robust KYB procedures. Don’t settle for a slow and subpar verification solution that you aren’t 100% sure you can trust. Combining exceptional data quality with automated APIs, Markaaz offers a powerful business verification solution that provides both speed and accuracy, the two critical elements for effective business verification.

Discover how Markaaz’s business verification solutions can optimize your customer onboarding process. Reach out today to discuss how we can help.

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Enterprise Blog

Why traditional KYB data providers struggle with SMB data—and why it’s impacting your bottom line 

Traditional Know Your Business (KYB) data providers often face significant challenges when dealing with small business data. These small businesses often have diverse structures, limited public profiles, and changes in growth and development. Such challenges can hinder conventional B2B data collection, maintenance, and utilization methods. 

For banks, lenders, insurance providers, retailers, and other companies who need to run thorough KYB checks on their small business customers, this B2B data gap makes it difficult to source accurate information to validate customer legitimacy. Many companies routinely cannot verify between 20-40% of small business customers using their existing data sources. 

There are a variety of reasons why small business data poses so many challenges to traditional B2B data collection methods. In this article, we’ll explore some of the challenges and discuss how they impact small business KYB verification. We’ll also show how KYB data solutions like those from Markaaz can help companies overcome the bottom-line impact of these small business data challenges.   

Common SMB data challenges KYB data providers face

The process of business identity verification is a critical step to onboarding customers, identifying new revenue opportunities, and reducing potential fraud and compliance risks. KYB data providers need to provide accurate, comprehensive B2B data so companies can validate customer information and legitimacy.  

However, traditional KYB data providers often find themselves grappling with the unique challenges presented by small business data. Here are a few: 

Sparse data availability 

Small businesses often have a limited online presence and digital footprints, posing a challenge for traditional KYB data providers. Unlike larger companies, small businesses may not have a robust online profile, making it difficult for providers to extract relevant and comprehensive information. 

Diverse business structures 

Small businesses come in myriad forms – sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or corporations. Traditional KYB data providers, designed with a focus on standardized information, struggle to adapt to the diverse business structures inherent in the small business ecosystem. This diversity complicates the verification process, increasing the likelihood of false positives or negatives. 

Dynamic nature of small businesses 

Small businesses are inherently agile and dynamic. They may undergo rapid changes in ownership, management, or even locations. Traditional KYB data providers, often relying on static databases, find it challenging to keep pace with these frequent alterations. This lag in updating information introduces data discrepancies may prevent a return result in a business verification check. 

Data accuracy 

Outdated or incorrect SMB information hinders a company’s ability to validate a business customer. Even a minor misspelling error can stall the data verification process, prompting onboarding professionals to either perform time-consuming, resource-intensive manual checks or reject a potential customer outright.  

Data fragmentation 

SMB information is often fragmented across various sources, making compiling complete and accurate details about SMBs frustrating and complicated. SMBs may register at local or regional levels, and this information may not be aggregated into a centralized database.  

Language processing issues in global data coverage 

In a global context, language processing challenges—i.e., translating across sources—can affect the accuracy and relevance of SMB data. Processing data across languages requires sophisticated language understanding and interpretation capabilities. Adapting to linguistic nuances is crucial for effective KYB data provision on a global scale. 

Limited diverse data 

The absence of diverse data limits companies’ depth of understanding about SMBs. Non-traditional sources of information can offer additional insights into SMBs’ business activities, overall risk profiles, and creditworthiness. This can include social media platforms and online reviews and ratings.  

Social media activity can offer insights into an SMB’s customer interactions and online reputation, while reviews on platforms like Yelp or Google provide a window into an SMB’s service quality, customer satisfaction ratings, and even potential issues. If an SMB doesn’t have a web presence, this data will not be available for KYB data providers. 

The business impact of SMB data

Understanding potential challenges is the first step to overcoming the intricacies of SMB data verification. The next is knowing what could happen if these challenges remain unresolved.  

Here’s how SMB data challenges could impact your bottom line:   

Increased risk 

If your KYB process does not provide the information you need to correctly assess small business customers, you increase exposure to fraud, regulatory penalties, and legal challenges. To safeguard the integrity and resiliency of your company, it’s necessary to address the limitations posed by traditional SMB data verification. Otherwise, these risks could lead to financial loss, reputational damage, and other penalties that affect your organization’s stability and standing within your industry.  

Missed business opportunities 

The inability to verify the legitimacy of a potential SMB partner or client hinders collaboration and may lead to companies taking an unnecessarily conservative approach to forging new relationships. In a fast-moving business environment where swift and informed decisions are paramount, failure to assess the legitimacy of business partners promptly and accurately can hinder growth and expansion. 

Costly manual processes 

Without a consolidated, reliable SMB data source, verifying SMB data often involves labor-intensive manual processes. Inevitably, this means increased costs and potential inefficiencies due to human error. And if large volumes of data have to undergo manual verification, you lose out on potentially lucrative business opportunities and risk alienating your customers. 

Can technology provide a solution?

While verifying the accuracy of SMB data remains a complex process, technology innovations can improve KYB solutions to address some of the data challenges that make small business identity verification so difficult. 

Examples of how technology can close small business data gaps:  

Consolidate global data sources 

Traditional KYB data providers often rely on individual, localized databases, limiting their ability to comprehensively verify small businesses with a global footprint. The right data and language processing technology can aggregate data across a vast array of global sources. By tapping into international databases, regulatory filings, and authoritative sources worldwide, technology-driven KYB solutions ensure a more holistic and accurate representation of small businesses operating on a global scale. 

Matching algorithms for data accuracy 

Small businesses face challenges related to data entry errors, spelling issues, and outdated records, which can compromise the accuracy of business identity verification. Sophisticated matching algorithms that go beyond basic string matching can intelligently account for variations in data entry, controlling for spelling errors and cross-referencing information across multiple sources to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date records. This not only enhances the precision of KYB verification but also minimizes the risk of false positives or negatives. 

Daily updated compliance data 

The dynamic nature of small businesses demands a real-time approach to data updates, especially in the context of sanctions screening and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance checks. KYB solutions can provide daily data feeds to continuously monitor changes in relevant data points. This ensures that companies relying on KYB data are promptly alerted to any developments that may impact their risk exposure, allowing for timely and effective risk mitigation strategies. 

Expansive firmographics 

A comprehensive understanding of a small business goes beyond basic details and necessitates robust firmographics. Technology facilitates the aggregation and analysis of diverse data points, including global entities and officers associated with a business. By tapping into global business registries, legal databases, and authoritative sources, KYB solutions provide a detailed and accurate profile of a small business, encompassing its structure, ownership, and affiliations on a global scale. This depth of information enhances the efficacy of KYB processes and aids in making well-informed business decisions. 

How Markaaz can help

Markaaz provides a practical solution to the challenges traditional KYB data providers encounter in small business verification. Leveraging 65,000 global data sources and proprietary data matching algorithms, Markaaz has created a database of 300 million small business records spanning 200 countries. This technology-driven innovation not only enhances data accuracy but also provides real-time business identity verification that delivers a 25% better match rate. These KYB solutions offer a practical way for companies to fill gaps in their small business verification, fostering better verification processes, risk management, and compliance.   

Connect with our team to explore more about how Markaaz’s small business KYB data can help you approve more SMB customers. 

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Enterprise Blog

Navigating risk management in lending: Trends, challenges, and solutions 

 Alain Cauwenberghs, Markaaz’s Chief Growth Officer, discusses lenders’ risk management challenges and the KYB solutions that can combat fraud and protect customers.

In the current financial landscape, banks and lenders are facing unprecedented new challenges. Inflation is an ongoing issue, default risk is on the rise, and lenders are feeling skittish. 

What does this mean for those wielding the loan approval stamp? Stricter risk evaluation and more demanding Know Your Business (KYB) verification procedures. 

As a result, it’s harder to approve loan applications. That winning startup with great financials and a promising future? Sorry, but a subpar credit rating and minor record inconsistencies won’t cut it. Strict verification processes mean even responsible loan applicants can get auto rejected. 

So how can banks and lenders find more effective ways to verify legitimate customers

New challenges in the banking and lending industry 

Regulations worldwide are tightening, and financial institutions are swallowing the cost. A growing population means more customers, but budget cuts mean less staff. Loan approvals remain a key hurdle, and SMB loan demand is growing.  

For small businesses relying on loans to fund their operations, expand their business, or invest in new ventures, rising interest rates could restrict access to capital. Lenders, too, are struggling, as the risk landscape becomes more treacherous. Minimizing exposure to risk is now a key challenge.  

Here, we investigate these challenges and some solutions that banks and lenders can enact to expand operations without compromising the accuracy of their approvals: 

Difficulty in qualifying for loans

The main issue that small businesses now face is loan approval. As interest rates increase, the cost of borrowing rises. The result is more expensive loans and stricter lending criteria. Lenders are so cautious when considering loan applications that rejection rates are skyrocketing. Subsequently, SMBs with modest credit ratings or limited collateral can’t get the approval they need. 

Lender risk exposure 

On the flip side, lenders are facing a growing risk of defaults and fraud. Higher interest rates make it harder for SMBs to meet their debt obligations. Some borrowers even resort to fraud to get the loans they need to keep operating. Lenders must adopt stricter risk assessment measures to mitigate these risks. While doing so, they must not compromise the approval of legitimate applications. 

Optimizing access to capital

Initiatives like government-backed loans are already helping small businesses, but lenders can also adopt ways to optimize the approval process. Open banking protocols are critical in helping financial institutions share information that can accelerate approvals. Educating customers about risk thresholds is another way that lenders can improve the frequency of application approvals. 

Adopting third-party digital solutions

Digital verification solutions that automate KYB procedures show promise in streamlining approvals. In particular, big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are key areas of focus. When used together, they can rapidly verify large quantities of disparate data with a high degree of accuracy. 

Mitigate rising interest rates 

As the Federal Reserve and global banks raise interest rates, borrowing costs increase. This can hinder economic growth and hamper business expansion. In addition to using technology for approvals, lenders should consider alternative offerings like fixed-rate loans to address these rising costs. 

How risk thresholds impact SMBs  

Small businesses suffer from a variety of risk thresholds that need careful attention and monitoring. No matter how effective your approval process is, bad risk management on the part of SMBs will result in rejections. Understanding these risks and their consequences will help you better manage expectations. 

There are several things that could affect an SMB’s chances of approval: 

  • Insufficient credit history 
  • High debt-to-equity ratio 
  • Lack of collateral 
  • Reputation (negative publicity, past controversy) 
  • Legal issues 

Lenders can help educate SMBs on the risk thresholds that affect them and recommend a proactive approach to improve their risk profiles. Maintaining up-to-date records, managing cash flow, and taking steps to improve credit scores are a good start. 

SMBs must also understand the importance of reputation. They should keep close tabs on their public image and online presence. This makes them more attractive to lenders, increasing their chances of loan approval. 

The importance of accurate KYB compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures for risk assessment 

KYB compliance and AML procedures are critical aspects of the lending process. 

  • With KYB, banks and lenders can confirm corporate identities to assess their legitimacy. Inaccurate KYB verification can have severe consequences, including reputational damage and lost business. 
  • KYB also plays an important role in AML, helping organizations better monitor cash flow and identify suspicious transactions. This is critical to ensure you don’t play a part in fraudulent or criminal activities. 

Lenders often reject up to 40% of applicants due to incomplete documentation. While stringent verification processes are necessary, they can reject legitimate applicants, too. This puts pressure on revenues and undercuts growth goals. An advanced KYB solution like Markaaz combines human expertise and cutting-edge technology to avoid false rejections without compromising accuracy. 

Streamlining approval with better verification

Rising interest rates make access to capital more challenging for SMBs. The imperative of accurate KYB verification further adds complexity to the process. To meet these challenges, banks and lenders need to adopt new methods to achieve their goals. 

This requires optimizing the approval process to avoid rejecting legitimate applications. Using APIs and powerful data analytics tools for automation can help assess creditworthiness more efficiently. And when combined with AI, lenders can find ways to achieve this even more rapidly.  

Don’t let risk rob you of customers

Rapid and accurate verification is no longer a foreign concept. With the right technology, banks and lenders can onboard the customers they need without the risk. Markaaz’s business verification solution leverages a massive SMB database of over 300 million businesses to provide 25% better match rates match rates. Each match attribute can be individually graded, revealing even more precisely the best possible match for your business interests.   

You can’t risk losing out on potentially profitable partnerships because of minor data inconsistencies. Markaaz helps enterprises reduce false rejections while optimizing approvals. This keeps risk at a minimum while ensuring small businesses get access to the loans they need.  

Contact us today to see how our industry-leading verification and enrichment solutions can work for you. 

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Enterprise Blog

How data enrichment improved customer insights for this payment provider  

Markaaz helped a leading global payment provider to verify and enrich merchant data that other data providers were unable to verify. This improvement unlocked deeper customer insights, better personalization, and new revenue opportunities.

Highlights  

  • We were able to identify and enrich 70% of US merchant and 53% of international merchant records that other KYB providers were unable to verify
  • The company request 11 data fields and we were able to return 124 providing a significantly greater level of granularity of merchant information
  • Bolstered business records with a wealth of firmographic information

The opportunity

A global payment provider wanted to have a better level of understanding of the merchants within its acceptance network.  Their desire was to support an enhanced portfolio management and create more effective prospecting efforts.

This payment provider helps small and medium-sized businesses by offering personalized solutions to help them grow. With a greater understanding of its merchants, the company can:

  • Identify high-value partners  
  • Assess risk effectively  
  • Target strategic and marketing efforts efficiently  

To do this, the payment company partnered with Markaaz to test our business verification and data enrichment solutions. The objectives included:

  • Demonstrating Markaaz’s strength as a Know Your Business (KYB) data provider for business verification  
  • Assessing the potential of the Markaaz Directory for data enrichment with both US and international merchant records  

The approach

The global payment company provided Markaaz with a sample list of their business customer records that were unverified by other KYB data providers. Our goal was to find, match, and deliver additional data to enrich their records.

The results

We conducted two studies—one for US-based businesses and one for international organizations.

US-based businesses

Within the United States, 1,736 merchant business records were provided that were unable to be verified by other KYB data providers. Markaaz was able to identify and enrich 70% of the records.

The payment provider requested 11 data fields for data enrichment, including:

  • Business name  
  • Employer identification number (EIN)  
  • Contact details  
  • Estimated annual revenue  
  • Number of employees  
  • CEO insights  

Markaaz was able to return to them the 11 original fields they requested and 113 additional ones. 

International organizations

The study used 2,500 records from different international countries. Markaaz delivered a 53% match across all countries. This was a good result since most of the records came from non-business such and non-government organizations and schools as well as unregistered businesses.

The data enrichment exercise significantly bolstered their business records with a wealth of firmographic, business health, compliance, and organizational hierarchy information.

Enhance your company’s customer insights with better data enrichment

Markaaz’s business verification and data enrichment solutions significantly improved this payment company’s customer insights, paving the way for more informed business decisions.  

Markaaz’s proprietary matching algorithm, expert data stewardship, and database of over 300 million business records solve a significant industry challenge. Markaaz has collected the best attributes across 65,000 data sources to provide superior SMB verification and deeper insights. Companies can use these better data enrichment tools to improve data enrichment processes, enhance customer experience, and increase revenue.

Contact our team to test your customer list and bring the benefits of data enrichment to your company. 

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Enterprise Blog

The role of KYB compliance in SMB fraud prevention  

Small businesses count on affordable funding to start, grow, and stay afloat when they face financial difficulties or economic downturns. This support acts as a lifeline, ensuring business owners can maintain their operations or seize timely growth opportunities.  

However, the rise in small business fraud highlights the obstacles financial institutions face ensuring funding goes to legitimate small businesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s estimated that the SBA disbursed over $200 billion to potentially fraudulent actors. This equates to at least 17% of all COVID-19 Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) funds.  

This is one of many examples that illustrates how important it is for lenders and financial institutions to have robust KYB verification and AML compliance frameworks to spot fraud and mitigate risks.  

Understanding small business fraud in loan applications  

Fraud can take many forms, creating a range of challenges for financial institutions. As illicit actors become more sophisticated, the methods they use to deceive and manipulate systems also evolve. Identifying common fraud patterns is a key to thwarting them.  

Some of the fraud attempts financial institutions may come across include:  

  • Falsification of financial information: Manipulating balance sheets, income statements, or other financial documents to portray a more favorable financial position.  
  • Identity theft or impersonation: Using stolen identities or impersonation to gain unauthorized access to funds or approve fake applications. 
  • Collusion and fraudulent documentation: A more organized form of fraud where multiple parties produce fake or altered documentation to make a fraudulent claim appear legitimate.  
  • Payment diversion: Redirecting loan or assistance payments to unauthorized accounts, often using insider information or hacking techniques. 
  • Phantom employees or workers: Creating fictitious employees to inflate payroll expenses, with the intention of receiving larger loans or grants.  
  • Misrepresentation of business purpose: Applying for loans or grants under a false pretext, intending to use the funds for unapproved or personal purposes.  
  • Loan stacking: Taking multiple loans from different lenders simultaneously without disclosing previous loans, resulting in over-leveraging.  
  • Concealing prior bankruptcies: Hiding previous financial failures or bankruptcies to improve the chances of securing a loan or other financial assistance.  
  • Ghost businesses: Creating fictitious businesses with fake operations, documentation, and identities to receive funds. 

The consequences of small business fraud

Financial losses are the most obvious and immediate consequence of fraud. If the lending institution does not catch deceptive acts, it will directly impact their bottom line. However, the damage doesn’t stop there. Instead, it creates a ripple effect that can be even more damaging over the long term.  

The financial fallout from fraudulent activities erodes a lender’s ability to provide funding to legitimate businesses in need. Operational costs also rise as institutions divert resources to investigate, rectify, and prevent fraud. Implementing prevention steps can result in reduced efficiency and increased loan processing times.  

On a larger scope, fraud can damage an institution’s reputation and may lead to legal and regulatory consequences. Significant instances of fraud can attract scrutiny from both regulatory bodies and the media, making the involved institutions appear less trustworthy. This can lead to reduced donor and investor confidence, resulting in less funding for future programs. Small business customers may also lose trust in the system, making them reluctant to seek necessary funding.  

Factors contributing to the growing threat

Several distinct causes contribute to the uptick in small business fraud. Understanding each of the following factors can help institutions more effectively address and mitigate potential threats.    

1. Lack of oversight and due diligence  

In an effort to expedite business verification, financial institutions may bypass certain checks or fail to dig deep enough. A lack of thorough oversight creates opportunities for malicious actors to exploit gaps in the process.   

2. Economic hardship  

In times of economic stress, instances of fraud tend to rise. Financial hardship combined with available opportunities can tempt certain actors to manipulate the system. This creates additional strain on already overburdened lending or financial assistance programs.  

3. Opportunity-driven fraud  

Some malicious actors are well-versed in financial systems and look for inconsistencies to exploit. Weak links in a company’s systems and processes become prime targets for opportunistic fraudsters.  

4. Insufficient KYB practices  

Without comprehensive Know Your Business (KYB) procedures, institutions risk a slew of issues. Insufficient KYB business verification processes may lead to funding entities involved in illicit activities.   

5. Lack of proper technology security measures  

Technology has streamlined the application and verification process, making it faster and more efficient. However, without the right safeguards in place, the use of technology can also create additional vulnerabilities. Phishing attempts, data breaches, or hacking can compromise sensitive applicant data, creating significant issues for financial institutions and their clients.  

Strengthening KYB oversight and AML compliance best practices  

The rise in small business fraud forces financial institutions to focus on KYB oversight and tighten Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance standards. By focusing on a few pivotal areas, organizations can secure their operations and maintain strong compliance.  

Tighten compliance requirements  

Addressing current fraud challenges requires more than just following existing compliance guidelines. Organizations must update policies to match evolving regulations and keep staff and clients informed of changes.  

Enhance due diligence procedures  

Due diligence is a fundamental step in identifying potential risks before they escalate into larger issues. A good due diligence process involves checking new clients, reviewing existing ones, and making sure all data is correct and current. By refining and enhancing these practices, institutions can better gauge potential risks and reduce the chances of fraud.  

Collaborate with financial and related institutions  

Collaboration across different sectors can provide a more holistic view of potential threats, leading to better solutions for combating fraud. Financial institutions can find and stop fraud faster by sharing information and resources to create better strategies.  

Use superior SMB data to improve KYB/AML compliance  

By harnessing the right technology, institutions can modernize and strengthen their KYB and AML compliance. Markaaz offers a comprehensive solution to tackle fraud by improving the business verification process. Markaaz provides robust SMB business data that gives a complete and current view of loan and assistance applicants. This helps institutions make quick and informed decisions using accurate information.  

Markaaz streamlines the compliance process by automating manual compliance screening checks. Integrated data delivery enhances a company’s AML compliance program and better positions it to address the evolving threats of small business fraud.  

Preventing fraud in small business lending and financial assistance  

Financial institutions must take proactive steps to address the increasing risk of fraud in small business loan applications. Strengthening oversight, updating compliance measures, and leveraging cutting-edge SMB data solutions can help protect financial institutions while ensuring the integrity of loan application programs.  

Markaaz helps organizations prevent fraud, protect their reputations, and approval more legitimate small businesses without sacrificing efficiency. Connect with our team to learn more. 

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Enterprise Blog

What’s new at Markaaz

This past quarter was a very busy one for the Product team at Markaaz!  

Here is a quick overview of what we’ve been up to and the new capabilities we’ve created to help our partners verify and improve the timeliness, quality, and reach of their small business services.

1. Easier and more flexible access

We’ve made it even easier for our partners to access our Directory, which holds over 300 million global business records. Flexible integration has always been important to us, and we have made changes to help customers leapfrog even small implementation delays and get started even faster. 

To this end, we’ve made our APIs ridiculously simple to work with. The initial feedback has been positive. Partners have been completing their coding integration in as little as 2-3 business days.  

We also complemented our API and Batch access channels with a new no-code “Business Lookup” feature in our customer portal. It’s a useful bridge for customers facing their own internal, temporary constraints connecting to our APIs. Smaller partners may find it a straightforward solution for their verification needs, while our larger partners can use it for quick, one-off lookups. It’s a new, versatile tool that caters to businesses of all sizes.

Markaaz Delivery Options_Grid

2. We’re providing deeper insights

Not only are our partners now able to access Markaaz services more easily and in more ways, but there is more to access!  

Always responsive to customer requests, we’ve launched two new data groups: 

  • Corporate Hierarchy: This shows whether a company is part of a corporate hierarchy but also provides detailed information about the hierarchy. 
  • Diversity: Partners can now identify if a company is minority, veteran, or female-owned (currently available for US company records only).  

This expanded dataset enhances a company’s ability to assess the financial stability of a small business and identify potential risk factors. It can also support diverse initiatives and bolster due diligence and fraud prevention.  

3. Proven results

It’s the results that matter. The table below represents just a sample of the verification rates we’ve achieved for our partners.  

Just a one percentage point increase in the verification rate can have a significant impact, with the potential to generate millions of dollars. For instance, onboarding one additional small business credit card customer can result in a lifetime value of $5,000-$25,000 to the financial services firm. When this impact is multiplied across a portfolio, and different lines of businesses, it can move the needle both for the enterprise and all the small businesses accessing a service that would have otherwise been unavailable to them. 

Looking ahead

We’re far from done. Our commitment is to provide our small business service partners with the tools they need to support more SMBs within a rapidly changing business landscape. The updates we’ve discussed are one way that we are delivering on this goal. 

There is much more to come. We look forward to sharing more updates with you soon! 

If you’re interested in learning more about Markaaz and the services we offer, reach out to our business development team.

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Enterprise Blog

Boosting data enrichment for a global insurance leader

Highlights

  • Successfully matched 79% of the small business records 
  • Enriched 74% of business records with firmographic, business health, compliance, company hierarchy, and diversity data
  • Returned 125 data fields versus the 13 the company requested

Background

A top-tier global insurance company serving businesses of all sizes faced verification challenges. At the same time, it wanted to enrich its client data. Markaaz used its robust directory and proprietary algorithms to solve the problem. 

The Problem

Despite having access to several data sources, the benefits team at a leading global insurance company could not complete business verification checks for many of its small business applicants. As a result, a large percentage of SMBs could not be approved for benefits products such as 401(k)s and retirement plans. 

The team also lacked employee count data, crucial information that helps with initial KYB verification and tailoring their upsell and cross-sell strategies. Improving business verification and enriching data records with this information had the potential to increase sales and revenue. 

The approach

The insurance company provided Markaaz with a data file containing records their current provider could and could not verify. The company did not disclose which records had previously been verified. Their goal was to test Markaaz’s ability to:

  • Verify SMBs that the other data provider could not
  • Append additional useful data attributes to the SMBs

To provide the requested results, Markaaz applied both its verification and data enrichment solutions.

Verification

Business verification begins with the Markaaz Directory. Using proprietary, state-of-the-art matching algorithms, Markaaz can instantly provide verified business information such as basic company details and names of executives. This proves the SMB’s legitimacy and streamlines approvals of new business customers.

Data enrichment

Markaaz uses data from its business records to enhance existing records. Additional details may include firmographics, credit scores and financial risk, compliance, officer names, diversity, and corporate hierarchy data.

The results

  • Markaaz matched 79% of the records in the insurance provider’s file.
  • 74% of the records were enriched with additional data, such as firmographic, business health, company hierarchy, and compliance data.

A notable feature of this case study was Markaaz’s ability to manage multiple addresses for the same business. This ensured more accurate matching, drawing from the Markaaz Directory to find the appropriate business record.

The insurance company also wanted more information on each SMB’s diversity and employee counts. They requested an additional 13 data fields, but Markaaz enriched their records with an additional 125 data fields.

Markaaz’s industry-leading capabilities

Markaaz maintains a global database of over 300 million businesses across 200 countries. It’s this database that powers our verification and data enrichment solutions.

We acquire data from the best premium and public data sources across the globe. We then use proprietary data-matching algorithms crafted by our data experts and enhanced through artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to select the best data elements across over 65,000 sources. They are then merged into a single “Golden Record,” the most accurate business record available.

Markaaz’s unique matching algorithms help address the industry-wide challenge of outdated or incorrect business data that causes KYB business verification gaps. Our integrated solutions provide instant business data delivery, making it easy to serve large customer portfolios in real time.

Connect with a Markaaz team member to test our data on your customer lists and see the impact of superior SMB data in your KYB processes.

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Enterprise Blog

Understanding business verification data for SMEs in Europe 

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a crucial part of European economies. To aid their growth, many companies try to make applications for services like loans, credit cards, and insurance faster and easier. However, onboarding small businesses poses some level of risk to companies. Anti-money laundering (AML) and financial crimes have been on the rise since the start of COVID-19, and almost one in five new businesses within the EU fail during their first year.  

Ensuring the legitimacy of businesses, their partners, and their financial standing is crucial for risk management and regulatory compliance. However, the European Union faces challenges in accessing the necessary data for Know Your Business verification, leading to increased risks, expenses, and missed financial opportunities. 

In this article, we speak with Jesus Santiago, the Sales Director for Markaaz in Europe, to delve into the intricacies of verifying small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe and the importance of having a current and dependable data provider for validating information. 

Business verification in Europe explained

Let’s start with a quick explanation of how business verification in Europe works when it comes to Know Your Business (KYB).  

Enterprises must gather and verify information about SMEs, including legal name, registration numbers, date and place of incorporation, ownership structure, directors, and beneficial owners.  

The KYB process also requires: 

  • Business data validation: Verifying the accuracy of the data. 
  • Document verification and authentication: Matching certified copies or documents with registry data. 
  • Financial due diligence and assessment: Assessing the financial health, transaction behavior, and risk profile of the business. 
  • Beneficial ownership identification: Identifying who ultimately owns or controls the business. 
  • Risk assessment and mitigation: Evaluating risks of money laundering, fraud, and sanctions violations. 

KYB processes must also address financial industry concerns and comply with European compliance and money laundering rules: 

Businesses change over time, so you also need to implement risk management controls and conduct ongoing monitoring to detect changes in ownership, activity, or financial health.  

Another challenge for companies in complying with AML regulations is that there are regular updates. For example, new guidance and oversight were addressed in 2023. Staying up-to-date and compliant with these lists and ongoing rules can be a challenge.  

A siloed data ecosystem 

Ensuring Know Your Business (KYB) compliance demands meticulous cross-referencing of SME-collected data with registrars, credible sources, and watchlists. However, unique challenges emerge in consolidating data sources and providing both the firmographic and financial data companies need for KYB verification. 

“EU countries have made a concerted effort to create similar SME registration processes, but many still follow their own regulations,” notes Jesus Santiago, Head of Sales, Europe at Markaaz. “This creates data gaps in specific countries, making it difficult to set up an efficient and scalable method for validating business data.” 

Around 50% of European nations, mainly in Eastern Europe, face limited data coverage. In Western Europe, SMEs need to register their businesses, so firmographic information is relatively accessible, but companies must still invest in consolidating this data.  

“Free registrars exist, but they pose challenges. Providers must navigate diverse data sources, manage translations, and more,” explains Santiago. “Doing this across countries is daunting. You would have to become a data expert for each nation, which isn’t practical.” 

In addition, financial data such as business failure risk scores, business credit risk scores, and bankruptcy are important to assess risk, but registrars do not collect this information. Also, sole traders and partnerships, which are legal non-registered businesses, are not included. These tend to be bigger companies, but they represent a large percentage of businesses in Spain, Germany, Ireland, and the UK in particular. The only data available tends to be from marketing databases, which are unregulated. For enterprises looking to streamline data sources and reduce costs, finding a supplier for sole trader, partnership, and SME data poses a problem. 

Markaaz takes the lead in overcoming these obstacles. “We handle it all for clients. We excel in SME data but offer the same robust coverage for businesses of all sizes,” Santiago states. Using international sources and our matching algorithms, we aggregate and validate data for comprehensive EU coverage. Markaaz enables businesses to confidently navigate EU data complexities with ease.” 

Better business data from one source 

Rather than dealing with multiple registries, databases, and country-specific conditions, Markaaz allows you to query one data source for all European and most global countries. The Markaaz Directory holds over 300 million records with the most up-to-date firmographic, business health (including business credit and financial risk scores), and AML compliance data. Proprietary matching technology chooses the best data from diverse global sources to create the most precise, accurate, and comprehensive business profile in the industry.  

With Markaaz, you can also leverage an automated application programming interfaces (APIs) to get instant data validation integrated into your workflow. 

“Automating the verification and approval process and integrating it into your onboarding processes is essential to avoid errors, lower cost, and reduce delays,” says Santiago.  “With manual verification, you’d need to search for data in various public and private databases and continuously request information from the company. Hunting down accurate information is labor-intensive and time-consuming. Markaaz helps you eliminate that costly step.” 

Bringing accurate SME data to your business 

Effective SME verification is only as good as the underlying data that is available, its completeness and accuracy, and accessibility. 

Markaaz can help. With plug-and-play business verification, decisioning, and monitoring tools, you can simplify the KYB process for your SME customers, saving you time and money. With the most accurate and comprehensive SME data in the industry, Markaaz provides the EU KYB and AML solutions you need. 

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Enterprise Blog

Solving the SMB data problem: Why verifying SMBs is an ongoing KYB challenge

Navigating the complexities of Know Your Business (KYB) regulatory requirements is no small feat, especially for enterprise compliance officers onboarding SMBs. While the overarching aim of KYB is to ensure alignment with legal and anti-money laundering (AML) standards and the process involves many important steps, it’s the verification step that often proves the most challenging. 

Inconsistencies and unverifiable information not only cause bottlenecks but can also translate into missed opportunities and potential risks. As we delve deeper into the intricacies of SMB verification, we’ll examine the underlying challenges and explore how modern solutions, such as those offered by Markaaz, are changing the game. 

The challenges of SMB verification

The challenges of SMB verification

In addition to meeting KYB requirements, the business verification process impacts an enterprise’s bottom line. Many find that they are unable to verify 20-40% of potential small business customers using their current data sources.   

A small business owner misses out on vital opportunities to access capital and other services when they can’t be verified. At the same time, enterprises take a hit to their bottom line, missing revenue opportunities by mistakenly rejecting legitimate businesses. There are two primary reasons why this happens: inconsistency and bad data. 

Data inconsistencies

Data inconsistencies

A significant hurdle in the KYB landscape is the inconsistency of data. With multiple sources, from official registrations to online directories, variations in a company’s details are almost inevitable. It’s common for SMBs to make simple mistakes that can cause the company’s information to vary across different platforms and sources, creating confusion and errors. 

Consider the hypothetical case of Emily, a passionate baker, who starts her venture in Atlanta. She registers her business—Emily’s Exquisite Pastries—with the Georgia Secretary of State and is meticulous about her details. However, when she opens a branch in Savannah and lists her bakery in an online directory, a minor discrepancy—a typo in her street name—creates two different addresses for the same enterprise. 

The challenge is further exacerbated because Emily’s Exquisite Pastries is the operating name, but Emily legally registered it under Emily’s Pastry Shop. Now, enterprises attempting to onboard Emily’s Exquisite Pastries face the daunting task of piecing together data that appears incongruent at first glance. 

Bad data

Bad small business data example

In addition to inconsistency, there’s also the challenge of bad data, minor errors that can escalate into major roadblocks. Simple misspellings or typographical errors can drastically affect the verification process. Using approximate string-matching techniques can help, but it isn’t flawless. To continue with our bakery example, if Emily had mistakenly registered her business as “Emely’s Exquisite Pastries” in one source, a direct match would fail, leaving enterprises skeptical about the authenticity of her business.  

Consistency, in this context, transcends simple data accuracy. If an enterprise is searching for a particular version of a company’s name or address that doesn’t match the SMB’s input, the business verification process can grind to a halt.  

Data matching and verification provider limitations

Enterprises using traditional business information solutions often hit roadblocks because of the provider’s data limitations. All too often, matches are being made against a small subset of name and address variations, using the provider’s single proprietary database. Older technology and coding also inhibit the process.This combination of factors often results in an inability to create high-quality matches 15-20% of the time.  

Newer business identity companies offer more extensive results but may not provide high-confidence matches. The web-scraping technology used by many of these companies is also not legal in all countries, limiting the geographic scope of the search. Manual intervention is often required to identify the correct company, creating both speed and scale issues. 

While the data mining and verification options for KYB compliance officers have previously been limited, Markaaz offers a better solution. 

The Markaaz difference

The Markaaz small business data difference

Rather than just being another player in the arena, Markaaz offers a reimagined approach that addresses traditional pain points and sets new industry standards. The depth and breadth of data sources and advanced matching and verification techniques used by Markaaz set the process—and the results—far apart from the competition. 

Comprehensive data sources

Markaaz harnesses the power of a vast array of data, integrating global premium sources, freely available public information, and data contributed directly by SMBs. This rich tapestry of information ensures that the data foundation is robust, diverse, and comprehensive, making the verification process more accurate and efficient. 

The Markaaz Golden Record

The Markaaz Golden Record represents the most accurate and holistic profile of a business. Instead of sifting through fragmented or inconsistent information from various sources, Markaaz aggregates the best data attributes and merges them into one cohesive business profile. This streamlines the verification process, minimizes errors, and ensures that enterprises have a dependable point of reference when making critical decisions. 

Advanced matching techniques

With its state-of-the-art techniques, Markaaz goes beyond direct matches to account for the variations often seen in business data. The Markaaz proprietary platform uses 100% cloud-based technology, ensuring scalability and speed and offering efficient and effective results, even with massive datasets. 

Markaaz’s matching algorithm is crafted by data experts and incorporates AI and machine learning (ML) so the algorithm constantly improves with each verification test, enhancing its ability to select the best and most accurate data elements to identify and validate even more small businesses. 

Match by various attributes

The Markaaz matching algorithm understands that businesses can be identified by a range of attributes beyond names and addresses. From URLs to specific product offerings, utilizing a diverse set of identifiers ensures that even if one data point doesn’t align, others can be used to verify and validate the business. 

Scoring and selection

Markaaz doesn’t merely offer matches; it scores them. Based on various criteria, each potential match is given a score, indicating its likelihood of accuracy. This scoring system, coupled with customization for specific use cases, allows enterprises to confidently select the best match. 

Embrace the future of SMB verification

Gone are the days of tedious, error-prone verification processes. With Markaaz, enterprises have a powerful tool that not only simplifies KYB compliance but also ensures unmatched accuracy. 

With comprehensive data sources, the creation of the Golden Record, and state-of-the-art matching techniques & strategies, Markaaz truly sets a new standard for SMB verification. The system delivers match rates of over 90%, giving enterprises access to more successful partnerships, better compliance, and minimized risks. 

Don’t get left behind in a rapidly evolving business environment. Embrace the modern approach to SMB verification. Connect with our team and experience the difference today. 

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Enterprise Blog

6 sanctions screening best practices for your financial institution

In today’s global landscape, financial institutions operate on a vast scale. They serve customers from diverse backgrounds and deal with international transactions daily. While this unlocks tremendous opportunities, it also exposes these institutions to significant financial risks and compliance violations. To reduce risks and follow global rules, banks need to use strict screening methods and advanced screening tools.  

The following are some best practices and solutions that are crucial for safeguarding your financial institution.  

Understanding sanctions screening

Sanctions screening identifies individuals, entities, or countries that have economic restrictions imposed on them by governments, international organizations, or regulatory bodies. These sanctions typically come about in response to things like terrorism, money laundering, or other illegal financial activities. Complying with sanctions screening rules isn’t just a legal requirement – it’s a vital part of managing risks and safeguarding reputations. 

Sanctions screening best practices

1. Know Your Business (KYB)

Effective sanctions screening starts with robust KYB verification procedures. Know who your business partners and clients are, understand their financial activities, and regularly update their profiles. This knowledge forms the foundation for effective sanctions screening.  

2. Automated screening

Manual screening processes are prone to errors and can be inefficient. Implement automated screening solutions that can scan your entire business partner and client database and transaction history in real time. Automation ensures that nothing slips through the cracks.  

3. Risk-based approach

Not all business partners and clients pose the same level of risk. Implement a risk-based approach to sanctions screening, where high-risk partners and clients undergo more thorough scrutiny. This allows you to allocate resources more efficiently and focus on the areas that matter most.  

4. Continuous monitoring

Sanctions lists are dynamic and can change frequently. Implement continuous monitoring to stay updated with the latest sanctions and watchlists. This ensures that your institution is always in compliance.  

5. Staff training

Your employees play a crucial role in sanctions screening. Provide them with regular training and make them aware of the importance of compliance. Encourage a culture of compliance throughout your organization.  

6. Documentation and reporting

Maintain comprehensive records of your sanctions screening processes. Having proper documentation in the case of an audit can demonstrate your commitment to compliance. Additionally, ensure that you have a robust reporting system in place for suspicious activities.  

Types of sanctions screening

When implementing sanctions screening practices, it’s important to consider the various types of sanctions screening:  

1. Entity screening

Entity screening involves checking the names of companies, organizations, or legal entities against sanctions lists. Government agencies like OFAC or the UN Security Council maintain these lists.  

2. Transaction screening

Transaction screening involves monitoring financial transactions in real time to identify suspicious activities. It includes screening for unusual transaction patterns, large cash transactions, or transactions involving high-risk countries.  

3. Ownership screening

Ownership screening involves verifying the beneficial ownership of entities with which you conduct business. This reveals hidden ownership structures that individuals may use for illicit purposes.  

4. Country screening

Country screening involves assessing the risk associated with conducting business in specific countries. It considers factors like political stability, economic conditions, and regulatory environments. 

5. Ownership screening

Beyond checking the names of entities and individuals, this screening delves into the ownership and control structures of businesses. It ensures that a sanctioned individual or entity does not have an indirect interest or influence in a non-sanctioned entity.  

6. Watchlist screening

Watchlists include names and information about individuals, groups, vehicles, planes, and other entities. These entities may pose a risk because of activities such as rule-breaking, criminal behavior, cheating, terrorism, or suspicious behavior. This includes terrorist watchlists, Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), and adverse media lists.   

Sanctions screening software and solutions

Invest in trustworthy software to check if your business partners and clients are on any sanctions lists. These tools can help reduce false positives and improve screening accuracy.  

Different types of sanctions screening solutions will offer:  

List-checking software:

These are basic software tools that allow organizations to check names and entities against government-issued sanctions lists and watchlists. Typically, you can include standalone list-checking software or plugins that integrate into existing systems. Typically, people use them for entity and individual screening to ensure compliance with specific sanctions regulations.  

Automated screening systems:

Automated screening systems go beyond simple list-checking and offer more advanced features. They can handle real-time screening of transactions, customers, and counterparties. These systems often include configurable risk scoring, alert generation, and reporting capabilities. Financial institutions and large corporations commonly use automated systems.  

Compliance management platforms:

Comprehensive compliance management platforms provide a wide range of features beyond sanctions screening. They encompass anti-money laundering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC), and other regulatory compliance functions.  

These platforms may include risk assessment, customer due diligence, case management, and audit trail capabilities. Organizations with complex compliance needs and regulatory requirements often use them.  

Risk-based screening systems:

Risk-based screening systems assess the level of risk associated with specific entities or transactions. They consider factors such as geographic risk, transaction value, and business relationship. These systems help organizations prioritize screening efforts and allocate resources effectively.  

Real-time transaction monitoring:

Some solutions focus specifically on monitoring transactions in real-time to detect potential sanctions violations. They can automatically flag suspicious or high-risk transactions for further investigation. These solutions are critical for financial institutions to prevent money laundering and fraud.  

API Integrations:

Many sanctions screening solutions offer APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow organizations to integrate the screening process into their existing systems. API integrations enable seamless data sharing between compliance systems, customer databases, and other business applications.  

Cloud-based solutions

Cloud-based sanctions screening solutions offer the advantage of scalability, flexibility, and remote access. Organizations can access and update sanctions lists and conduct screenings from anywhere with an internet connection. 

Open-source tools:

Some organizations choose to use open-source sanctions screening tools and adapt them to their specific needs. Open-source solutions can be cost-effective but require technical expertise to implement and maintain.  

Geospatial screening solutions:

Geospatial screening tools help organizations assess the geographic risk associated with transactions, assets, or counterparties. They use location data to identify potential exposure to sanctioned regions or territories.  

Machine learning and AI-based solutions:

Advanced solutions leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve accuracy and reduce false positives. These systems can analyze vast amounts of data and adapt to evolving sanctions lists and patterns of illicit activity.  

Blockchain-based solutions:

Some emerging solutions use blockchain technology to create immutable records of transactions and entities, enhancing transparency and traceability for sanctions compliance.  

Bring better sanctions screening to your company

Sanctions screening is a must for financial institutions to safeguard their reputation and follow global rules. By implementing these best practices and leveraging advanced sanctions screening solutions, your company can effectively mitigate risks, avoid costly penalties, and contribute to a safer global financial ecosystem. Compliance is not just a box to tick; it’s an ongoing commitment to ethical and responsible financial operations.  

Contact us today to learn more about our business and compliance monitoring solutions

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Enterprise Blog

How Markaaz’s unique approach to verification helped a Fortune 500 bank increase its approval rates

A leading Fortune 500 bank used Markaaz’s superior small and medium-sized business (SMB) data to achieve 30% verification rates for its SMB business credit card applicants.

Highlights

  • A leading Fortune 500 bank partnered with Markaaz for assistance with increasing verification rates for small and medium-sized business (SMB) credit card applicants.
  • Markaaz’s solution achieved a 30% verification rate for businesses previously unidentified by the bank’s data providers.
  • Markaaz achieved a remarkable 21% officer match rate, enabling the bank to confirm the authenticity of applicant names as legitimate business officers. This data empowered the bank to meet more stringent verification criteria and approve only those businesses for which officer validation was possible. This rate surpassed the bank’s initial goal of 5% by 4x.

Background

A leading Fortune 500 bank was seeking a better solution to verify more SMB credit card candidates from its applicant pool. It receives a large number of applications each year and is unable to successfully verify approximately 20% using its current data provider, denying worthy candidates of necessary financial services and leaving significant revenue on the table.

The bank partnered with Markaaz on a data study to evaluate Markaaz’s business verification and person-to-business matching solutions. The goal was to see how many previously unidentified and rejected small businesses Markaaz could successfully verify compared to its current provider.

The challenges

1. Insufficient small business verification data

The bank found that its existing KYB verification service did not correctly find, match, and verify 20% of its SMB applicants. This limited the bank’s ability to approve and onboard qualified customers.

2. Rejecting qualified small businesses

Their verification data gaps led them to reject a large percentage of qualified candidates. This hurts small businesses that need access to capital to maintain their business’s health.

3. Missed revenue opportunities

In addition to denying small businesses essential services, the bank was leaving substantial revenue on the table. Each new small business customer represents $5,000 to $25,000 in lifetime value for the bank depending on their size. Their goal of a 5% match rate could potentially translate to millions of dollars in additional revenue.

The solution

Understanding that Markaaz created a new standard of SMB data that enables companies to better verify and monitor small business applicants and customers, the bank hoped the partnership presented a solution.

To test Markaaz’s verification solution, the bank submitted a batch of SMB business applicants that it rejected because of verification issues.

1. The Markaaz Directory

With superior data quality and more than 300 million listed businesses, the Markaaz Directory is the backbone of the verification process. The vast number of listings provides an extensive view of global SMBs, and higher-quality data leads to a higher number of verified matches.

2. Data analytics and proprietary matching

Using machine learning, proprietary matching, and advanced analytics, Markaaz’s algorithms meticulously sort through numerous global data sources, selecting the most accurate data elements and combining them to create a golden record.  This ensures Markaaz has the best, most accurate business record available.

3. Specialized SMB verification

Markaaz was specifically designed to cater to small businesses. The algorithms match against common SMB data issues, such as manual data errors, outdated records, and missing information to provide a thorough verification result.

4. Daily data refresh

Using machine learning, proprietary matching, and advanced analytics, Markaaz’s algorithms meticulously sort through numerous global data sources, selecting the most accurate data elements and combining them to create a golden record.  This ensures Markaaz has the best, most accurate business record available. 

5. Person-to-business (P2B) matching

Markaaz’s name matching capabilities aggregate multiple different versions of a business officer name, accounting for potential data entry errors and returning a more accurate result. This improves a company’s ability to cross-reference applicants with authorized business officers, reducing risk and potentially increasing approval rates.  

Improve your verification rates with Markaaz

The partnership between this Fortune 500 bank and Markaaz led to clear, significant improvements in business verification rates. Not only can Markaaz help lenders create an efficient approval process, but the improvements can lead to substantial revenue gains.

To learn more about how our business verification services can work for you, connect with us today.

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Enterprise Blog

How a leading alternative lending provider improved business verification rates by 84% 

Markaaz partnered with a leading alternative small business lender to improve match rates on previously unverified business applicants.

Highlights

  • Achieved an 84% verification rate on previously declined small business applicants.
  • Delivered a rapid verification time of just 2 seconds per business.
  • Harnessed the power of a pre-validated database of over 300 million small business records.

Background

This case study presents the results of a data test performed on a list of approximately 1,500 applications received by a prominent alternative lending provider catering to small businesses.   

The primary goal was to assess our business verification solutions, testing our match rate and officer validation capabilities. We also wanted to showcase how we could optimize the precision of their business verification procedures, streamline their application processing, and refine their overall application evaluation process. 

Their goals included increasing the approval rates for their small business card applications, reducing errors (false positives and negatives), and lowering customer attrition. The lender receives about 15,000 applications a month, so increasing verification rates on the 10% of monthly unvalidated business applicants represents a substantial financial opportunity.

Verification tests were segmented into two categories based on the results of the previous verification process: 

  • Declined: These businesses failed to pass the verification process. Reasons include missing information, unverifiable names or addresses, or association with known fraudulent entities.
  • Incomplete: Some business records lack the necessary information required for verification and, in such cases, would be categorized as incomplete. 

Challenges

Business records are prone to error and inconsistencies, making it difficult to verify business identities against validating data sources and confirm whether an entity is suitable for funding. 

The following are some of the challenges that the lender experienced as a result of their current verification processes: 

  • A substantial amount (10-20%) of unvalidated cases required manual approval, straining resources and throttling scalability. 
  • Verifying large numbers of small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with high confidence was particularly difficult, further reducing efficiency. 
  • The lender risked losing customers due to delays caused by slow, manual verification procedures. 

Solutions

Increase verification rates by using a solution that quickly validates more small businesses and their officers.   

By harnessing the power of the Markaaz Directory, the lender increased match rates and decreased the need for manual approvals.

The real power of our verification solutions comes from our unique small business database, which houses over 300 million small business records from over 200 countries. We achieve a high degree of accuracy through proprietary data-matching algorithms and advanced analytics that resolve systemic data inconsistency challenges.

Optimize your business verification processes today

The results of this data test are clear: Markaaz’s verification solution can provide significant benefits to companies that struggle to efficiently onboard customers. Our business verification solutions are ideal for organizations seeking to optimize their onboarding and small business funding processes. To learn more about how our solutions can help you maximize business verification, connect with our team today.

 

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Enterprise Blog

KYC and KYB: Bridging the business data gap for better verification 

In today’s customer onboarding landscape, preventing fraud, meeting regulatory requirements, and managing risk have become paramount. An estimated $800 billion-$2 trillion is laundered each year. That’s equivalent to about 2-5% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). To avoid costly onboarding mistakes, financial institutions must often verify not only individual customer identities but also small business and corporate entities.  

Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) are essential components of a robust compliance and risk mitigation process when onboarding business customers. In this article, we will talk about the similarities, differences, and how incorporating better business data verification in your KYB process strengthens compliance, lowers risk, and captures revenue.

KYC vs. KYB: Similarities, differences, and interdependence 

While KYC and KYB serve distinct purposes, they have important similarities and differences. And for certain businesses, they have become intrinsically linked for comprehensive compliance frameworks. 

Similarities

KYB and KYC are critical components of regulatory compliance and risk management, particularly in the financial sector. Their main objective is to follow anti-money laundering (AML) regulations to make financial transactions safer and prevent money-laundering activities. Failing to follow AML regulations in the European Union (EU) can result in fines of up to 10% of their global turnover

Similarities include: 

  • Goals: KYC and KYB both verify identities and assess potential risks, including money laundering, fraud, corruption, and terrorist financing. 
  • Due diligence: Both involve collecting documents, running background checks, and matching with registries, watch lists, and various validating databases. 
  • Compliance: Compliance regulations govern both KYC and KYB. 
  • Industries: They’re both particularly relevant for financial institutions offering personal or business financial services, such as credit cards or loans. They’re also relevant for insurance, real estate, and ecommerce marketplaces. 

Differences

While KYC focuses on verifying individual customer identities through information like names, addresses, and government IDs, KYB assesses the credibility and risk profile of business customers, delving into business structure, ownership, financial data, and regulatory compliance. 

Differences include: 

  • Type of customer: KYC covers individuals, while KYB focuses on SMBs and business entities. Any company offering B2B services will find itself using KYB regulations. 
  • Information: KYC involves gathering and verifying customer identity information, such as name, address, date of birth, and government-issued identification documents. KYB examines a business’s legal structure, ownership details, financial information, industry classification, and regulatory compliance.  
  • Risks: KYC mitigates risks like fraud and money laundering by individuals. KYB uncovers business-associated risks, including less-than-obvious ultimate business ownership and control. It can be several degrees more complex than KYC as it seeks to understand not just the business but also the entities a company conducts transactions with, including cross-border connections. 
  • Industries: KYB can apply to financial institutions, gambling service providers, payment service providers, law firms, and more. The exact type of entity that must conduct know-your-business checks depends on the anti-money laundering regulations of the jurisdictions they operate in. 

Interdependencies

Relying solely on KYC can leave gaps for your business customers. To achieve a comprehensive compliance framework, many companies seek the combined power of both KYC and KYB, enabling accurate risk assessment, fraud prevention, and regulatory compliance. However, the effectiveness of these solutions heavily depends on the quality and reach of the data sources driving KYC and KYB services. 

For robust KYB verification, scrutinizing the business data sources powering your processes is paramount. Without access to accurate and comprehensive data on a broad range of business records, your ability to identify legitimate business customers may suffer, resulting in significant gaps that could cost you customers and potential revenue. Additionally, many KYC and KYB services are challenged to verify business ownership and validate business officers, as this is a common gap in data sources that drive the verification process. 

Better KYB solutions start with better data 

To comply with leading AML regulations, companies must ensure their KYB processes are leveraging highly reliable data that covers firmographic, business health, and compliance data. Critical details to check and report include business addresses, licenses, registrations, and identification documents of ultimate business owners. Additionally, businesses and individuals should undergo scrutiny against AML, sanctions, and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) lists. 

Accurate data is crucial for corporations to avoid approving illegitimate businesses or mistakenly turning away legitimate customers. Static databases with aggregated entity information may not be sufficient for robust entity verification, and self-reported data from companies should only be used in conjunction with enhanced due diligence (EDD) procedures and risk analysis. 

Finding a reliable KYB partner with extensive and constantly updated data records is critical to validate as many potential customers as possible. Insufficient or outdated data can lead to falsely rejecting applicants, causing businesses to lose out on valuable revenue. At Markaaz, we’ve observed that anywhere from 25-85% of rejected business customers were improperly turned away due to inaccurate data. 

Better business data can validate more customers and lower risk  

A more robust KYB data solution can solve a number of verification challenges, including: 

  • Verifying hard-to-validate business customers: This is especially important for small business customers, which tend to be hard to find and verify against validating data sources, as they tend to be new in business and have a shorter financial history. Often, errors in business data sources are due to simple errors. You need a business data provider that has the breadth of data and constantly updated records to ensure that new businesses, or those whose data dynamically change, do not incorrectly pass your verification checks or are falsely rejected.  
  • Automating identity verification: Instead of relying on manual checks, integrated, automated solutions verify the identity of businesses in real time against validating data sources and provide complete and accurate views of ownership, structure, locations, and more.  
  • Customized approval parameters: Set your onboarding decisioning parameters to your business’s custom requirements. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, flexible providers allow you to apply a set of configurable data rules to assess the unique risk factors of each business relationship. This way, you can verify and approve the businesses that you want to work with. 
  • Better regulatory compliance: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), EU, the UK, and other jurisdictions are enacting stricter KYB requirements. Advanced solutions ensure all regulatory bases are covered and that your business stays updated as regulations evolve. Updated data ensures that dynamic changes on AML, sanctions lists, and politically exposed persons (PEPs) are not missed due to out-of-date records.  
  • Ongoing monitoring: Simply verifying a business at onboarding is not enough. Continuous monitoring even after onboarding enables the early detection of changes that may impact risk profiles. This includes screening against watchlists, identifying new affiliations, and flagging adverse media reports.

To be fully effective, business verification data must be integrated into workflows beyond just the compliance team. Most customers need customized services/integrations with different providers to get the best results. 

Bringing better business data to your company’s KYB workflows 

Markaaz offers unparalleled business data, especially for hard-to-verify small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), empowering enterprises to effectively manage risk and meet business verification requirements. With our extensive Markaaz Directory, comprising over 300 million global small business records, onboarding small business customers and making well-informed risk decisions on business customers has never been easier. 

Our comprehensive small business data includes firmographics, business health, credit information, and essential compliance data, all sourced from multiple sources to ensure a thorough analysis of your potential business customers. Leveraging our proprietary matching algorithms and flexible integration technology, we achieve better data accuracy and faster verification to power more confident business customer onboarding. 

Explore our business verification services and collaborate with our team to test a sample of your customer portfolio. See how we confidently verify more businesses, especially hard-to-validate small businesses. 

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Enterprise Blog

Why business verification APIs are essential for your onboarding

Business verification is a crucial step in an enterprise’s onboarding process, but it can also be challenging. Inaccurate results can lead to approving bad actors or rejecting legitimate business customers. While the industry has made progress in data capabilities and technology solutions, enterprises still struggle to verify businesses accurately and efficiently. 

One of the reasons for this is that many enterprises still rely on manual verification. Manual verification is time-consuming, expensive, and demanding on resources, and often produces false and inaccurate results. This increases the risk of fraudulent activities and raises compliance concerns for businesses. 

Business verification APIs offer a solution to these challenges by automating the verification process and eliminating the need for manual efforts. These APIs source data directly from specific sources, allowing for real-time business identity verification. This not only improves the accuracy of client verification but also streamlines the onboarding process, enabling faster verification of potential clients. In this article, we will explore three benefits of business verification APIs and explain how you can use these tools to transform your onboarding process. 

Automation can help catch important data signals that prevent illegitimate business approvals 

Not all potential clients can be trusted. Some try to exploit verification processes by providing false information or withholding crucial details needed for a proper risk assessment. For US banks, new account creation accounted for 36% of fraud losses in 2022.  

Important data such as business health information (credit risk score, bankruptcy data, failure risk ratings) and firmographic data (legal business name, director information, location, legal status, web address) may be omitted or incorrect. These data elements, however, are essential for making informed decisions when onboarding potential business customers. 

Manual verification can leave onboarding or compliance teams struggling to validate business customer information. It becomes time-consuming, costly, and sometimes impossible to cross-reference client information with the data sources needed to validate user identities, detect discrepancies, and identify potential risks.  As many as 68% of organizations say they fail to leverage the majority of data available to them. 

Business verification APIs enable enterprises to securely and accurately verify the legitimacy of potential clients. These APIs analyze patterns and historical data to identify fraudulent businesses or suspicious activities. By flagging potential risks, these automated solutions help prevent fraudulent transactions and protect businesses from financial losses. 

Businesses in all sectors can benefit from business verification APIs to minimize the risk of illegitimate clients and fraudulent activities, especially those involved in monetary transactions and personal accounts. Common use cases include: 

  • Insurance providers: Business verification APIs help insurance providers authenticate customers for insurance policies by validating important business information such as business status, registration details, financial stability, ownership details, and risk indicators. 
  • Financing and credit: Banks and financial institutions can use business verification APIs to increase security and minimize risk when small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) apply for loans or credit. These APIs gather data on credit history, financial statements, cash flow, market and industry analysis, debt obligations, collateral, and more. 
  • E-commerce platforms: Online stores and marketplaces can utilize verification APIs to authenticate third-party sellers, reducing the risk of accommodating fraudulent businesses on their platforms. 

Markaaz’s Business Verification API Suite leverages the Markaaz Directory, which contains over 300 million global business records. This API suite searches the directory to gather accurate business health data and firmographic information based on a customized selection of over 200 data points. It also uses advanced algorithms to examine name variations and potential inaccuracies in databases and forms, resulting in a more precise assessment of customer legitimacy within seconds. By flagging any issues in real time, it minimizes the risk of illegitimate clients moving through the onboarding process. 

APIs can help ensure compliance and mitigate risk with comprehensive AML database validation 

Businesses, particularly those in the financial sector, must adhere to regulations and industry standards when onboarding clients. Compliance requirements such as Know Your Business (KYB) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) are critical. Failure to comply can lead to intervention from regulatory bodies such as the SEC or FTC, as entering into contracts with non-AML-compliant SMBs may unknowingly facilitate money laundering or criminal financing. This can result in reputational damage, loss of trust, severe penalties, and legal consequences. In 2022, fines for non-compliance with financial services regulations totaled $4.17 billion and enforcement actions for AML-related compliance breaches soared globally by 52%. 

Business verification APIs play a crucial role in confirming a business’s involvement in money laundering or terrorist financing activities by validating against AML databases. These APIs compare business details with watchlists and sanction lists to identify high-risk entities, enabling financial institutions and other organizations to comply with regulatory requirements and prevent fraudulent transactions. The significance of the frequency and timeliness of compliance data also plays a critical role. Outdated or incomplete information can create gaps, hindering the identification of high-risk entities and exposing vulnerabilities to potentially fraudulent activities. 

Markaaz’s Business Verification API Suite helps businesses stay ahead of regulatory requirements by enabling real-time, accurate data verification to ensure the legitimacy of new SMB clients and minimize the risk of fraud. The Markaaz Directory allows enterprises to identify high-risk clients before establishing a relationship, screening applicants against all possible sanction lists, watchlists, Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), and adverse media to reduce the risk of association with fraudulent or illicit activities. 

APIs can scale business verification for large portfolios  

As enterprises grow, they need the ability to onboard clients quickly and expand their SMB ecosystem. Manual verification and approval processes make it challenging to keep up with the increasing demand, hindering business growth. 

Business verification APIs offer scalability and flexibility to seamlessly handle a growing number of clients and data integration requirements. Markaaz’s Verification API Suite applies comprehensive, tailored metrics to provide instant verification results and approval decisioning on whether new business customers should be approved, rejected, or require further due diligence. These metrics are based on preconfigured rules set by your organization, providing personalized recommendations in real-time. Businesses can easily see which metrics were assessed for each client and focus on those that require additional verification. This allows the API to onboard clients rapidly without compromising accuracy, regardless of the increased demand. 

Scalability is especially important for businesses experiencing rapid growth or onboarding thousands of new customers daily. Typical use cases include: 

  • Digital marketplaces: E-commerce platforms and online marketplaces, known for their rapid growth, can efficiently onboard businesses in large numbers by validating the legitimacy and compliance of high-volume customer lists. 
  • FinTechs: Business verification APIs help fintech companies manage a growing number of clients while quickly and efficiently verifying critical business information, including registration details, financial stability, and compliance information. 
  • Lenders: Lenders can use business verification APIs to automate the verification of business information, including financial statements, credit history, and compliance checks. This enables them to make informed lending decisions while processing a large volume of loan applications. 

Bring fast, accurate verification to your customer onboarding  

In conclusion, business verification APIs play a vital role in streamlining the onboarding process and ensuring the accuracy and legitimacy of potential clients. However, it’s important to recognize that the quality of the data that these APIs rely on is equally crucial. The effectiveness of business verification hinges on accessing reliable and comprehensive information. 

At Markaaz, we understand the significance of high-quality data. That’s why our Business Verification API Suite leverages the Markaaz Directory, which consists of an impressive collection of over 300 million global business records. What sets our data apart is its unparalleled accuracy in the industry. We have painstakingly aggregated data from multiple authoritative sources and employed a proprietary data matching algorithm, resulting in the most precise and reliable records available. 

By combining the exceptional quality of our data with our automated and integrated APIs, we provide a powerful solution that brings together speed and accuracy—the two essential components of effective business verification. With Markaaz, you can accelerate and improve your business verification results while ensuring the utmost accuracy and reliability. 

Experience the transformative impact of Markaaz’s Business Verification APIs and our unrivaled data quality. Contact a member of our team today to learn how we can enhance and expedite your customer onboarding process.

Categories
Enterprise Blog

Five reasons why your business verification process is falling short 

In today’s challenging data environment, efficiently verifying the legitimacy and compliance of new business clients is often a difficult, and costly, part of the onboarding process.  Even if you already have a business verification solution in place, it doesn’t mean it’s performing as it should. 

Many solutions return inaccurate results that generate false positives and negatives, costing businesses millions in missed revenue opportunities, fraudulent transactions, and hefty compliance fines. Other solutions can only verify portions of new customer lists, which often results in the rejection of legitimate businesses. Below, we delve into five reasons why your business verification solutions are slowing your business down.  

1. A lack of automated, integrated solutions 

Business customers expect a seamless and frictionless identity verification process, so they’re understandably frustrated when it takes days or even weeks to verify and approve their business applications. The current prolonged delay is often the result of manual verification processes, which require requesting documents from commercial registers, checking regulatory and compliance lists, and verifying business officer identities and Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs). All this is time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone. Relying on manual verification often results in: 

  • False rejections or compliance flags from manual data entry 
  • Customer abandonment from lengthy approvals 
  • Deep backlogs on verification requests 
  • Higher costs in staffing, wages, and training 

An automated, integrated business identity solution conducts verifications in real time. These application programming interfaces (APIs) seamlessly integrate into your existing workflows, making them easy for developers to set up in your ecosystem. They provide a high-security environment that allows for the smooth transfer of data between systems, which enables teams to validate business and ownership identity against data sources. As a result, this significantly reduces the need for manual data entry in multiple applications, which minimizes the risk of subsequent errors and shortens approval turnaround. 

2. Using only web-crawled data 

Business verification relies on accurate business data, but according to Harvard Business Review research, only 3% of business data meets basic quality standards.   

For data companies looking to provide accurate business information, the process of aggregating data from multiple sources into one database is challenging, and it still results in inaccurate records. Since data inconsistencies and variations are collected and stored in so many places, creating one accurate business record is a considerable feat. It takes time, deep expertise, and dedicated technology investments even to try and tackle this industry-plaguing problem. 

To get around this, many of today’s verification services take a different approach — they crawl the web to collect publicly available business data for specific business customers. However, these verification services create business records on an ad-hoc basis from public information, resulting in extended delays, inaccurate matches, or incomplete verification results.  

3. Overly focused on data sources 

To improve the accuracy of data, some companies have assembled robust databases. Usually, this process is done by pre-aggregating data from multiple sources. This has the benefit of having business information on hand, ready to go for instant data recall, which can speed up verification.  

Many companies use similar data sources like Secretary of State databases, registrars, third-party sources, and public information. However, the key to accurate information is not in the source data, but in the ability to handle the inconsistencies and errors that challenge most data companies and prevent them from creating a single accurate business record. If you can’t resolve inconsistencies in data, you’ll have trouble getting good match rates and verifying businesses.  

Markaaz resolves this by using a proprietary matching algorithm designed by some of the field’s leading data experts. This unique algorithm matches data elements across multiple sources, assessing all available variations. It then selects the best information across these sources to create a uniquely accurate business record. The result is a database of over 300 million superior business records covering business health and solvency, firmographics, and compliance data. With Markaaz’s Business Verification API Suite, enterprises can directly tap into the Markaaz Directory for instant verification results. This vastly improves the accuracy of verifications, reducing false negatives and scaling approval volumes of legitimate businesses.  

4. Access to accurate small business information 

For enterprises looking to serve small businesses, finding accurate information is extremely difficult. A single small business might have several different records in a business intelligence database because of data variations that occur from simple errors, like spelling mistakes. Small business records also tend to lack the detailed information needed to verify them, and even if records are available, they can quickly become outdated due to company growth and attrition.  

Given these challenges, it is difficult to find a provider who can provide the accurate data needed for confident small business verification and onboarding. Most traditional data companies specialize in medium or large B2B information, which leaves a gap in the market for this important business customer segment.  

Markaaz created a database of over 300 small million business records to address this issue. The Markaaz Directory is an unrivaled source of accurate SMB information that provides real time access to the business data enterprises need to verify and streamline their onboarding processes. Enterprises can validate firmographic and business health information, such as legal entity, primary address, business officer, employee counts, and business credit scores, and screen for compliance risks. This superior database provides one source of truth so enterprises can solve the SMB data issues plaguing their onboarding processes. 

5. Not finding a scalable data partner 

Your business verification solution needs to scale to your business needs. For enterprises with large customer portfolios, you need a business verification partner that can match these growing volumes of customers. This ensures your onboarding process remains efficient, effective, and unique to your business, regardless of size or complexity. For this, businesses need to look for a partner that has the best chance of having access to the business records they need. Without this scale, you might have to reject a legitimate customer.  

Alongside that, it’s important that any partner you choose is flexible, offering solutions that you can customize to your processes or build on to design a solution that suits your business best. The best partners rely on cloud-based technology stacks to offer this flexibility and scalability, which allow you to grow your onboarding solution quickly and efficiently.  

Bring better business verification to your business 

In sum, these five challenges hinder the efficiency and accuracy of an enterprise’s business verification process, leading to the loss of legitimate clients.  

The lack of automated, integrated solutions and reliance on web-crawled data contribute to delays, inaccuracies, and incomplete results. Moreover, the inability to source accurate small business information, which tends to be particularly fragmented and outdated, can mean small businesses are incorrectly rejected from vital services your enterprise can offer.  

Markaaz’s Directory and Business Verification API Suite help you overcome these challenges, with access to over 300 million small business records to source and validate accurate business data in real time. Connect with our team to learn more about how to integrate a scalable and reliable business verification solution for your business.  

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Enterprise Blog

Help your small business clients grow and thrive

5 reasons why enterprises should onboard their small business clients to the Markaaz Dashboard

Small businesses drive the global economy, but they often face challenges when it comes to updating and monitoring their business data. This can make it difficult for them to attract new customers, find financing, and manage their finances. 

The Markaaz Dashboard is a powerful tool that can help small businesses to overcome these challenges. It provides a centralized place for small businesses to update and monitor their business data, find financing, find new customers, manage their finances, and access resources and support. 

Here are five reasons why enterprises should onboard their small business clients to the Markaaz Dashboard. 

1. It helps small businesses update and monitor their business data.  

The Markaaz Dashboard is a powerful tool that helps small businesses update and monitor their business data in one place. This includes their contact information, vertical, website, and location. By having all this information in one place, small businesses can easily keep their information up to date, ensure that it is accurate, and share it with chosen enterprise partners to ensure they always have the best services and rates from you.   

2. It makes it easier for small businesses to find financing.  

The Markaaz Dashboard makes it easier for small businesses to find financing. By connecting small businesses with lenders, the Markaaz Dashboard can help small businesses get the financing they need to grow their businesses. This can help small businesses to expand their operations, hire new employees, and invest in new equipment. All of this is enabled by their accurate and updated business information, which can be shared via a PDF directly with the business they want to work with.  

3. It helps small businesses find new customers.  

The Markaaz Dashboard also helps small businesses find new customers. By connecting small businesses with potential customers through the global Markaaz Directory, the Markaaz Dashboard can help small businesses grow their customer and partner bases. This can help small businesses to increase their sales and profits.  

4. It helps small businesses manage their finances.  

The Markaaz Dashboard also helps small businesses manage their finances. By giving small businesses a centralized view of their finances, the Markaaz Dashboard can help small businesses track their spending, identify areas where they can save money, and make informed financial decisions. This can help small businesses to improve their financial health and profitability and, in turn, help your enterprise give them the services they need.  

5. It provides small businesses with access to resources and support.  

The Markaaz Dashboard also provides small businesses with access to resources and support. This includes business development, marketing, and financing information on the Markaaz Small Business Blog and newsletter. This can help small businesses to learn and grow their businesses.  

The Markaaz Dashboard is a powerful tool that can help small businesses to succeed. By onboarding your small business clients to the Markaaz Dashboard, enterprises can help these businesses to improve their online presence, find financing, find new customers, manage their finances, and access resources and support. Onboard your small business clients to the Markaaz Dashboard and help them grow and thrive. 

Categories
Enterprise Blog

The importance of business health data

Why is it important for an enterprise to know the business health data of the businesses they are onboarding? 

Whether you’ve heard of business health data in the past or it’s a new topic for you, you might be wondering why it matters so much. That’s a fair question and one that will be answered in this article. We’re going to look at what business health data is and why your enterprise should be aware of it for companies you are onboarding into your platform for products and services. 

Anytime you onboard a new company, you’re bringing them into your system and expecting them to purchase and pay for certain items. Whether you provide traditional loans or offer a product that is paid for on a regular basis, you want to be sure the customers are going to pay and become long-term customers. It is a beneficial decision from a financial standpoint.

Business credit scores, business risk scores, and business risk classes are all useful for this process in different ways. Each of them ties into financing and gives you an idea of what to expect for each individual customer. Below, we’ll share some insight into why your enterprise should be aware of business health data. 

Reasons to pay attention to business health data 

For enterprises that aren’t familiar with business health data, it’s a selection of data that gives you a larger view of the financial situation of a customer. By combining information about a business’s credit score and risk score, you can more easily move forward with customer relationships knowing that the small businesses you work with are trustworthy and reliable. 

There are several reasons your enterprise should pay attention to business health data as an enterprise working with other companies.

It can help your enterprise:

  • Decide whether to provide or deny credit.
  • Give insight into the details of a business.
  • Provide you with up-to-date credit scores.
  • Help you choose loan terms. 

When you use Markaaz’s Enterprise Services for business verification, decisioning and monitoring, these services access Markaaz’s Directory, which features firmographic, business health and compliance/AML data. This means you have all of the information you need right at your fingertips.  

Know when to accept and deny new clients 

Based on the NSBA Small Business Access to Capital Study, about 20% of small business loans are denied based on business credit scores. When your teams have business health data in front of them, they have the means to decide whether to onboard a new business or provide your products and services to them.  

Without business credit and risk scores, your teams could make a mistake that turns out to be costly for your company. Having these types of data on demand creates a situation where it’s easy to move forward with acceptance or denial so you can move on to the next potential customer. 

Be aware of who has an acceptable credit score 

The Small Business by Demand Media survey indicates that many enterprise companies consider a business credit score of 75 only “acceptable.” Numbers higher than this score indicate a company with even less risk, while lower scores mean that the risk may be substantial in terms of being paid promptly. 

Without business health data, your teams might not realize that a company has a score that is lower than what you’d like to work with. Not having this data puts your teams in a situation where they have to make decisions using other information, which may not be as useful as business health data that gives an idea of the company’s financial history. 

Quickly decide on loan terms 

When your teams look at business health data, they can easily determine what loan terms to provide to a specific company. One that has an impeccable credit score might be deserving of lower interest rates and higher credit limits than one that has only good or acceptable credit. This is something your teams can not know without relevant data. 

There’s a good reason that those with the best credit get the superior terms. These are companies that are trusted to move forward and pay their bills. If you take on more risk, that needs to be tempered with less favorable terms in case something doesn’t move forward as expected. 

Have a better understanding of your customers 

Business health data isn’t just a credit score for a company. It does include that, but it also incorporates information about the company risk score and can include information about its risk class. Having this assortment of data gives your teams a better understanding of the company they are onboarding and dedicating your enterprise to having a relationship with. 

All of these pieces of financial data are useful on their own. Having all of them provides your teams with several types of data that can be considered together. Not only is it useful for denying or offering credit to them, but it can also give your business insight into the products and services that might work best for specific brands compared to others. 

Markaaz offers all of these important sets of data through its Enterprise Services, so your teams can make educated and confident decisions when onboarding new customers and clients. Below is more detail about the advantages of having this kind of information and what you can expect when you add it to your decision-making process. 

How agencies provide business health data 

Several agencies provide business credit scores, many of which also offer other business health data, such as a credit risk score or a business failure score. Equifax is one of the largest.  

Using Equifax as an example, the first thing you see in terms of business health data is a payment index. This score ranges from zero to 100, with higher numbers speaking to better finances for a business. Scores from 90 and up are considered the best possible and will make the best clients to onboard. 

In addition, a credit risk score is provided, which can range from 101 to 992. This looks into delinquent payments, account age, company size, and credit utilization of a business. This gives your teams insight into how likely the company is to pay you back on time and in full. 

The final part of their business health data is the business failure score. It has a range from 1,000 to 1,880 and is better the higher the number goes, similar to the other scores we’ve discussed. Many factors, such as payment status, account length, and credit utilization, are used to determine where this score lands.  

Final thoughts 

At Markaaz, we understand that onboarding correctly and quickly is essential for an enterprise. We’re also dedicated to providing you with the accurate and up-to-date data you need to ensure you bring on the right companies for your products and services.

All the reasons we’ve talked about above are only a short list of what this data can offer you. When you have firmographic data combined with business health data and compliance/AML data, your business can onboard more businesses more accurately.

Categories
Enterprise Blog

What are red flags and good scores in business health data?

Business health data helps an enterprise make sure they work with companies that fit their onboarding criteria

Before your onboarding team moves forward with a new small business customer (or a current client who may have data changes since you last connected), it’s essential to have a tool that checks and monitors this customer’s business health data

When we talk about business health data, we’re referring to things like business credit scores, business credit risk scores, and business risk classes. Red flags in business health data include financial distress and late payments, high debt-to-credit ratios, and high debt-to-income ratios.

On the other hand, good scores in business health data include good payment history, low debt-to-credit ratios, and low debt-to-income ratios. It’s important to use a business health data tool to assess these factors in order to ensure the best possible customer onboarding experience.

Before your team makes a decision on whether to onboard a small business, we’d like to share what they should keep their eye out for. This article will share some of the most common red flags in business health, as well as green flags that give your team the green light to move forward with the small business application.  

Red flags in business health data 

As an enterprise that works with small businesses, there is less use of demographic data and more firmographic data. Firmographic data and business health data are the bread and butter of any organization that has services and products for other businesses.  

Below, we’ll share a few of the most common red flags your team may find in business health data. Being aware of these things can help your team make the best decisions for your enterprise. 

Bad credit 

The biggest red flag is also one that might be obvious. Having bad credit (or no credit) is something that can give your team a lot of insight into how working with a small business might be. Make sure that the small business has a business credit score that your team feels confident about before offering credit. There are many ways to build or repair credit if that is something it wishes to work toward. 

Nonexistent cash flow 

If the small business has no cash coming in, it could be a sign that they are struggling or in serious financial trouble.

Make sure that the small business has enough money to pay its obligations and employees. Additionally, if the small business has not been in business for very long, it could be a sign that they are not yet established and may not have the experience necessary to handle working with a larger enterprise.

Your team wants to be certain that the small business can easily pay off whatever financial service you provide to it. If the small business has persistent negative cash flow, it might be a sign that it isn’t financially healthy or able to pay off what it owes.

You could work with the small business to identify ways to increase cash flow, such as reducing expenses, increasing sales, or refinancing any existing debt. Doing this will help the small business become a more reliable customer and partner, and it will also reduce the risk for your team. Consistent cash flow should be one of the things you prioritize as you move forward with new clients. 

Judgments or bankruptcy 

If a small business has had a recent judgment or bankruptcy, this is something to pay attention to. It’s especially worrying if it occurred within the last year. It’s one of the most obvious red flags that a small business could be a huge risk for your enterprise to work with.

Regardless of how much your company invests in small businesses, bankruptcy shouldn’t be glossed over, unless the company has proven successful since its setback.

Lack of collateral 

For enterprises that consider collateral, a lack of it can be a huge problem. If the small business doesn’t pay back the loan, your enterprise could be left eating the costs instead of being able to acquire assets that let you move forward. When collateral is included, things like credit history may be less important to your enterprise. However, it’s important to consider the amount of collateral available, especially with young companies. 

Inexperience as a business 

Another red flag in terms of business health data is how long the company has been around. It’s not uncommon for businesses to be turned away for credit or loans based on only being in business for one to three (or even five) years.

Industry experience is an important aspect of running a company, and there’s nothing wrong with expecting that from your clients. However, if your target is onboarding small businesses, you may want to waive this red flag and instead make sure the business has a good business credit score, credit risk score, and cash flow.

Green flags to move forward with a business customer 

Success onboarding with business health data

Green flags to move forward with a business customer include a good business credit score, credit risk score, and cash flow. A good track record of making payments on time and having a solid business plan are important considerations when assessing a business’s health and ability to pay back loans or credits.

Additionally, if the business has been around for a while, that could be an indicator of stability and potential success. Finally, a good customer service record and positive customer reviews can be an indication that the business is well-run and has a good reputation in the industry.

In many cases, business health data can also give your teams the assurance that a company is likely to be a fantastic customer. The more you see these “green flags,” the more likely that brand is one that your enterprise wants to be associated with. Below are a few of the most common signs that your team should move forward with onboarding a small business. 

A high business credit score 

The first green flag that a small business customer is a good bet for working with is easy to find. All your onboarding and monitoring teams need to do is take a look at its credit score. Any score of 80 or above is considered good.

  • If you see 100, your enterprise can expect payments to come in early or on time every pay period.
  • An 80 might indicate payments are always on time.
  • A score of 50 or higher has a higher risk of some payments being late
  • A score up to 49 is far more likely to be late by a long period of time. 

Utilization of credit 

You don’t want to see an endless amount of debt from a customer, but utilizing credit can actually be a good sign and create a better credit score. When a business shows that it is capable of taking out credit and paying it back appropriately, that bodes well for your company if you work with it. Watch to see if the score is high over time when credit is in play. This gives you an idea of whether the small business can keep up with payments over the long term. 

Appropriate use of trade credit 

One of the most important factors in business credit score is trade credit. This refers to the credit a business uses that is provided by suppliers and vendors. This is often required for a business to stay afloat, so you should pay attention to it when you look at business health data. Seeing that a small business can build great relationships with those who give it goods, products, and services will give you insight into how it might act as a customer. 

There’s nothing wrong with getting the basics from the simple numerical credit score but digging deeper will set your enterprise apart. Understanding business credit and the other factors involved in business health will ensure your enterprise works only with those small businesses that can handle debt and pay back what they owe.

Final thoughts 

There are many reasons to pay attention to the business health data of small businesses that want to use your products and services. If your company provides credit in any form, knowing the red flags for your onboarding and monitoring teams to watch for will put your enterprise in a better position to succeed. The green flags can also be useful when making any onboarding decision. 

If you’re wondering where to get all this data so you can use it to improve your company, Markaaz’s Enterprise Services are what you need.

Markaaz offers an automated Business Verification API Suite, which pulls firmographic, business health, and compliance/AML data from our extensive proprietary Directory of over 300 million global small businesses to automate and speed up an enterprise’s onboarding flow.

Markaaz also offers no-code Business Monitoring that allows your monitoring team to know when any data changes about one of your business customers.

Whenever your teams need to make a decision about credit or debt, make sure to look for both red and green flags before they move forward. Consider whether bringing on a small business as a customer will provide value to your own enterprise, and make decisions based on what you decide.  

Categories
Enterprise Blog

Business health, an essential onboarding indicator

How are business credit and risk scores calculated for an overall look at business health? 

For any business owner, it’s essential to establish business credit. It’s an excellent way to improve your insurance rates, acquire competitive loans, and even protect your individual credit. Business credit risk scores are also essential to understand, especially for a B2B enterprise wanting to onboard businesses. 

Today, we will be going into detail about how both business credit scores and business credit risk scores are calculated. This is a great way to determine business health for any company that signs up as an enterprise customer. Once you have that information, you can move forward with providing credit or products, knowing that your business customer is highly likely to keep up with payments. 

We’ll share what each of these scores is all about and why both are crucial to have available for your business. We’ll also explain how the scores are calculated and what you can use them for. The article will also give you details on obtaining this information quickly and simply. 

All about business credit scores 

Lines of credit, credit cards, and loans are all essential to expand capital for a business and help a business grow. The extra money can be used to expand operations, purchase inventory, and more. The credit score of a business impact how much these debts cost and how much money a business can borrow. 

For a B2B enterprise with business clients, knowing their business credit score lets you know whether you should lend to them and, if so, how much money you should offer. It can be used to decide on the exact terms for each business customer.  

When it comes to business health, credit scores are one of the most important things to be aware of. Thankfully, numerous companies offer this information. These include our partner Equifax, as well as Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, and others. All of these agencies collect the credit data in different ways, but all implement the same factors, including: 

  • Industry risk 
  • Payment history 
  • Credit account age 
  • Company size 
  • Debt usage 

So where does this data come from? There are several sources. Reporting agencies get information from business credit card providers, data-gathering trade associations, vendors, banks, and credit unions. 

With Equifax, there is a payment index score. It ranges from zero to 100; all data comes from trade records, business lenders, and public records.

Equifax will analyze the payment history of a company over the last year. Companies that always pay on time and in full can expect a score between 90 and 100. However, being past due even once will knock the score down to the 80 to 89 range. 

Other agencies have different scoring methods, but all have the same idea behind them. You can get the information you need about other companies to determine their business health score. This data is up-to-date and reliable, so you can use it as a part of your decision-making process when working with new companies. It’s an easy way to avoid making bad choices based on a lack of data. 

With Markaaz’s Business Verification and Business Decisioning API Suites, business health data, including business credit scores and business risk scores, is checked, verified, and combined with firmographic data and compliance/AML data to give onboarding teams a holistic picture of whether this business is a strong onboarding match.

What to know about business credit risk scores 

Customer onboarding representative with headset

In addition to business credit scores, enterprises should be aware of business credit risk scores. When you look at a credit risk score, you get details about whether a company is likely to be risky in the future. The credit profile of the company is used to make this determination. 

So, if you have a business customer come in with a great score, approving them makes a lot of sense. These are the businesses that you want and will hopefully stick around since they have minimal risk. On the other hand, a high-risk score may mean declining a business as a customer. 

Several factors play into scoring credit risk for a company. The five most common include the following: 

  • Capacity to repay – This looks at how likely a borrower is to repay a loan. It’s often based on the debt-to-income ratio and how well a company does at paying off debts from earnings. 
  • Capital – A company’s net worth may also go into calculating credit risk. This is a simple process of taking the total assets and subtracting any debts or liabilities. 
  • Collateral – Available collateral will play into a company’s credit risk. If the collateral is put up for a loan, the deal becomes less risky for you as a lender. 
  • Conditions of the loan – The loan conditions are also essential to consider when determining credit risk. The conditions and terms may vary based on the customer. 
  • Credit history – Credit history is an essential part of the calculation. Looking into the borrower’s background and credit scores helps determine credit risk. 

Every agency can choose the way they calculate and display business credit risk. When it comes to Equifax, the credit risk considers credit limits, credit history, and company size to determine whether the business can keep up payments or are more likely to fall behind. 

Higher scores are preferred when you look at the numerical business credit risk. These are the companies that have a lower risk than others. Lower scores should be scrutinized before choosing to fund. If the score is zero on the scale, this typically indicates bankruptcy. 

Another aspect of the Equifax scoring system is its business failure score. This gives insight into how likely it is that a business will fail over the next year, whether formally, informally, or through bankruptcy. Higher scores are better, as with the other factors we’ve discussed. Zero scores are associated with bankruptcy. 

Looking at the business failure score of a company gives insight into how much credit it uses and whether there have been late payments in the past. It works in tandem with business credit risk and business credit score for a more nuanced understanding of how well the company is doing. 

Final thoughts 

Scoring models among reporting agencies vary, but all of them can be used to see how risky it is to do business with a specific company. For instance, each of them will look at how successful a business is at making timely payments and consider how much credit it is using at the current time. 

Calculating overall business health for a company is something that can help an enterprise succeed. You get the information you need to decide which brands and organizations to work with while avoiding potential failure and payment issues. This can be done manually, or let Markaaz’s automated, easily integrated Business Verification and Decisioning API Suites do it for your onboarding team.  

There are many ways to mitigate risk for your enterprise. You can take measures to control or reduce uncertainties, accept and prepare for risk, or avoid anything considered an elevated risk. With the help of business health data, it’s much easier to decide whether to move forward or take a step back with a new or continuing client. 

Talk to our team and learn more about how we can help you succeed. 

Categories
Enterprise Blog

How important is firmographic data accuracy?

One of the most substantial challenges for many enterprises is determining the right small businesses to onboard.

This can be especially difficult if you are selling products or services to small businesses due to a lack of accurate data. While companies often spend a lot of money to onboard potential customers, many are unqualified. Even those that are qualified will need to be verified using firmographic, compliance, and health data. 

Targeting the right individuals is essential to business success, which leads to the need for accurate data. 

This article will delve into what firmographic data is, the best methods to ensure that data is accurate, why accuracy is crucial, and more.

Once you finish, you’ll have all the information you need to keep your enterprise onboarding productive when using firmographic data. 

What firmographic data is all about 

Whereas demographics relate to information about individuals, firmographics offer this same kind of information about businesses, companies, and organizations. This data provides company-wide information as well as user-level data. Using firmographic data during the onboarding process is an excellent way for B2B enterprises to know who their potential customers are and whether they are the right business to onboard. 

A few of the things that fall under firmographic data include: 

  • Decision makers for the organization 
  • Annual or quarterly revenue 
  • Locations of headquarters, parent companies, and more 
  • Number of employees hired by the brand 
  • Industry (or industries) that are represented by the company 

Firmographic data is essential to have available for any enterprise that has customers that are small businesses. However, it isn’t the only form of data that is useful. It’s a simple place to start the onboarding process. 

Why you should care about accurate firmographic data 

As we move farther into the 2020s, personalization is essential for business onboarding. Based on the Salesforce State of Marketing report, about two-thirds of businesses consider switching to a new brand if there is no attempt to personalize communication from their current vendor.  

About 85% of consumers and nearly as many company customers prefer to be treated like humans rather than just another number on a list of email addresses or phone numbers. Creating a personalized, customized onboarding experience as a brand is one of the best methods available to provide this. 

When you have firmographic data available, you better understand what customers need. It can also help you more easily answer questions from prospective customers to help them understand what you offer and how it can help them solve their current challenges. 

How to get accurate firmographic data 

There are several methods to access firmographic data. Some information can be found on company websites and social media profiles on platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram. Business listings and directories provide information, and data intelligence tools can be used. Looking into the company and how past and current customers feel about them can be a huge help. However, it’s not always clear how accurate this data is, especially if it comes up with different information on unique sites and platforms. 

There are many benefits of good firmographic data, many of which apply to the current customer desire for personalization. The biggest challenges there include getting quick insights, having sufficient data, and having only accurate data. Thankfully, there are some methods to enjoy all three of these things to provide potential customers with what they want. 

While there are many data providers out there who promise accurate information, that doesn’t mean you can always trust them. Some will have information that is very old, inaccurate, or otherwise problematic for use.

When you use Markaaz’s Enterprise Services, you can leverage accurate business information for over 300 million global small businesses. It also provides small businesses the ability to update their own information on the Markaaz Dashboard, ensuring the information held in the Markaaz Directory is up-to-date and accurate.

Everything from credit score to business location, ownership data to a business address, compliance, and business health data is provided and can be accessed using the Markaaz Business Decisioning and Business Verification API Suites, designed to streamline enterprise onboarding flows.

Why accuracy in firmographic data is essential 

There are many benefits to using accurate firmographic data, from having a greater body of knowledge to enjoying improved lead generation. Below are a few of the great benefits that you can reap when you have accurate firmographic data that you can trust. 

Better company knowledge 

Everything from information about when a company was founded to how it’s doing right now is yours with the use of accurate firmographic data. This kind of information can help you decide how to nurture a potential customer or someone you want to invest in as a part of your brand. There are tons of reasons that this knowledge will come in handy for enterprise businesses. 

When you have relevant and useful firmographic data, it helps you better understand specific marketplaces and industries. You can dig through data to get a better view of what separates one company from the next.

Excellent onboarding intelligence 

With accurate firmographic data, it’s much easier for onboarding teams to know whether a business is a good prospect for its services. Important data about things like purchasing power and other preferences are available and can be used along with data about the size of the company, present standing, and more.

Better customer service and marketing 

When you have more information about a company, it also makes it easier to give them what they desire. Beyond that, having great firmographic data helps you offer top-quality customer service. This is essential for acquiring and keeping all of your customers.  

As an example, knowing the geographical location of a customer gives insight into local traditions and typical opening hours. This lets you determine the best way to communicate with each customer on an individual basis. This kind of personalization may not always be noticed but is greatly appreciated when it is. 

Improved lead generation 

For businesses that sell to other companies, firmographic data is essential for lead generation. It can be used to quickly segment that market and sort companies into different groups of potential clients. This process alone leads to a better form of lead generation. 

Since you have this data available, you can see who the best leads are and who might not be for your onboarding flows. You can also rate them based on their characteristics, which makes sure that the efforts you focus on are effective and the most likely to help your business grow and succeed. 

Final thoughts 

When you work with Markaaz’s Enterprise Services, firmographic data accuracy will not ever need to be a concern for your company again. Our data is verified to ensure top accuracy whenever you need it. We offer firmographic data on over 300 million small businesses across the globe. Get the data you need to create the onboarding experience that customers want. 

Are you ready to reap the benefits of accurate firmographic data? Reach out to us today and get started. We can answer any questions you have and get you set up with the tools you need to succeed. Our team of experts is here to provide support for any issues you may have, and our customer service team is available 24/7 to assist you with any questions or concerns that you may have. We understand that your success is our success, and we are dedicated to helping you succeed in any way we can.

With Markaaz’s Enterprise Services, you can rest assured that the firmographic data leveraged by our API Suites is accurate and up-to-date, giving you the peace of mind you need to make your onboarding process as smooth as possible. Start reaping the benefits of accurate firmographic data today – reach out to us and get started.

Categories
Enterprise Blog

The bad data problem (and how Markaaz addresses it)

Large enterprises must be able to accurately identify and verify potential small business customers but cannot because of incorrect, outdated data.

This means small businesses miss out on services because they cannot be identified, so they cannot grow, and large enterprises are unable to onboard new customers. Let us look at how Markaaz addresses this with David Clarke, Chief Data Officer in Residence, Markaaz  

Forty years ago, bad data did not hurt companies, either large or small. Decisions were made in person or by people at the end of a phone. For example, small businesses interacted directly with their banks by going to a branch. A human teller would speak to the small business owner. Spelling issues or misinterpretations were easily corrected by humans on either side of the transaction.   

In the digital age, most decisions are made by computers, or better said, by computer programs. The spoken or written word, or series of numbers, have been transformed into data. Data strings are compared to acceptable norms and approval thresholds, and automated decisions are made in milliseconds.    

Data automation revolutionized business but also created a new problem: Incorrect data.    

Only 3% of business data is accurate  

Finding and verifying a small business for onboarding is extremely difficult for large enterprises looking to serve those businesses because of the inconsistent data held by most traditional business intelligence providers. According to Harvard Business Review research, only 3% of business data meets basic quality standards.  

A single small business might have several different records in a business intelligence database because of data field variants. A single spelling mistake or variation means the enterprise cannot automatically onboard a valid, legitimate applicant and the small business cannot access the services that the enterprise is offering.   

“If you own a small business, you exist on LinkedIn and probably in the Better Business Bureau. If you had a small business during COVID and applied for a PPP loan, you will exist in that database. When you register your business, that registration remains in the Secretary of State’s business records. The problem is that you may have entered something that was not the same as already existed, or the system might force you to enter different information, leading to inconsistent records,” said David Clarke, Chief Data Officer in Residence, Markaaz.  

When an enterprise is trying to onboard a small business, its onboarding systems often cannot match the small business to a single data record because of these inconsistencies. The software they use cannot match the data variants. If the data entered into any given transaction does not match exactly the data the software is using as its reference data, the transaction is rejected.   

“Jonathan Smith living at 1 Main St, Smalltown, NJ, applies for a small business card. However, the small business is registered at 27. First Avenue, Bigtown, PA [which is where it operates], and when Mr. Smith registered his company with the Secretary of State of PA some years ago, he registered the Managing Member of the small business as Mr. J. Smith. His credit card application, albeit 100% legitimate, could be rejected,” explained Clarke.  

Business data is collected in many ways and stored in many places, so the problem is difficult to resolve. Every time a small business enters into any transaction, data about the small business is collected and stored. It might be online, with the Secretary of State, with banks or insurance companies, Yellow Pages, tax authorities, payroll data, and even printed material is used and stored. Unless the data used in every transaction is 100% consistent with every other transaction, there will be differences leading to all the problems which we call ‘Bad Data.’    

What Markaaz does   

Markaaz Competitive Features

Markaaz collates multiple sets of data from multiple sources and merges them into a single Directory, within which is a ‘Golden Record’ for every business entity. The Markaaz Directory has tied all of the variants of each small business data field into a single, searchable Golden Record. It will connect the registered address with the place of business with all the various addresses linked to the small business, plus all the name variants. Simply said, we match against all name and address variants, together with website and phone and all legal entity numbering systems, to effortlessly and uniquely identify all small businesses. No small business is left behind.    

“We don’t solve the data problem because we don’t need to. Traditional data companies have been trying to solve an unsolvable problem for many years. They have tired, legacy technology that is difficult to maintain, let alone change. The smaller, web mining, AI-focused companies who simply scan the web will find hundreds of disparate entries for each small business,” stated Clarke.  

The Markaaz Directory connects all inconsistent business records and matches a business across multiple data attributes to reach a final confident match. We are alone in being able to do that in the market today, and a recently completed customer data study demonstrated how much better we are than anyone else. An incremental twelve percent of previously rejected business credit card applications were able to be approved.   

“We store more versions of the business data attributes and match against more versions of them. That’s why we find more small businesses for our large clients. It’s as simple as that,” noted Clarke.  

Our data   

  • We merge the best versions of all data attributes from our data company partners to create the Markaaz Golden Record.   
  • We match all possible data attributes and multiple variations of data attributes, using data from our Directory while considering both the current and past versions.   
  • We match against Business Address, Mailing Address, Registered Address, and Agent Address using the current and former versions.   
  • We can do this cost-effectively because we use 2020’s technology, data, and techniques and are 100% cloud-based.   
  • The Markaaz approach produces high-quality match rates of 90%-95%.  
David Clarke

David Clarke, Chief Data Officer in Residence, Markaaz

David is an independent Advisor/Consultant specializing in Data Strategy and the business information industry. His clients have included John Wiley, TiVo, CreditSafe, and Mastercard. From 2015 to 2017, David was Chief Data Officer at Avention Inc., subsequently acquired by Dun & Bradstreet. Previously David spent 30 years at Dun & Bradstreet in various executive positions, including President, Sales & Marketing Solutions, US CIO, and Chief Data Officer. David was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in New Jersey for 20 years. He loves to travel and relaxes by skiing in the Alps and collecting Burgundy wine. 

Categories
Enterprise Blog

How can I verify a small business in real-time?  

Stop compromising on the verification and decisioning accuracy and speed needed to operate your onboarding flow at scale. Brett Adams, Head of Product at Markaaz, walks you through why Markaaz helps speed up your onboarding workflow 

Historically, small business verification has meant you must choose between traditional business data providers focused on larger businesses or web miners that can take hours to return duplicated results. Now your business can verify small businesses for onboarding quickly and easily with Markaaz’s enterprise services – without compromising. 

Markaaz’s Business Decisioning API Suite and Business Verification API Suite can match your business customer data to any small business in any of our markets, 24/7/365, giving you results in milliseconds. We outperform market alternatives on match rate success, materially reducing false positives and false negatives – on a global scale.   

Combining the agility of our cloud/API-native technology and the Markaaz Directory, our proprietary global database of over 300 million small business records, Markaaz is confident in its ability to provide the customer data your business needs to find – when it needs it.   

“Research shows that bad data can cost companies trillions of dollars per year. How often is your team unsure if they’re looking at the right data and that your data sources matched the applicant during your onboarding flow? That’s where our API Suites save you money and time,” explained Brett Adams, Head of Product at Markaaz.   

At the macro level, IBM estimates bad data costs the US more than $3 trillion per year, while an Experian report based on global data noted that 95% of companies state that bad data undermines company performance.  

The Markaaz enterprise services  

The Markaaz Business Verification API Suite and Business Decisioning API Suite use our unique matching approach to search the Markaaz Directory and return the business result with the best match score whenever your business queries a company. The higher the match score, the stronger the probability that the returned result is the correct business that you are trying to onboard.    

“Our proprietary ability to match and verify several versions of each firmographic field means that our business matching success rate is at a scale that this industry has not yet seen,” stated Adams.    

Your team no longer has to manually decide which is the correct business from a slew of similar-named companies with slight firmographic data deviations. This saves your business the high cost and time of manual verification, adding more database subscriptions to your onboarding workflows, or adding a second-step process to re-verify. The Markaaz verification and decisioning API Suites also materially reduce false positives and false negatives that can cost your business time and lost potential revenue.    

“Most of the companies we speak to are used to spending hours, if not days, just trying to verify customer data. This onboarding roadblock can mean you have lost over 35% of your customers before even beginning to offer them services. Our verification and decisioning API Suites enhance and automate your onboarding workflow,” noted Adams.   

However, while the costs are high for the onboarding business, they can be even higher for small businesses trying to access enterprise services. With incorrect data, small businesses often cannot access the growth services they need, such as a credit card or loan.  

Our technology  

The Markaaz verification and decisioning API Suites and the data platform they access are built in the cloud and can scale with you as your business expands. With the ability to process records in real time, Markaaz drives better onboarding workflows than existing solutions because we have our own data always available in the Markaaz Directory.    

“Many newer decisioning and verification software solutions available today are web miners. These solutions don’t have the data on hand because the cost, expense, and expertise required to set up that data are significant. Rather, their software ‘mines’ the web when a request comes in, or the team creates a company if it cannot be found. This is why it can take hours for a single business to be verified and makes it difficult to scale,” said Adams. “One of our benefits is that our API Suites only have to connect to our Markaaz Directory. You don’t have to create a new company, we already have the company in the Directory, and we will return its MarkaazId, a company-specific ID code, to you.”    

Markaaz’s small business verification model is unique in the market today. It offers matching capabilities and a breadth and accuracy of data that outperforms current market alternatives. Many of these alternatives offer firmographic data and, perhaps, in some cases, light business health data, often with a medium and large business focus. This is more in line with prospecting data than the deep dive needed for verification and decisioning needs.   

The Business Verification API Suite enables enterprises to tap into the Markaaz Directory in real-time to verify small business applicants. With just a few variables, the Business Verification API Suite searches the Markaaz Directory, featuring over 300 million global businesses. It delivers the firmographic data, compliance/AML data, and business health data you need to verify new customers and prospects. This API suite comprises multiple API endpoints. These endpoints can return a customized selection of dozens of data points about the business you are attempting to verify based on your business’s unique needs.    

Enterprises can also use Markaaz’s Business Decisioning API Suite. This Suite applies preconfigured rules across multiple metrics to provide a decision on whether or not a business is a strong candidate for onboarding. It also provides the details behind that decision. The decisioning results are based on the metrics your business sets in real-time. A standardized set of metrics can be configured for each API request.    

Any decision returned from the Business Decisioning API Suite can be audited by requesting the decisioning details so that your team can determine which rules were satisfied and which were not. Decision results can be tailored by editing the parameter thresholds in the Enterprise Dashboard should you have changing business needs or would like to be more strict or less strict with your approval criteria.    

“Both of our low-code business verification and decisioning API Suites are uniquely built with GET and POST request capabilities, so we can help you code and integrate to your systems in a manner that works for you,” explained Adams.    

The Markaaz business verification and decisioning API Suites are the solutions your company needs to onboard more of your qualified target businesses faster and more efficiently, improving time to onboarding, the accuracy of onboarding, and reducing your team’s wasted hours.    

Brett Adams, Head of Product
at Markaaz

Brett brings over 20 years of international experience building, growing, and advising fintech and payments businesses, both big and small.  He has served as an advisor to Fortune 100 banking and payments clients at Marakon and Accenture consulting firms and held US and international finance, business development, sales, and product roles while at Mastercard.  His true passion is product management, and is in his second role as head of product at Markaaz, having also launched a consumer lending service in the US with a prior BNPL start-up.  Brett holds a BA degree from Stanford University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and received his MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern University.

Categories
Enterprise Blog

How does accurate firmographic data drive frictionless onboarding? 

Business information data is essential for accurate and efficient customer onboarding workflows

Many companies are currently looking into companies to partner with that provide more reliable data to drive quick and efficient customer onboarding experiences. Firmographic data is used to develop a robust data set on current clients for monitoring purposes, and verify businesses that might become customers during onboarding. 

Companies look toward business health data and business compliance data to create frictionless customer onboarding experiences. However, they need accurate, current firmographic data to begin the onboarding process and verify the business they want to onboard. Having a larger variety of data points makes it easier to personalize your offerings to your clients and potential clients, as well as ensure that they are the right fit for your business. Finding actionable strategies and determining the best decisions to make requires the initial use of firmographic data. 

This article will look at the importance of accurate firmographic data as it pertains to frictionless onboarding. We’ll share the definition of both of these things and provide information about how the two combine to create a customer experience that is personalized, simplified, and appreciated by new and potential customers. 

What is firmographic data? 

Firmographic data is a set of data characteristics related to a company or organization that helps to verify their existence and accuracy for onboarding or monitoring purposes. This data can also be used for extensive insights to target the right accounts to use your products and services. 

Some of the different pieces of information provided in firmographic data include company size, annual revenue and expenditure, market trends, industry type, company reach, ownership information, and growth information.  

Demographic data and firmographic data are often combined to categorize groups and individuals. Both can be leveraged to profile businesses. One of the most useful spots for use of this data is frictionless onboarding, a goal for most businesses in today’s time and age. 

What is frictionless onboarding? 

When we talk about frictionless onboarding, it means that a new client or customer can board your company without having anything get in the way. This modern form of onboarding provides needed information about your services and products, acts as an introduction to your team, and is the first step to creating a relationship built on a pillar of trust. 

Removing all the obstacles that stand in the way of onboarding completion is the goal in this situation. Once a business is interested in what you have to offer, they can visit your website, or contact your team directly and sign up to gain access to the product without any challenges popping up in the process. 

Top ways accurate firmographic data drives frictionless onboarding 

Small business being onboarded

There are several methods to use firmographic data as part of your overall onboarding strategy. Below are three examples so you can overhaul your system to create the quick and efficient process that customers are looking for. There are many more options once you get the framework in place and have access to the most accurate data. 

Quick verification when customers fill out online forms 

The first way that accurate firmographic data can be used to revolutionize onboarding is through quick verification. Any time a customer fills out an online form on your website, it can be quickly validated so you can be sure everything is correct, and the business exists. This means you spend less time doing the validation yourself and can instead focus on onboarding businesses to your products and services. This seamless verification process shrinks time to onboarding and reduces onboarding flow costs for the enterprise.

Form validation ensures that all fields include correct, valid data. Even something as simple as this can have a huge impact on the results your company experiences.

An easier method to find small businesses 

Not all businesses are huge enterprises, with tons of news about them spread around the internet. According to the Small Business Administration, 99.9% of United States businesses are small and have fewer than 500 people associated with them.  

Small businesses include everything from tiny startups and companies to family restaurants and retail stores. As you might expect, getting data on these companies can be challenging due to their size and lack of public documents, funding rounds, or news. Most businesses that need this data don’t have the time or knowledge to find firmographic data on small businesses on their own for use in onboarding and must rely on data providers to furnish the correct details. 

When you work with a company that provides accurate firmographic data on small businesses, their automated solutions and APIs do the digging and research in their dataset, and you reap the benefits of that. With Markaaz’s verification and decisioning API suites, all you need to do is upload your potential customer to the API to get all of the business information you need to verify the business. 

KYC & KYB verification 

KYC (know your customer) and KYB (know your business) are two regulatory requirements used by businesses to ensure they are doing business with people they should be. Both of these verification services are built around due diligence.  

KYC is used by financial institutions like fintech and banks to identify their customers before an account is opened. It gives information about a customer to avoid financial crimes and online fraud and helps a business comply with anti-money laundering (AML) rules. 

KYB is an even larger process, as it’s simpler to verify for an individual than it is for a business. With KYB, business and corporate entities from around the world are verified. This is impossible when done manually, especially at scale, as it requires looking for documents from business owners, searching legal filing, and cross-checking financial information. 

When you choose a service that offers firmographic data, the process becomes easier. All the information you need is delivered to your onboarding flow. There’s no need to gather information and documents on your own. Having verified data makes it easy to accept a new customer or turn down a potential client. Bringing in only the right customers is an important part of onboarding. 

Markaaz’s low-code verification and decisioning API suites find the correct small and medium business data and verify the business, as well as returning accurate decisioning on whether the business should be onboarded to your services.

Final thoughts 

When using firmographic data, to get the best outcomes, it should be used to make educated decisions, verify your customers, and create customer segmentation. Having the right answers will help a company reduce the time between acquiring data and taking action while improving sales success. 

One of the best areas to use firmographic data is in customer onboarding. It can be used to verify customer information, ensure KYC and KYB verification, and make it easier for people to find small businesses. All of these benefits are crucial and can create the level of success you want for your business. 

Markaaz offers many types of firmographic data, along with things like compliance data and business health data. If you’re ready to enjoy the positive effects of Markaaz’s firmographic data held in the Markaz Directory of over 300 million global small and medium businesses, reach out to us now. 

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Enterprise Blog

Equality for women in healthcare: Where are we today? 

Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Thrive explains the gender gaps that are still inherent in the healthcare industry and how mental health awareness is improving 

Over 60% of employees in healthcare are women, according to McKinsey, and represent just under 50% of entry-level healthcare jobs. With such a high percentage of women in the healthcare space, the assumption would be that the industry has better equality than other less female-dominated industries. However, that is not the case. 

“There is a huge opportunity to make things more equitable for women in healthcare. We know that female physicians make about 27% less than male physicians in 2023 [according to the American Women’s Medical Association]. We also see trends of female physicians being burdened with greater administrative tasks and being promoted less than their male peers with the same number of years of experience,” explains Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, MD, Chief Medical Officer at our partner, Thrive

The healthcare industry has a long way to go to reach gender equality, from entry-level healthcare jobs all the way to the top doctor level. Dr. Yaqub noted that one of the key things she would like to see is fair and equal pay across the board, something that many professional women across all verticals still do not have. However, the needs of women in healthcare also extend to additional parental needs and flexibility. 

“It’s also important to see childcare benefits, paid maternity leave, and greater flexibility with start and end times. Physician burnout is, unfortunately, occurring at unprecedented levels, and many physicians are considering leaving clinical medicine,” Dr. Yaqub noted. 

Burnout and mental health 

The field of medicine tends to also still categorize women into the archaic fragile, emotional stereotypes that they have worked so hard to overcome for so many years. 

“Stereotypes still exist within our very hierarchical medical training institutions, academic centers, and even in private practice settings. However, we have started to see a societal shift in how we view wellness, self-care, and mental health. Organizations and employers within healthcare are seeing the impact of burnout and unregulated stress. Both men and women are impacted, so the female stereotypes are less relevant. However, we do know that women, on the whole, experience higher levels of stress and burnout as compared to their male counterparts. Women often bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities for children, disabled or chronically ill family members, and aging parents,” said Dr. Yaqub.  

This greater awareness around burnout and mental health risks in the healthcare industry has led to new programs in a variety of healthcare systems that address nurse burnout risk factors and, according to Dr. Yaqub, there is an investment in making physical spaces in hospital environments more conducive to self-care and breaks that can be rejuvenating during a difficult shift.  

“We also see the incredible impact of the Thrive Global Foundation, which through its partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Creative Artists Agency, and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation launched ALL IN: WellBeing First for Healthcare to invest in solutions to improve the well-being of the healthcare workforce and eliminate persistent mental health and well-being challenges that disadvantage our health workers, and therefore, the future of public health,” noted Dr. Yaqub.

Thrive is a Markaaz Dashboard partner, offering our small business members access to mental health and wellness resources to help their teams thrive in the modern workplace. Thrive’s initiatives are not just small business-focused, however, and they count industry giants such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Bank of America, and more as clients.  

Learn how to help your team’s mental health in the workplace at www.thriveglobal.com 

Talk to our team about becoming a Markaaz Dashboard partner!

Dr. Aaliya Yaqub, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Thrive 

Dr. Aaliya Yaqub is the Chief Medical Officer at Thrive Global. Dr. Yaqub is a Board-certified Internal Medicine physician with years of experience as a leader in tech, medicine, and mental health. Dr. Yaqub received her M.D. from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and completed her residency and fellowship training at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. At Thrive, Dr. Yaqub: Oversees our Scientific Advisory Board; Leads the charge in expanding our offerings into the healthcare space; Champions an upstream approach to well-being with a focus on prevention and habit formation; Serves as a leading facilitator for customer engagements, including workshops and webinars. 

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Enterprise Blog

Markaaz for Banking: Onboard more clients faster and more efficiently  

How Markaaz’s automated business verification and decisioning API services ease banks’ small business customer onboarding backlog 

Problem   

One of the most significant pain points for banks and financial institutions is being unable to accurately verify the small businesses they want to onboard. With limited publicly available small business information and with most business databases focused on more easily accessible public business data, small businesses often get left out, and small business-focused enterprises miss out on providing their services to a host of potential small business customers.   

Another challenge is the time it takes to onboard a small business. With poor match rates, many enterprises are forced to use multiple business data sources or manual verification processes to try and verify their potential small business clients and often fail. Every batch of data searched involves a dollar and a time cost – and let’s not forget about fraudulent and cloned businesses.   

It can be a nightmare to sort the good from the bad business records reliably.   

Solution

We can help you verify and make better decisions so you can onboard more compliant, healthy small business customers you want to do business with.  

Markaaz’s business decisioning and verification API services help you get faster answers to whether these small businesses are a right fit with your data criteria and speed up your onboarding workflows with superior small business match rates and answers available in milliseconds, not hours. While other providers take time hunting for data, Markaaz has built an all-in-one, always-available, global data source featuring business health, firmographic, and compliance data to shorten your time to verification and speed up decisioning, meaning you can get right to onboarding your small business clients.   

It’s time to stop wasting time and money searching multiple outdated databases!   

Business Verification API Suite   

Our Business Verification API Suite enables enterprises to tap into the Markaaz Directory in real-time to verify small business applicants. Our Markaaz Directory features over 300 million global small businesses, and the API Suite provides 50 standard data fields customizable with up to 200 elements across firmographic, business health, and compliance data.    

The Business Verification API Suite searches the Markaaz Directory with just a few variables and delivers firmographic, compliance, and business health data. This API Suite comprises multiple API endpoints that can return, in milliseconds, a customized selection of the data points about the business you are attempting to verify based on your unique needs.   

Business Verification API Suite scenario   

A bank needs to rapidly onboard new small business clients: How Markaaz’s Business Verification API Suite increases verification rates and speeds up your onboarding workflow. 

Business Decisioning API Suite   

Our Business Decisioning API Suite enables enterprises to build on the Business Verification API Suite and applies preconfigured rules across over a dozen metrics. These rules will supply an application verification decision in real time and the details behind that decision based on the metrics you set.    

Any decision can be manually audited by requesting the decisioning details to determine which rules were satisfied and which were not. Decision results can be tailored by editing the parameter thresholds.   

Business Decisioning API Suite scenario  

A bank needs to qualify a prospective applicant: How the Markaaz Decisioning API Suite does the work for you 

Result   

Our 300+ million business global Directory offers more global business records for broader coverage to verify small businesses, approve more small business applications, and grow your portfolio.   

Our Business Verification API Suite accelerates your approval processes with real-time verification and customizable decisioning – reducing the need for manual approvals and saving you both cost and time in your onboarding workflows.   

Our enterprise customers can also increase regulatory compliance discovery and negate costly AML and fraud risks with better AML and compliance coverage using the Markaaz API Suites.    

Why use Markaaz? 

Markaaz competitive features
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Enterprise Blog

Business intelligence data is your key to success

Jim Whalen, CFO in Residence at Markaaz, gives us an overview of the unique small business data Directory Markaaz has built with its proprietary technology and how that data helps you

Like your favorite plant, small business intelligence data needs nurturing to survive, it cannot be left alone, or it rapidly becomes outdated, incorrect, and useless for any enterprise whose target customers are small businesses. The landscape for accurate global small business intelligence providers is minuscule, and most cannot return accurate data in real-time, delaying your onboarding and losing you up to 68% of your customers

“If you’re an enterprise and have a huge bank of customers, many of those lists become outdated or irrelevant. Customers go away; they are not active; they sell. As an enterprise partner, it is difficult to discern what is happening with individual companies because you are carrying all these data bits. Your small business data intelligence file becomes cumbersome and not relevant anymore, your decision-making becomes flawed based on outdated business records leading to more customer attrition, or rejections of strong customers,” said Jim Whalen, CFO, Markaaz.  

Markaaz has a valuable small business data proposition that provides the span, control, and impact necessary for enterprise partners to make better onboarding decisions and monitor small business clients even more accurately. With a data Directory featuring over 300 million global businesses, of which 98% are small businesses, Markaaz is leading the market when it comes to small business data across firmographic, business health, and compliance data. 

With Markaaz’s easy-to-use Business Activity Monitoring solution, its onboarding APIs, or its custom services that include small business engagement, enterprises can view a plethora of accounts at any point in time, understand what is going on in their marketplace, or their customer sets, and tailor their products and solutions to suit.  

Markaaz is becoming the go-to tool for the small business-focused enterprise, supported by the small business community. The multiple data sets the Directory uses are accurate but enhanced by the Markaaz small business members correcting and updating their business information on the Markaaz Dashboard.  

These corrections made by the small business enable Markaaz enterprise partners to offer them better rates on loans, mortgages, credit card expansion, or other financial services.  

“We just met with a bank, and they loved our ability to poke at our data because they’re trying to focus on family-owned businesses. Nobody else can do this. We can do it,” said Whalen. 

Markaaz is in a rapid growth phase and is investigating what the market needs and developing features and functions in its product suite to address those pain points across small businesses and enterprises globally.  

With its Series A growth funding round underway, Markaaz is further investing in its expansion and growth across global markets.  

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Enterprise Blog

What is the customer onboarding process? 

Have you ever heard that it costs up to 25 times more to bring in a new customer than to keep an existing one?

It’s a pretty crazy figure, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate. Even when you push numbers to the side, anyone with a small business knows how important customer loyalty is. These customers write great reviews, try new products, and share your products with others. 

Keeping small business customers can be a challenge, especially in some industries. For instance, one study about apps shows that only one in four users open an app more than a single time.  

Knowing that, you might wonder what it takes to keep small business customers coming back. The answer starts with the customer onboarding process. This article will delve into the process to onboard users and keep them as customers for the near future, something that is sure to lead your enterprise to success.  

What is customer onboarding? 

Small business customer onboarding is the process of bringing in your target new users and setting them up for success using your service or product. This stage of customer experience lets the users learn how to use your products, how the product fits into their lives, and what value the product offers them.  

Depending on the industry, your small business customer onboarding process may be different from the next business. However, this guide will focus on those who work with credit and may have small business customers who purchase small to very large product subscriptions.  

When does onboarding begin? 

There’s some debate over the answer to this question. Many people say that onboarding begins the first time you ever talk to someone who might be a customer in the future. Others will assert that onboarding only begins when someone signs up for a service product. In either case, things get rolling after a small business customer provides you with their information. 

Whether you consider onboarding to start when someone sends your brand a chat or when they start to pay for a service, it’s an important moment for both the customer and the company. We would like to take the middle argument in this case. Onboarding starts when someone makes an account, as they are showing interest in being a customer. 

Reasons onboarding is important 

Onboarding is the moment that sets the stage for the rest of the small business’s interactions with your company. Onboarding is the opportunity for companies to create a positive first impression of their business to the customer. It is also the best chance to communicate the values and benefits associated with the product or service. By taking the time to provide small business customers with the information they need to make an informed decision, it can lead to long-term customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Onboarding is also the best time to set proper expectations and ensure that customers have a good understanding of what they are getting out of the product or service they are signing up for. This effort can also help to reduce customer turnover since customers are more likely to stay with a company if they have a positive first impression.

Even before someone signs up with your company, they often have heard of you from users, seen your website, and read some reviews of your offerings. When they come to you, that’s the time to show them they made the right decision. 

One of the most important parts of onboarding is indicating that you can solve a problem for the user. This is the time to show that you can make life easier and add value to someone’s everyday life. 

However, onboarding is also a time for you to learn more about your customers and who they are. You might be providing educational information, but so should the small business customer. The more you know about the customer, the better equipped you will be to meet their needs.  

Since that is the case, many companies benefit from sending out a market research survey either during or directly after the onboarding process.  

What do small business owners need during onboarding? 

The purpose of customer onboarding is to bring someone on to use your products. The series of steps in onboarding can vary but will often include account activation, welcome emails, video tutorials, product introductions, and customer service options. 

Teaching your small business customer how to start is an important part of onboarding. However, there are also things you may need from the customer yourself. For those who offer credit to customers, whether individuals or businesses, several pieces of information should be supplied to you during onboarding. 

Credit scores 

The time you spend with new customers will depend on what they plan to order and how important they are to your business. This factors into how much credit bureau information you acquire, what financial disclosures are needed, and whether a background investigation is needed.  

There are three classification levels for customers that should be considered in onboarding. These include the following: 

  • Small limits: A decent credit score and application will be enough in this case. Asking for credit card-based payment can also be used instead of having open terms for those with small accounts. The credit card fee is small and can avoid collection issues in the future. 
  • Medium limits: References checks and a standard report are useful for people with a medium limit at your business. Look at whether they tend to pay bills on time. If not, consider whether you want to put other contingencies in place, such as smaller order sizes or upfront partial payments. 
  • Large limits: A financial statement analysis and thorough credit examination are important for customers who make huge offers. The key things to look at are debt burden and liquidity. A credit bureau report and checking supplier references through an application are a good start. 

As you go through this information in onboarding, consider whether the credit is on the low or high end in comparison to the company’s risk tolerance. 

Business data 

It’s also important to look at business data when onboarding a client for credit. Business information encompasses several factors about the customer as a business. It includes things like the company name, address, and identifiers (such as EIN and business license number). Business data also includes the type of entity, contract information, owners’ names and percentage ownership, and other affiliated companies. 

When you onboard someone for credit, it’s best to have them fill out an application through your digital system. This lets you learn all the information you need about a customer before you move forward to making a decision. This application is often the first step of onboarding and will include all the business information you need. 

Documentation 

The third important piece of information needed for onboarding when credit is involved is documentation. This is proof that all the things being provided to you in the application are true. The actual documents you need will vary based on your company, industry, and what products or services you offer.  

However, several things are common to include. Estimated initial order amounts, estimated annual purchases, several trade references, and banking relationships are crucial to get information about. An attorney can review all of the documentation provided before you decide and take someone on as a customer. 

Documentation, business credit scores, risk scores, firmographic data, as well as compliance and risk scores are available for your business in the Markaaz onboarding API, which uses the Markaaz Directory of over 300 million global businesses, 98% of which are small businesses to provide accurate onboarding data to your team.

With the custom integrations available that link into the Markaaz Dashboard, the small businesses you are working with can enable consent-based document sharing from the Markaaz Vault, meaning your enterprise has all of the data it needs to successfully onboard your small business clients.

Contact our team now to learn more about our onboarding APIs.

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Final thoughts 

The customer onboarding process is one of the most essential parts of the customer journey. The main goal is to ensure new users are set up to use the product or service, which may include moving data from one form of software to another where customers learn to use the item they have chosen to purchase. There are many types of information involved in onboarding, and it’s important to keep these things safe and secure. 

Customer onboarding is crucial because it helps reduce the number of customers who stop using your service or product. Remember that a great onboarding process is the first step to creating a successful customer experience. Be sure the process is uncomplicated, streamlined, and capable of addressing all the needs of your customers. 

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Enterprise Blog

How can enterprises use firmographic data?

Accurate firmographic data on businesses drives better results for enterprises

You might already be familiar with demographic data – data that is based on individuals. Demographic assets can be very beneficial to a business.

Examples of these assets include purchasing preferences and contact names for potential customers and current users. This data can help drive various marketing campaigns and sales approaches. 

Firmographic data is similar to demographic data. However, it focuses instead on company data. It goes into depth with data about organizations and businesses.

Our Markaaz firmographic data Directory features over 300 million global businesses, 98% of which are small businesses. With our data, your business can boost its small business onboarding and monitoring rates.

Firmographic data is collected and analyzed to understand how enterprises operate. It can help your enterprise reduce risk, increase profit margins, and provide better services to your target market. We will discuss this in this article. 

What is firmographic data? 

There are many types of firmographic data available. Data fields range from information about a company’s industry to how much growth is expected and where its headquarters are located. Below is a list of many of the commonly used types of firmographic data: 

  • Growth trends – Learn whether a customer business is maintaining growth, downsizing, or growing based on market position with growth trends. Each metric is helpful, but different approaches are needed for each. 
  • Industry type – Whether professional, legal, financial, or logistics, it is essential to understand the industry vertical. Remember that some companies will have more than one vertical, which may make them comparable with customers in various segments. 
  • Ownership framework – Knowing whether an organization is an NGO charity, a nonprofit, a private enterprise, or a public business gives you insight into what market approach is needed. 
  • Organizational size – The company’s size, including staff and physical location, can be helpful to be aware of. 
  • Current location – Knowing where the business headquarters are and where other offices are can help meet customers’ needs. 
  • Revenue and sales – Annual and quarterly sales information is helpful. These can be used for sales strategies, with quarterly data giving insight into current needs. 

The importance of firmographic data  

There are several reasons for enterprises to pay attention to firmographic data. Firmographic data is used to make observations about a company. These observations can be turned into practical actions.

For example, you can review the firmographic data of companies you want to onboard. This will help to verify they are a strong business with the potential to pay for and use your services.

When your onboarding teams, monitoring teams, or executives access firmographic data, it is easy to classify customers.

The classification can be based on growth trajectory, revenue, location, size, or other factors. There’s no need to go in and organize these things specifically before moving forward with a decision. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, all customers are known and sorted. The data fields and alerts are tailored to meet the business’s unique needs. 

Below are several benefits available for businesses that use firmographic data. 

Customer onboarding 

One of the most common reasons to delve into firmographic data is customer segmentation. Data about a customer company can be used to:

1. Retain customers

2. Improve products and services

3. Create better customer success processes

4. Accelerate the adoption of clients and customers.

This all plays into the onboarding process and ensures every customer has what they need when accessing your brand’s services. 

User segmentation is all about grouping customers based on different factors. Examples of these factors include uncompleted goals in the customer journey, product usage, session duration, and NPS scores. Segmentation allows you to understand better customers to tailor your products and services to appeal to them. 

There are many benefits to using firmographic data for user segmentation. For instance, it can boost the loyalty of current customers and help you retain them for a longer period. Businesses can choose from types of segmentation based on need, with options like behavioral, technographic, geographic, demographic, or firmographic. 

You can introduce a personalized onboarding experience for every customer using firmographic data. Segmenting users into groups lets you boost product engagement while improving the use of features and the adoption of your product. Personalization focuses on showing relevant features to customers to be more engaging. 

For example, you could have a segment of your small business customers brought in through welcome screen surveys. All customers in this segment have answered a specific question in a certain way. If there’s an important product feature that will be useful to them, personalized onboarding can provide information about it. 

Business verification 

Business verification is essential for any enterprise that works with other companies. It reduces financial risk and fraud while ensuring a business complies with important rules and regulations.

Compliance and risk officers will have many uses for business verification details in firmographic data. Compliance teams can use it to ensure they know essential data about their customers and clients. Risk officers can use it to onboard and validate additional prospects. 

While it’s possible to manually dig deep into every company to find important details, it can be highly time-consuming, and expensive. Many providers offer firmographic data which will meet your needs. A few of the things provided include: 

  • Verification of business identity 
  • Fraud detection 
  • Verification of tax ID 
  • Regulatory compliance information 
  • Due diligence 
  • Data used for risk assessment decisions 

Due diligence is essential for any business to succeed by onboarding the right companies as clients. Having an easy source of firmographic data is a great place to start. You can easily confirm who your customers are through various types of data on your target business profiles in any industry. The verified data comes from trusted places, so you can feel secure when creating a new business relationship. 

Business activity monitoring 

According to Gartner, business activity monitoring is “the processes and technologies that enhance situation awareness and enable an analysis of critical business performance indicators based on real-time data.”

Business activity monitoring is used to improve the effectiveness and speed of company operations. It does this by constantly being aware of what is occurring within a business and knowing when issues crop up.  

If you’re already making use of firmographic data for other reasons. It can also play into your business activity monitoring process. Not only can you log into a dashboard and get data about your business, but you can also find out about potential and current customers and how their businesses are running.  

The reason business activity monitoring is so crucial comes down to it being available in real time. Unlike other standard reporting tools, this type of monitoring is always up to date. Instead of looking at things monthly, on Markaaz’s Business Activity Monitoring service, you can immediately access information updates about a company and its situation. 

Consider upselling or cross-selling for an example of how business activity monitoring can enhance your business. When you have information about a company, its challenges, and its goals, you can activate your sales team with proof-point and can offer solutions. 

Final thoughts 

Having access to firmographic data is critical for marketing and sales. It offers a way to build personalized content for customers of all types. This data can be found and compiled manually. However, it is easier to work with a company that stores it, always makes it available, and provides relevant data alerts.  

Markaaz helps you access the data you need and can give you a better understanding of how to improve the customer onboarding experience. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn more about how firmographic data can help your brand. We can answer your questions, set you up and get you ready with all the data you want. 

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Enterprise Blog

How to create a frictionless customer onboarding experience

For enterprises today, one of the most critical facets of remaining competitive is offering the best possible customer experience

If you have a product or service that doesn’t meet these increasingly high expectations, it can be a problem. This is why enterprises should focus on creating omnichannel, personal experiences that go above and beyond. 

It’s common for a business to lose customers because of slow or inefficient onboarding. This can result in a loss of revenue and may be hard to come back from. Many customers who undergo a bad onboarding experience will move to another brand. Creating a frictionless onboarding experience can prevent that issue. 

Why onboarding matters 

If you aren’t sure why onboarding is so important, HubSpot has several statistics that back up that fact. For instance, 40 to 60% of people who use a free trial try the product once and never return to it. In addition, most company revenue comes from existing customers, while those who are the happiest act as excellent sources of referrals.  

Retaining your small business customers saves money on acquisition costs and can experience increased revenue. When you build a great relationship with your small business customers, you can share your vision, mission, and values.

A great onboarding process lets customers know who you are, what your products and services do, and why you’re dedicated to their success. 

Personalization should be a priority 

Looking around the market today, you’ll see that modern customers want to experience personalized digital experiences. These include bundled offers, hyper-personalized ads, end-to-end customized journeys, and relevant content. When you put customized onboarding into place, it outperforms generic content considerably. 

Personalization involves taking the insights you have about your small business customers through their business data and leveraging it. Any data you have about your small business customers or potential users should be a part of creating the perfect onboarding experience. 

Thankfully, small business owners have become less wary about sharing information with enterprises. If you ask for it, you’ll likely get great data that helps you create an onboarding experience that speaks to them as small business leaders.  

The Markaaz Dashboard engages small business owners and provides them with a place to correct and update their public-facing data. Our custom APIs can tap into this resource, providing you with the most up-to-date small business information.

Omnichannel experiences are needed 

You may already have personalized journeys for your small business customers. If that’s the case, the next thing to consider is whether you offer an omnichannel experience.

With so many businesses offering online and mobile presence, you must keep up with your competition. It’s even better to offer something beyond what other companies offer. 

A mobile-first strategy is a must, something that is spreading to all sorts of countries. Your onboarding platform or website needs to be modern, with virtual assistant compatibility and mobile apps that can be used on any smartphone.

These technologies will become more highly adopted as time passes, so consider them in your onboarding strategy. 

You need to provide onboarding and access to your services that your small business customers can work with, no matter where they happen to be in the world. If someone starts onboarding using a phone and then moves to a computer to complete it, that should be easy for them to do. Your platform should allow synchronization across face-to-face, phone, chatbot, mobile, and online channels. 

User experience is crucial 

Your small business customers want an omnichannel experience. They also want things to be customized to meet their needs and desires. However, that’s not the end of what you need to provide for frictionless customer onboarding. Most people also expect things to be quick and intuitive. People want to be quickly onboarded and have immediate accounts to use. 

The way to do this is by streamlining, automating, and simplifying the customer experience. However, it’s also essential that this process is intuitive, secure, and robust. If you aren’t sure about which features are useful for these purposes, consider the following: 

  • A user-friendly and human-centered interface is an excellent place to start. This helps ensure that onboarding is frictionless and it’s simple to pass through the sales journey for your customers. 
  • Machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence technologies can also be helpful. These provide a way to upload and update documents to quickly verify customers for your industry’s needs. 
  • Using available information to create pre-populated forms speeds up onboarding. It can move the customer along and avoid the frustration associated with forms. 

Markaaz has a data Directory of over 300 million businesses, 98% of which are small businesses. Data for each company features firmographic, business health, and reputational data, so you can know who you are doing business with.

We offer customer onboarding via easy-to-use APIs and can provide custom services that utilize our small business-focused Markaaz Dashboard to offer direct small business engagement and document sharing.

The back office is essential to consider 

There are many factors associated with customer onboarding that the users see. However, you also want to think about your back office. While customization is critical for customers, the configuration is often more important for the workers at your enterprise. 

When you focus on configuration rather than customization, there’s no need to create personalized code and handle all the maintenance associated with it. This is crucial when you need to quickly update the platform based on analytics discovered as you watch over the customer onboarding process. 

Plus, if technology or requirements change, making fast updates is easier, so you can continually improve the customer onboarding experience. Some other things to be aware of to make the back office flow toward customer needs include: 

  • Customer service should provide workers with all the required information when and as needed. This allows them to move from task to task to help with onboarding, sales, and other vital processes. 
  • The back office should have the means to configure multiple processes for different sectors, segments, and channels. This creates an omnichannel experience that customers can trust. 
  • Low-code workflows with drag-and-drop options to make an order change a cinch are helpful. You can set up custom fields, add or delete steps, and more as needed for the perfect onboarding process. 

Customer service to wrap things up 

Several things create a bad customer experience, such as waiting for a long time on hold, having bad experiences with employees, or not being able to purchase a service or product. It’s your job to ensure the customer journey is smooth so they’re more likely to purchase. 

Customers expect a smooth and straightforward process to get what you are selling. If the process is derailed or there are distractions, it could lead to losing potential customers. Having excellent customer service is part of onboarding that cannot be ignored. 

Think about the ways you can create extra value for customers while ensuring the things they do are easy. Then, simply put those things into place to create a better experience. Remember to go back and check on things on occasion so you can make additional changes as needed. 

Final thoughts 

Part of your small business’s company culture should be prioritizing modern customer success. This means you need a customer onboarding experience where everyone in your business plays a part. Everyone in the business should know the proper steps to frictionless customer onboarding and be ready to support that priority. 

When it comes down to it, customers are the most valuable asset for your small company. When you build a streamlined, functional, and frictionless onboarding process, you start your relationship by showing customers that you care about them and want to see them succeed. This is a great way to increase retention and keep users happy. 

Learn how Markaaz can help you create a frictionless small business customer onboarding experience with our low-code APIs.

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Enterprise Blog

Firmographic data explained: What is firmographic data? 

One of the most basic methods for enterprises to find and approve small business customers is using firmographic data

This data gives insight into a small business’s attributes, operations, and growth potential. Understanding what firmographic data is all about can give you ideas of how to use this info in small business onboarding, monitoring, and beyond. 

Today, we’ll be looking into exactly what firmographic data is, including where it comes from, what it is composed of, and what unrelated data combines well with it for the needs of your enterprise. Regardless of the industry or the products you provide, having access to accurate firmographic data is essential to be successful. 

What makes firmographic data unique? 

Sometimes known as ‘firm demographic data,’ firmographic data is information that pertains to the fundamental characteristics of a business or organization. It is mostly used to research prospects, find a target audience, or monitor already onboarded clients. It includes a variety of points of information, including the organizational structure, number of employees, location, industry, market cap, and performance details of a company. 

As mentioned, much firmographic data is designed as clusters of information that define different segments of a small business’s market segment. Market segmentation can be used for everything from B2B marketing to sales, market intelligence, onboarding and monitoring, and more. 

Where does firmographic data come from? 

The good news about firmographic data is that it’s not always difficult to gain access to it. In most cases, small businesses will have a lot of that information on their online profiles and website.

For public businesses, you’ll find firmographic data on news websites, on their website, in press releases, and throughout earning call reports. It’s a form of self-reported data. It can often be found in tax declarations and public company registers. Social media can also be a method to get some of the data. 

Another source of firmographic data is available from third-party sources. It may be listed or interpreted by other parties and is considered derived data about an organization. 

Finally, some data sources provide what is known as verified data. This is manually verified by an individual or organization. For instance, one person might send questions to personnel at the company in an email or a phone call, and the person working for the company confirms the data. While anyone can go through this process, it can often take up a lot of time and be expensive in practice. 

As an enterprise, you don’t need to waste time becoming a data expert.

In the case of private companies such as small businesses, firmographic data may not be available in the public domain. This requires someone to collect it from other places. Information from social media, press releases, and news articles may be pulled together to get all the needed information about an organization. 

Markaaz’s data Directory features verified businesses to take the hours of research off your plate.

What is firmographic data composed of? 

There are many different data points included under firmographic data. Below is a list of some of the most common attributes associated with this type of data:  

  • Structure of company: Parent companies, delivery centers, headquarters, and subsidiaries. This information can be used to determine the objectives of an organization. As an example, a nonprofit, religious organization, or charity will have very unique objectives compared to a government or profitable organization. 
  • Size of company: Number of employees, the scale of operation, annual revenue in millions, employee range, and revenue range. This is an important part of market segmentation and can be used for marketing, sales outreach, investment purposes, and market intelligence. 
  • Web and social media presence: Website, Twitter page, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, and website grade. 
  • Contact details: Country, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address. 
  • Data about customers: Demographic data, target market, potential customers, client domains, number of clients, and type of clients. 
  • Industry: Primary industry, primary SIC (Standard Industrial Classification) code and description, and NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) code. Industry information is often used as a starting point for market segmentation. 
  • Technology: APIs, operating systems, coding languages, hardware, software, services, tools, and other applications. 
  • Revenue: Revenue range, balance sheet updates, and quarterly or annual turnovers. This provides information for outreach and sales cycles. It can show whether a business is downsizing or expanding and what might happen in the future. 
  • Performance details about the company: Credit rating, annual and quarterly profits, sales numbers, and sales cycle length. 
  • Geographic data: Location of clients, including address, zip code, state, city, country, and region, location of company headquarters, and delivery centers. Data on location can point toward business opportunities, challenges, or growth. 

You can see exactly how much important information is included in firmographic data. However, this isn’t the sole source of crucial data that may be needed. Product views, sentiment, and mentions are not typically included in firmographic data but can give insightful information about how an organization is doing and what problems it may be facing. 

What is not included in firmographic data? 

Small business security woman

As mentioned, firmographic data is important, but it isn’t the only data to be aware of. There are many types of data that you usually will not find when searching for firmographic data. Whether you’re doing manual research or paying for compiled data, make sure you’re aware of what is provided and what might not be. 

Compliance data 

One of the many things that typically isn’t included in firmographic data is information about organization compliance. Data compliance is a form of governance that a business puts in place to ensure it meets all standards, regulations, and laws. It focuses on the management, storage, organization, and possession of information to prevent compromise, misuse, theft, or loss.  

The standards and regulations used by a company will determine what pieces of data should be protected and how this should be done. Compliance information is essential as it shows whether a business is moving forward and keeping things safe and protected or might be cutting corners. Make sure you have this information along with firmographic data. 

AML data 

AML (anti-money laundering) data focuses on the processes, regulations, and laws that a business needs to comply with to avoid financial crime. Money laundering is a method used by criminals to try to hide funds from illicit services, such as terrorist financing, human trafficking, and drug dealing. Any business that moves money needs to comply with AML regulations, part of which means having a compliance program in place. 

Agencies like OFAC, FATF, and FinCEN constantly refine and expand AML laws to ensure companies stay ahead of those who act in bad faith. While it might seem that banks are the only ones who need to comply, that isn’t true. Gaming platforms, financial technology companies, cryptocurrencies, and online marketplaces also need to have the right AFL program available to avoid fines or worse. 

PEP data 

PEP (politically exposed people) are those who are government officials, heads of state, or similar, such as board members of international organizations, central bank governors, high-ranking military officers, high-ranking judges, and senior government executives.

These people have all been entrusted with some sort of prominent public function. Businesses should integrate information about these people as part of their due diligence database. 

PEPs often have a power of influence and power, which makes it more likely for others to target them for bribery and corruption attempts, including terrorism financing and money laundering. As such, using AML measures to manage, mitigate, and identify these risks is important. Unfortunately, this isn’t information you’ll find in firmographic data.  

Business health data 

A final type of data that is crucial but not incorporated into firmographic data is business health data. Many different key performance indicators give insight into how well a specific business is doing. Some of the most common include revenue, direct expenses, overhead, gross profit margin, and net profit margin. Some of these factors are listed in firmographic data, but you’ll need to do the work to put it all together to gain an idea of how a company is doing. 

Of course, these are only the most relevant factors related to business health; the number of clients, amount of growth, market growth, number of employees, and more can also be a part of the equation. Searching out this additional information (or choosing a provider who compiles it for you) is the best way to ensure success. 

Final thoughts 

As you can see, firmographic data offers a ton of benefits to an enterprising business. But it’s important to be sure you have all the types of data you need, firmographic and otherwise. Whether you are in manufacturing, retail, e-commerce, consumer goods, insurance, technology, or something else, data is the key to success. 

There are numerous ways to access firmographic data, such as requesting self-reported data, researching data, or inferring data from public reports. However, the easiest way is to work with a provider who makes the process a cinch. At Markaaz, we offer firmographic data, as well as business health metrics, compliance data, and more. 

Reach out to us today to learn more about our firmographic data options, as well as how we can help streamline customer onboarding for your business.  

Categories
Enterprise Blog

What is business health data?

As an enterprise, you likely already know the importance of data

Firmographic data and demographic data are both priorities for the average successful business. However, there is another kind of data that you should be aware of – business health data.  

When you work with a new small business customer, one of the things you likely look at is their business credit score. This is one form of business health data, but it doesn’t entirely define this sort of information. It’s all about being able to monitor how a business is doing in real time through various types of data. 

This article will go into what business health data is, the different types of information it consists of, and why you should be tracking these things. We’ll also share how you can easily access this data so you can use it in whatever way matters for your enterprise business. 

What is business health data?

There are a variety of types of information that make up business health data. As mentioned earlier, one of them is a business credit score. As an enterprise operation working with small businesses, it’s important to be able to easily see the credit score of potential clients.  

However, this isn’t the be-all and end-all of business health data. A business credit score is only one piece of the pie, showing you how well a small business is doing. Other information, such as a risk score and risk class, are also essential to be aware of. You can browse this information for a more nuanced look at the health of any company. 

Each of these scores is essential for B2B enterprise companies. You have to know whom you are working with so you can make knowledgeable decisions as you move forward. The scores give you an idea of whether a business can repay its debt, loans, or credit.  

While all sorts of businesses can make use of business health data, it’s especially imperative for financial companies. After all, part of the process is deciding on rates for lines of credit, loans, and other financial products. The right health data on a company can help you make intelligent decisions when moving forward with new clients. 

Business credit scores 

A business credit score is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a credit score, but it is connected to a company rather than an individual. In most cases, a business credit score is determined by using the small business’s financial information and some of its firmographic data. This could include everything from amounts owed to past payment history, account information, historical business data, and how many employees are working at a certain company. 

One of the things you’ll notice with a business credit score is that they don’t have the same range as an individual credit score. Instead, most credit scores for businesses range from zero to 100, while those using the FICO Small Business Scoring Service will range from zero to 300. 

Several things distinguish a business credit score from a personal credit score. As mentioned, these scores are more compressed than individual scores, which may range from 300 to 850. In addition, anyone is capable of checking a business score. This is not the case for a personal score, which can only be assessed in specific situations. 

Beyond that, a business credit score uses different factors to be calculated. These include company size, industry risk, debt, and debt usage, age of credit history, and payment history. With an individual credit score, the factors include average length of credit history, credit mix, new credit, amount of debt, and payment history. 

Business risk scores 

Another facet of business health data is a company’s business risk score. These are designed to give you the information you need to make excellent decisions about credit across the small business customer lifecycle. Different brands will have different risk scores based on business failure and business credit. 

The scores are built on pre-recession, recession, and post-recession data. Consumer data, scoring criteria, scorecards based on business size, and tons of attributes play into the business risk score a specific company gets. 

Business risk scores are useful for answering some of the most common questions an enterprise may have when it comes to risk management associated with small business customers. For instance, it can help you answer the following questions:  

    • How likely is it that I will be paid? 

    • When can I expect to be paid? 

    • Is the client having financial problems? 

    • What amount of credit should I provide? 

Depending on the company you use to access business risk scores, you can get a quick and simple glance at risk indicators or dig deeper into more detailed scoring factors.   

Business risk classes 

Finally, as the last piece of the financial puzzle, companies, including small businesses, are sorted into a business risk class. Information from the Small Business Financial Exchange and public records is used to look at a company’s payments to vendors, banks, credit card providers, and more. 

One of the main things to look at when it comes to business risk classes is the payment index. This gives you a quick way to see how likely it is for a small business to make its payments on time. It ranges from zero to 100, with higher numbers associated with companies that are more likely to make payments on time. 

In addition, failure and delinquency scores are used. This gives you an idea of whether a small business will go bankrupt or stop paying bills within the next year. The scores vary, but typically a higher one is better as that means it’s less like a small business will fail or get behind. 

Business risk classes may be used with or in replacement of business credit scores. They range from one to five and have a less detailed view of the risks associated with a certain business. In this case, a lower score is better for an enterprise that is vetting customers. 

Each provider of business risk classes may have nuances, so make sure you check out the details. A five-point scale is typically used, but this may not always be true. Learn about the provider and how they set up this information to get the best results as your business grows and changes. 

Final thoughts 

Business health data is essential for enterprises. It delves into business credit scores, business risk scores, and business risk classes. Some of all of this information can be used to quickly gain information about a small business before offering them credit or being certain they will continue paying for services. 

Markaaz.com offers business health data, so there’s no need for you to seek it out on your own. For enterprise customers using its enterprise onboarding and monitoring services, Markaaz offers a business credit score, business risk score, and business risk class. This helps its enterprise customers make the best decisions about their small business prospects and existing customers.

Data is essential for enterprises like yours. Make sure you have all the data you need on your small business prospects, including business health data, firmographic data, and compliance data, to inform your onboarding and monitoring processes. This will ensure you make the best possible decisions and can move forward with confidence. 

Categories
Enterprise Blog

Customer onboarding pain points and how to fix them

Enterprises across the business and consumer sectors believe customer onboarding must be improved to increase onboarding success. Hany Fam, Founder and CEO of Markaaz, talks through customer onboarding pain points and how to fix them 

Ninety percent of customers think that companies can make the onboarding process quicker and easier, and we agree.  

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, business and individual customers have wholeheartedly adopted fully digital services, particularly in the banking and finance sectors. However, while this adoption has surged some 80-90%, according to Visa, onboarding processes have lagged, causing enterprises to lose customers before they can complete their onboarding journey.  

Enterprises lose customers due to poor onboarding processes that lead to significant customer attrition and exorbitant costs to the company for each customer. Dollar losses are high for enterprises every time customers don’t complete their onboarding journey.   

In addition, enterprises struggle with poor quality, incorrect and outdated firmographic data, compliance data, and business health metrics sources when trying to verify and research their potential customers to onboard. This complexity is only added to when enterprises try to onboard new businesses or solo entrepreneurs with less holistic data history available and whose credit scores may be in their infancy.   

“Time to onboarding and onboarding complexity are two biggest reasons customers abandon an enterprise service part-way through the onboarding process. Trying to create a parallel onboarding process where onboarding time for the customer is shortened and complete customer checks are completed has been almost impossible, up until now,” noted Hany Fam, Founder and CEO of Markaaz.  

Currently, there are no data companies that enable a truly frictionless customer onboarding process or enable better holistic data sets and checks to speed up the verification process. Today’s onboarding processes are filled with silos and roadblocks that must be addressed and cleared, and Markaaz is here to clear them. 

Onboarding time concerns  

According to a whitepaper by Visa, if the digital onboarding process takes longer than 20 minutes, 70% of customers abandon their attempt to open an account, so a significant portion of enterprises today lose most of their potential customers during their onboarding process.    

“Onboarding today takes too long for the modern consumer. They are used to downloading apps and using them immediately, and most do not have the time or the patience to wait for minutes, hours, or days to use the service they are onboarding with,” explained Fam.  

Slow onboarding is, in part, caused by a lack of access to a single, verified firmographic, compliance, and business health database, with many companies relying on several datasets of significantly incorrect and outdated data. To check a potential customer’s business, the enterprise must check the business against all the datasets it has access to, many of which have conflicting data for each company. This contradictory data means onboarding companies must manually verify businesses, which delays onboarding by hours, days, or indefinitely.   

“Bad data means slow onboarding and customer attrition. In our experience, over 80% of data from well-known firmographic data sources is incorrect, outdated, or duplicated, and most do not provide business health or compliance checks. If your focus as an enterprise is small and medium business data or new business data, the large well-known data providers severely lack in this area where we excel,” said Fam.  

One of the solutions to slow onboarding is finding a single source of verified business firmographics, compliance data, and business health metrics. Access to a single good data source can dramatically shorten the enterprise verification process. Even better if the data source has developed real-time APIs that integrate with the enterprise’s back-end onboarding process. Good business intelligence data fed to the enterprise through an API means the customer’s business can be verified almost immediately.  

Documentation gathering is another roadblock to rapid onboarding. It is time-consuming for the business you are onboarding and your onboarding team to gather the correct documentation for the onboarding process. Approximately 68% of documentation must be re-acquired at some point during the onboarding process, adding an unnecessary layer of complexity to an already challenging process.   

Markaaz’s digital small business engagement tools can support collecting and managing documents needed for onboarding new customers. This reduces the need to re-acquire documentation and removes another roadblock to customer acquisition. Markaaz’s onboarding is also offered at vastly superior cost to any alternative available in the marketplace today. 

Cost of onboarding  

Data sources and vendors for onboarding processes cost money. Having to rely on multiple data sources and multiple vendors is even more expensive. Data can cost from $0.25 per business record to thousands of dollars per month for unlimited record access. Multiply that by having to use several vendor datasets, and you are looking at significant annual costs just to try and find correct data on your customers.  

“Finding the right data to do business is not your core focus as an enterprise; you want to be out there selling your products and services. Unfortunately, due to inaccurate firmographic datasets, your teams have had to spend time and resources learning about data and fixing it instead of doing their jobs,” noted Fam.  

There is a high cost to doing roadblock-free customer onboarding using flawed data because your team also has to become experts in data and onboarding, diverting them from your central business function.  

“Your business may focus on selling cards or low-cost international payments, but your team spends all of their energy and time on solving for better onboarding because that’s where you lose out on customers or on servicing them,” explains Fam.  

Onboarding currently costs 5-25 times the amount it costs to retain customers, and in some cases, this cost makes it a challenge to onboard better.  

With Markaaz, you can drive a dramatic reduction in onboarding costs by using our single data source, the Markaaz Directory, which is plugged into our enterprise services, which do the onboarding and monitoring for you.   

Your team can finally get back to doing their jobs and allow our systems to provide the information and decisioning they need when they need it.  

Poor data quality  

From a data perspective, the lack of high-quality and accurate small business data in the datasets of the majority of well-known data providers means that onboarding those businesses is the most challenging for those that wish to target this segment.   

The prevalence of incorrect data in the small business segment means that enterprises and small businesses are missing out. If data is missing about a business, or the business cannot be found entirely due to outdated or inaccurate data records, the heavy lift required by enterprise onboarding teams, faced with dozens of customers, to try and verify and onboard is not worth the financial return.  

This means that many small business-focused enterprises are forced to use multiple data providers to try and get accurate information, driving the cost of small business acquisition up exponentially – and still fail. While the cost to onboard a simple small business is much lower than opening a big account with significant credit limits and services, the data is much harder to get right. Since small businesses do not generate as much income for enterprises as large businesses, for many enterprises, the difficulty of small business acquisition is simply not financially worth it.  

“With a single accurate small business data source, Markaaz is opening up more profitable revenue small business streams for our enterprise partners. Small businesses are now a realistic and easily acquirable source of revenue. With real-time verification and a single data source, you are cutting small business acquisition costs and improving your ability to find, verify, and onboard small businesses,” noted Fam.  

Markaaz aims to bridge the current canyon between enterprises and small businesses with the data they need through a better user experience and user interface that brings them together into a single ecosystem. Through our custom solutions, there is the opportunity to request monitoring consents for non-public data from your small business customers during the onboarding process via the Markaaz Dashboard. 

Drive accurate frictionless onboarding  

With a proprietary dataset that draws from global sources of firmographic data, compliance and AML checks, and business health metrics on over 300 million businesses, 98% of which are small businesses, our technology surpasses what is currently available in the data marketplace.  

“We have reduced the amount of data sources needed for monitoring and onboarding small businesses, created agile automation processes, as well as pre-population and verification behind the scenes of enterprise onboarding and monitoring applications with our integrated APIs, and engaged the end-user in contributing data with a slick UX UI. We have developed the way for our enterprise partners to increase their sales and lower operational costs and burden, and we have done it simply, quickly, and at competitive rates,” said Fam.  

Markaaz’s mission is to bring enterprises and small businesses together at the same table to do business better.  

On the onboarding side, the ability of Markaaz’s customized onboarding solutions to help our enterprise partners have immediate onboarding verification results while being able to tell small businesses what they need for the onboarding process and for the small business to have everything to hand on the Markaaz Dashboard means we have created the single-solution answer to enterprise onboarding challenges.   

We also have monitoring solutions that bring the data you need to check your small business customers’ business health with daily updates of businesses with compliance flags, including Potentially Exposed Person’s lists, sanctions, negative news, and adverse media lists (24/7/365), and monthly notices of updates to firmographics, and business health information.   

Get our Business Activity Monitoring Service in a no-code solution for simple plug-and-play on our Enterprise Portal (link to Enterprise Portal), or talk to our team about our Decisioning and Verification APIs for onboarding and custom solutions.  

Hany Fam, Founder and CEO, Markaaz

Hany Fam is the CEO and founder of Markaaz and a transformational leader with a track record of building global platforms and businesses. He is an Official Member of the Forbes Business Council and a Member of The World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators.

Fam is focused on creating a positive and sustainable impact for small business owners through the world’s first global platform to verify and connect small businesses and the network of partners that support them. Before founding Markaaz, Fam held global leadership roles in business transformation, value creation, and technology, gaining depth of experience in payments, B2B platforms, enterprise partnerships, and SaaS.

He served as CEO of AXA Global Enterprise & Partnerships, Founder & President of Mastercard Enterprise Partnerships, and President of Mastercard UK & Ireland Markets. He also held roles in Applied Technology, including as the CTO of Toshiba International’s Heavy Industrial business in Australasia. Under Fam’s leadership, Mastercard Track was launched, the first and only global trading platform connecting every supplier and buyer on the planet to simplify and automate the exchange of payments and related data. 

 

Categories
Enterprise Blog

How can you improve your customer onboarding process? 

As someone running a business, you likely know the importance of customer onboarding

No matter what kind of business you have, frictionless customer onboarding is an essential process to starting your relationships with customers and clients off on the right foot. 

First impressions matter, and this applies to business as much as personal relationships. When someone first encounters your business, that initial perception of the brand to going to have a huge impact on how you’re seen in the future. In some cases, it may even impact how long someone stays with the company. 

Talk to our team to learn how we can help you onboard better.

What do customers want from onboarding? 

Customers want an onboarding process that teaches them to use a service or product while gaining value from it. They also want it to be quick and painless. It’s as simple as that. However, it can be more challenging to define depending on your specific business, which products and services you offer, and the customers who come to you for a solution. 

The main goal of an onboarding process is to get your customers to continually use your product. You want your product to be so much a part of everyday life that people need to use it. After you create that level of value, the customer’s lifetime value increases, and customers can turn into advocates. 

Reasons customers step back from a business 

Reduce customer onboarding churn

You could have the best possible product available, but if you can’t show that value to customers, they’re going to move on to something else. Reducing churn is important, but you also need to be aware of why it occurs in the first place. In many cases, that relates to the customer onboarding process, as seen in the following: 

  • A bad customer experience occurs. 
  • Customers are unsure how to use your project. 
  • Poor user experience or unneeded features overwhelm customers. 
  • They don’t experience value from using your product. 
  • Bugs or features that don’t work cause frustration. 
  • The onboarding process is too long or cumbersome 

Not all customers will stick around. Some will move to competitors, while others may no longer need what you have to offer. However, decreasing churn is important while also bringing in new customers through marketing and sales.  

In addition, the tips below to improve your customer onboarding can help. It keeps customers interested in what you are selling and ensures they succeed through the help of your products and services. 

#1: Start onboarding early 

Some companies don’t begin onboarding until after a lead is a customer. However, that’s too late for many. The moment someone downloads a free tool or signs up for a trial is time to start the onboarding process.  

Even if the free tool has little to do with your paid products, automated onboarding is quick to set up and lets you introduce your business. The sooner someone has access to the success possible with your product, the more likely they are to become a paid customer. 

Product tours are one method of sharing the services or products that you offer. Make sure you loop in a way for customers to get answers to questions or consider sending out a series of tips to their inboxes, so they have support whenever it’s needed. 

#2: Introduce customer success 

As you work to get payments from potential customers, you should also prepare users to work with customer success. There should never be a moment when a user doesn’t know what to do next. A formal handoff in a meeting with a member of sales can introduce the customer to the product and the team behind it. 

It’s best to have this occur as early as possible. However, if nothing else, this meeting should occur when a contract is signed by the customer. If you use excellent customer success management software, this transition is simple. It can be booked automatically, and all the information sent out to those who will be a part of the introduction. 

#3: Personalize processes 

As you move a user through the process of becoming a customer, they often answer questions through surveys or web forms about themselves or the company they represent. This information, as well as any other data you have about customers, can and should be used to personalize the onboarding experience. 

Let’s say you have a dozen features incorporated into your product or service, but one customer only needs three of them. Your onboarding process for that person can focus largely on the features they are most likely to use. After they know how to use those features, you can provide insight into how to use other features with the ones that are already in use. 

#4: Offer a self-serve onboarding option 

Some users prefer to learn about things on their own rather than having someone teach them. It’s a great idea to facilitate that through a checklist in the product or an email. This lets them work through things on their own but leaves the option open to reach out if they need additional help. 

Many people like to find answers on their own. For instance, about 90% of consumers will watch a video to learn about an app or product. Some of the support sections to include on your site are: 

  • How-to videos for features in your product 
  • Useful articles through a knowledge base 
  • A search function 
  • FAQs to find answers to the most common questions 

#5: Reach out  

Every small business has different products and services, so we can’t say what your milestones are. However, you can come up with them on your own if you know what customers expect and want to achieve using the products you offer them.  

Let’s say you have an email app, and it’s used to send bulk messages out to clients. You might use that as a way to determine when to reach out. After they send out that first mass message, you could send them a message of congratulations for making it that far. These messages can delve into extra features that will be useful in the future.  

#6: Acquire feedback 

As you work to create a better onboarding experience, it’s crucial to know what’s working well and what’s not. Asking customers about these things is a good place to start. You could call them for check-in, send them a survey about features they use, or email them asking for feedback. 

Once you have feedback available, make sure you use it. This shows customers that you care what they think. If you can quickly do something to improve onboarding or answer a question, make that a priority.  

Even customers who have stopped using your products may have great input for the future of your small business. Reach out and see what these people have to say. You may find out new ways to retain customers or learn about features that people want to see in our services. 

Final thoughts 

When you have an excellent onboarding process, it gets things off to a fantastic start with customers. It can be the start of a beautiful relationship where the customer is happy with you. With so much emphasis on first impressions, improving your onboarding experience is a great way to improve your business and ensure its success in the future. 

Even if you already have an onboarding process, there’s nothing to say that you shouldn’t make changes to improve it. While this can take some time, it will help things run more efficiently and could save time in the future. If your onboarding process is something you haven’t put a lot of thought into, now is a good time to change that. 

Markaaz has developed a customer onboarding API that is powered by our proprietary database of over 300 million global businesses, 98% of which are small businesses. Our low-code API plus directly into your onboarding flow to give you real-time verification of your potential customer’s firmographic data, business health metrics, and compliance and AML standing.

Talk to our team to get a walkthrough of our enterprise onboarding solutions or to learn more.

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Enterprise Blog

How you can help to empower the Black workforce 

Access to education and training is essential to empower the Black workforce and drive more Black leadership,” said Brye McMillon, DMin, Senior Security Manager, and engaged Leader of the Black Excellence Council at Lockheed Martin

Despite racial achievement gaps significantly shrinking since they first started being measured in the 1970s, there is still a long way to go for Black students in the USA before they have the same access to education as white students across all states. Racial achievement gap analysis is crucial to determine whether students of all races have good access to education, and Stanford University drives the research.   

Brye McMillon, DMin, Senior Security Manager, and engaged Leader in the Black Excellence Council at Lockheed Martin, says that he has seen a considerable change in education and access to opportunities for the Black workforce since he first joined the workforce in the late 1970s, but despite this, the USA has not quite reached equal opportunities for all.    

“I think there has been a significant move to the right for good concerning inclusion, equity, and diversity in the workplace. It has been monumental. Education, opportunities, promotions, advancement, all those things have improved, and you see more diversity now in the workplace. We’re almost where we ought to be, although there is still an underpinning of folks who do not support diversity, equity, and inclusion,” McMillon noted.   

Equal opportunity access 

Opportunity and education access has significantly surged since 2010, allowing more Black students to gain better opportunities and career paths to leadership roles. However, one of the biggest challenges is that those areas that can pay more taxes have better schools and options for students. In contrast, lower-income areas with more public schools have reduced growth opportunities, fewer experienced teachers and equipment access, and more.

“I graduated high school in Orrville, Alabama. The level of education was not very good, and I still succeeded. If you are motivated and push, you can succeed despite poor education, but it is more of a challenge. Education has moved a long way, but there are still locales that don’t have a great school system,” explained McMillon. “How do we fix that? If we truly want a diverse workforce, we must figure out how to not just level the playing field but offer an equitable education level for every child. Then the cream will rise to the top. But what is left on the bottom still must be drunk. What you want is a system that educates everybody but allows those who are advanced and moving fast to still move without leaving others behind.”    

During the Bush era, he had the slogan, “No Child Left Behind.” According to McMillon, this sounded good but didn’t impact the Black child living in Orville, Alabama, because nothing changed. Politics at the national level must result in change at the local level when it comes to education. The next step for our states to focus on is getting every child through the education system from first grade to finishing high school.    

“We must motivate Black children in high school to become Black leaders. In the Black community, everyone wants to be Michael Jordan or Kobe. Very few will ever get close to that dream. They get to college, cannot make the basketball team, and leave college because they have nothing to aspire to. I believe corporate America must take some responsibility to help educate and develop people. Personally, I’m called to engage with schools at every level to grow corporate leaders, starting in middle school to make sure they see that Black leadership is attainable, admirable, and something you ought to aspire to,” said McMillon.  

Corporate America must step up  

Corporate America at the executive level must make changes and develop Black leaders. To do that, corporate America’s leaders must figure out what level of recruitment they need at the bottom. According to McMillon, they need to understand what qualifications, what education, and how many students they need to bring in at the bottom to ensure that a certain number succeeds through to mid and high-level management.    

Corporate America must have education and development that is equal across all functional areas and that allow equality and equity in advancement so that when the Black workforce gets to mid-level management, there is sufficient representation of qualified candidates for senior-level management, which allows for equitable representation at the executive level.    

“Once one person succeeds, it opens up more opportunity for others who look and act and sound like that person who succeeded,” said McMillon.    

It is also essential for businesses or leaders to have a presence in the community.    

“You must be seen and engaged. You must be caring and concerned. Just your presence and building relationships will inspire someone to want to know more about you and why you do what you do, which can change and advance the entire community,” explained McMillon.   

The Black Excellence Council is one of Lockheed Martin’s Business Resource Groups (BRGs). The company’s BRGs and employee networks are key components of workplace inclusion programs, providing a direct benefit to both employees and the corporation through professional development, awareness, and education. Lockheed Martin’s BRGs are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster a diverse and inclusive workplace aligned with our organizational mission, values, goals, and business practices.

Brye McMillon, DMin, Senior Security Manager, and engaged Leader in the Black Excellence Council at Lockheed Martin

Brye McMillon, DMin, Senior Security Manager, and engaged Leader in the Black Excellence Council at Lockheed Martin

Brye McMillon is currently serving as the Senior Security Manager, Southern Region, for Lockheed Martin Space Company, Huntsville, Alabama. In this role, Brye provides security management,  leadership, and oversight for a team of Security Professionals throughout the Southern Region. He is a leader of leaders and is focused on the development and well-being of his team. Brye is a leader in every aspect of life. When not leading at Lockheed, Brye is the President of a Not-for-Profit entity dedicated to caring and development of the individual and community in which he lives. Additionally, he serves as Pastor at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, Athens, Alabama.  He is a 30-year retired Air Force Veteran and holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Liberty Theological Seminary. He is a Graduate of the FBI National Academy and holds a Graduate Certificate in Higher Educational leadership from Northcentral University, Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Enterprise Blog Small Business Blog

Beating burnout: Insight from Thrive’s Arianna Huffington

We sat down with Thrive Global’s CEO and Founder, Arianna Huffington, who is bringing mental health awareness and tips for beating burnout to companies across the globe after her 2007 collapse from sleep deprivation

 

Why is burnout at an all-time high?   

The pandemic accelerated a mental health crisis we were already facing. Now, we’re in a period of profound transformation. Everything about the way we work, and the place of work in our lives, is being questioned, challenged, and redefined.   

Everywhere we look, we see the signs of a continuing crisis of stress and burnout – not only in our work but every aspect of our lives. According to the CDC, nearly one-quarter of American adults are now taking prescription drugs for mental health conditions. Eighty-four percent say their workplace conditions have contributed to at least one mental health challenge. People everywhere are looking for a sense of meaning, purpose, and belonging — to be a part of something larger than themselves.   

At the same time, I’ve never been more confident that we can fully deliver on our mission to end the stress and burnout epidemic. We’re in the middle of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly change how we live and work. We know people want change. We can see it in trends like quiet quitting — a rejection of burnout and hustle culture, but not a solution.  

The answer is to use all the tools at our disposal — cutting-edge AI, ancient wisdom, storytelling, Microsteps, connection, and community — to create a world where people are engaged in their work but not defined by it.  

How can managers and team leads recognize and address burnout in their teams?   

It starts with recognizing and addressing their own signs of burnout. There’s a reason why airline attendants always instruct us that, in the case of an emergency, we’ll be most able to help others if we secure our own oxygen masks first.   

Managers and team leads need to move beyond the misguided belief that in urgent times leaders need to be always on and drive themselves into burnout to meet the challenges. What is expected of leaders is judgment, not sheer stamina.   

Then, managers and team leads need to emphasize employee mental health. In the past three years, leaders have seen firsthand the growing mental health crisis and responded to the urgent need for employers to support the well-being of their employees.  

As we continue through challenging times, including, in many cases, massive layoffs that are also leaving remaining employees with a sense of survivor’s guilt, we need to reaffirm this commitment and prioritize the well-being and mental health of our employees. We must support them through the uncertain times that lie ahead and maintain our investments and commitments in this critical area. Because it’s in times like these that organizations most need to nurture their collective resilience.  

At Thrive, our approach to behavior change is all about Microsteps — small, science-backed steps we can take to build better habits.  

One of my favorite Microsteps as a leader is to open a meeting or one-on-one with a personal question rather than a work-related one. It allows us to go deeper, be more authentic, and forge a deeper connection. 

Have you reached burnout yourself, and how did you cope?  

Thrive grew out of my own experience with burnout. After I collapsed from sleep deprivation and exhaustion in 2007, I became more and more passionate about the connection between well-being and performance. In 2016, I launched Thrive to help individuals, companies, and communities improve their well-being and performance – and debunk the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success.   

One of my favorite ways to minimize and address burnout both within Thrive and with our customers is with Thrive Reset, which allows us to course-correct and lower our stress in just 60 seconds. Thrive comes preloaded with 60-second Resets on themes including breathing, stretching, gratitude, and more. You can also create your own personal Resets with images that bring you calm and joy — your children, pets, landscapes — as well as quotes that inspire you and music you love.  

At Thrive, we’ve even brought Reset into our meetings, beginning each of our All Hands with a different team member sharing their personal Reset with the rest of the company. Instead of launching straight into updates and announcements, we get an intimate glimpse of our colleagues by being brought into their world — the people, the music, and the quotes they love.  

It’s incredible how much we can learn about each other in 60 seconds. I’m passionate about meeting people where they are and embedding these moments of well-being and connection into people’s workflow via tools like Thrive for Microsoft Teams and Thrive for Slack.  

What is Thrive’s whole-human approach to addressing burnout, and what results have you seen from companies using your methods?  

Our whole-human approach brings together the six key aspects of our lives that intersect with each other to create healthy habits and a healthy life: Recharge, Food, Move, Focus, Money, and Connect. We bring this behavior change together with the cultural activation that embeds well-being into the fabric of our customers’ employee experience and workflow. We’re building cutting-edge products used by companies like Accenture, Pfizer, Microsoft, Salesforce, Bank of America, Cisco, Hilton, P&G, Paramount, and Walmart.   

However, even the most innovative and sophisticated software can’t transform a company’s culture if it’s not integrated into employees’ daily lives. It then needs to be paired with leadership that role models and inspires behavior change and an acknowledgment that we are more than our work.  

That’s why I’m so grateful to be working with forward-thinking partners who are leading the culture shift, bringing Thrive’s whole human approach to their companies so that we can support their people at work and at home — as parents, as caregivers, with their sleep, food, and movement as well as in their relationships (including their relationship with their phones!).  

Again and again, we’re seeing clear evidence that helping employees reduce stress, connect to their larger sense of purpose, and make time for the things that bring them joy, in turn, helps drive greater business performance.  

Six years after our launch, we now have a data engine that proves the idea I founded the company on: that taking care of our well-being actually improves our performance. Employees engaging with the Thrive platform have seen the following:  

    •  76% increase in productivity  

    •  102% increase in engagement  

    •  104% increase in burnout prevention  

    •  233% increase in stress management   

What does the partnership with Markaaz bring to Thrive, and what do you hope to bring to our audience?   

Companies can no longer afford to see employee mental health as a warm-and-fuzzy perk. It’s a strategy for success. What I love most about this partnership is that we’re bringing this shift to life for businesses together. Now, the small and large businesses that Markaaz connects with will also be able to connect to the Thrive platform and its full range of real-time stress-reducing tools, inspirational storytelling, and science-backed Microsteps to help people build better habits.   

It’s happening at the perfect time. According to Gallup, seven out of ten people globally struggle with mental health issues. We’re facing an epidemic of stress and burnout. In times of constant change and uncertainty, employees are clamoring for more well-being and mental health support. I’m thrilled that our partnership will be meeting people where they are by embedding Thrive’s solutions into their workflow through Markaaz’s Dashboard.  

 

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Enterprise Blog

Frictionless customer onboarding – what is it? 

When a business acquires new customers online, the onboarding process is a crucial part of the journey.

Someone might be interested in your products or services and want to move forward, but they aren’t yet a customer.  

If there is unneeded friction or a reason that the decision should be rethought, this person might walk away and choose another company for what they need. If your onboarding process is inconvenient, complex, or slow, the chances of someone abandoning the company will increase.  

As a business, many industries need to verify who their customers are and ensure they meet all regulatory requirements. This cuts the risk of fraud and money laundering, but it also makes a potential customer jump through hoops. 

The best thing you can do is offer a frictionless customer onboarding experience. However, it’s also essential to have oversight and security functions to protect the business itself. 

 

What is frictionless customer onboarding? 

 Everyone has heard the phrase “the customer is king.” Business owners know that keeping customers happy is an integral part of success. This means giving them an experience they can count on. According to Oracle, over 85% of customers will pay more to get a better experience. 

When you create a frictionless onboarding process, you take time to discover and eliminate all points of friction that a customer might run into ad reduce customer churn. This isn’t a simple one-and-done process, however. It’s something ongoing and prioritized to reduce customers’ frustrations and make it easier to onboard. 

The number one reason to create frictionless onboarding for customers is so there are no obstacles in the way of them taking their desired action so you can improve your customer retention. You make the process comfortable and simple, which lets them share their details, expectations, and goals without anything popping up as a challenge. 

The most important reasons to have a frictionless customer onboarding experience 

As you likely expect, making changes to your onboarding process takes time and effort. That’s why you want to ensure that the work to reduce friction is worth it. Creating a frictionless customer onboarding experience is an intentional effort that continues throughout the life of your business.  

If you aren’t sure why it’s worth creating a frictionless customer experience, the points below will give you some helpful insight:  

    • Exceed expectations: Customers expect a specific experience when onboarding with a business. Hitting that level is required but going beyond shows that you genuinely care about your potential customers. Investing in a frictionless experience for customers ensures you exceed expectations time and time again. 

    • Improve satisfaction: When a potential customer wants something from you and chooses to onboard, you want to be sure that the process is seamless. If it isn’t, the person might walk away and never become a customer. When you work to create a frictionless experience, there are no roadblocks, and people are happier. 

    • Enhance retention: Providing a seamless onboarding experience pleases customers and gives them a reason to stick with your brand. In addition, frictionless onboarding can lead to better brand loyalty and word of mouth, which creates additional customers. 

What causes friction during customer onboarding? 

The purpose of onboarding is to identify customers who could be fraudulent while providing an excellent user experience. Businesses with complex and time-consuming onboarding processes often experience the loss of potential customers. This causes customers to abandon the process before the account is created. 

 It may not be immediately apparent how big of an issue account abandonment is. However, the numbers give you a better idea of why a frictionless experience is essential for your business. Most organizations have around a 65% completion rate for the onboarding process. That is calculated at 35% of customers who never complete the account creation. 

Striving for a frictionless experience can bump up your numbers and ensure that your system has as many customers as possible. Below, we’ll share a few of the best ways to create this seamless experience so you can enjoy the benefits of providing an experience that customers appreciate. 

How to get started with a frictionless customer onboarding experience 

Customer onboarding is all about welcoming new people to your platform. It is also composed of answering their questions, addressing their concerns, and ensuring they completely understand your services. Frictionless customer onboarding lets you engage someone from the moment they learn about your brand until they become loyal customers. 

Make use of data 

The more accurate firmographic data you have about a potential user’s company and leadership, the easier it will be to sell to them and verify their business standing. This speeds up onboarding and is also one of the reasons that personalization is a massive topic in businesses. It’s a great way to keep prospects on track.  

For instance, when you send out newsletters, you can call each person by name. Or you might send out a personalized birthday message on their special day. This shows that you know and care about your users by simply using their names to refer to them. 

Of course, basic information like names and birthdays is only the tip of the iceberg. You want to know what challenges and pain points they experience so you can find solutions. Personalization improves user experience and can increase retention by 5%, according to Invesp. 

Focus on your users 

Most customers aren’t going to care very much if you have the latest technology. However, they do care about what experience you provide and the value it offers. Technology is great, but it doesn’t matter unless it creates that seamless customer experience people desire. 

To ensure users are happy, use a minimalist platform without unnecessary elements with a professional, sleek layout. Incorporating whitespace can be a great start, as it gives the user’s eyes somewhere to rest and can prevent the person from getting overwhelmed. 

Another thing to incorporate is transparency. This applies to what the business is, the processes used, and the services and products offered to customers. Even if you encounter a problem, do what you can to own it rather than make an excuse. 

Prioritize mobile 

Almost everyone today has a smartphone. When you do not optimize for mobile, that can cause you to lose many potential customers. Mobile optimization is a crucial element that can be used to build a robust platform and gain credibility.  

Many things go into mobile optimization, such as responsiveness on various screens and devices, the page speed of the platform, and more. If videos and images are part of the package, these should be compressed as much as possible while offering outstanding performance. 

This plays into a frictionless customer onboarding experience since the user needs to do less to get things done. If friction is at any of these junctions, it can frustrate users, and they may leave and never come back. With mobile users soaring, make sure they have a fantastic onboarding experience. 

Think customer service 

Creating a great self-service experience is essential for frictionless customer onboarding. It helps reduce friction as customer service is always there to help. Everything related to your business hinges on including excellent customer support services. 

Consider methods to increase the value of the customer journey and simplify every process you can. For example, you could include a live chat or user knowledge base. Rather than waiting for a call, let customers know that you can call them back at a specific time of their choosing. 

Customers want a smooth, simple, and fast experience. Distractions and roadblocks can prevent them from continuing their journey. You can expect more revenue, a better retention rate, and an improved bounce rate when you get this right. But remember that this is ongoing, and it takes effort to keep things running smoothly. 

Add automation 

When you incorporate automation into your onboarding, it can save you stress and improve the customer experience. This could be as simple as integrating things like chatbots. No matter what solution you choose, fine-tune as needed to get the best outcome. 

When running a business, there are many things you can automate to ensure users are engaged at all times without ditching your brand. Plus, users enjoy automated payment systems, which can play into making a better profit than you might otherwise.  

Final thoughts 

There are many reasons to prioritize a frictionless customer onboarding experience as the head of a small business. This customer journey stage is the most important since it takes interested parties and turns them into customers. Once that’s complete, repeat sales and referrals could be at your fingertips. But that will only occur if onboarding is short, clear, and manageable. 

Understanding the customer onboarding experience, thinking about ways to make it less complicated, and implementing methods to improve onboarding can offer various benefits for your business. There’s great power in a seamless and smooth onboarding process, so it’s worth putting effort into.

Learn how you can enable frictionless customer onboarding using Markaaz’s firmographic data APIs. Talk to our team to learn more.


Categories
Enterprise Blog

Frictionless onboarding: Turning a myth into reality 

Frictionless customer onboarding is a buzzword in the Fintech community that has not been achieved – yet. We talk to Rob MacColl, Chief Commercial Officer at Markaaz, to get his expert perspective 

Frictionless customer onboarding is the ability for enterprises to bring on a client in a minimal amount of time, with the least possible effort. The longer the onboarding time is, or the more complicated it is, the higher the cost of onboarding per customer and the greater the customer attrition.  

“The theory in the marketplace goes that if you can say yes to a customer in three minutes, they’ll always respond with a yes; if you wait five minutes, you lose a certain percentage; if you wait seven minutes, you lose a larger percentage. If you make them wait 10 minutes, you’ll never get them onboarded,” noted Rob MacColl, Chief Commercial Officer at Markaaz.  

Today’s small business client is used to downloading apps on their phone and being able to start using the app immediately. This puts companies that need proper onboarding procedures at a disadvantage, for example, lending companies, insurance, banking, and more, because their potential customers are used to immediacy.   

“The whole point of the Fintech revolution is speed and agility. You need to bring customers on in a way that is not too burdensome. If a small business customer has too many clicks and must provide too much information when being onboarded, they’re just not going to buy the product,” explained MacColl.  

The quicker and more agile your business onboarding is, the better your retention rates and product uptake is. The frictionless customer onboarding premise is that multiple technical onboarding processes are done in the background as the potential customer fills in their information. So, while the customer experience is seamless and frictionless, the back end is incredibly complex.  

“In the current world, a business may have to go back three or four times with more documents to get underwritten for a bank account. In this new world, the process would be very tight and automated, and the business can get access to the services they need without much time and effort,” stated MacColl.  

Frictionless customer onboarding: Enterprise benefits 

Frictionless onboarding

Frictionless customer onboarding is a no-brainer for enterprises; they can scale up more quickly, onboard more clients in a shorter timeframe, provide a better customer experience, less risk, lower the cost of onboarding through fewer resources, and ultimately bring in more revenue. However, getting to the point of frictionless customer onboarding is still not easy, and only a few companies are truly addressing the problem in a simple way.   

“If you can create a frictionless, well-communicated way of onboarding your clients, it means less cost to the enterprise. Frictionless customer onboarding can also ease regulatory burdens by automating or reducing touchpoints of documentation as well as ensuring client access is minimized. So, you need to develop a tool that enterprises can show to their regulators that indicates that they’re doing the right thing from an oversight point of view,” explained MacColl.   

Simplification and ease 

Frictionless customer onboarding applications must be able to create a positive experience for the consumer that signing up for a product or service is simple. In the background, the processes that make it seem simple might be complicated. The internal team might have done five or six document checks and then cross-checked them. If something came up incorrectly, they went back and asked for more information. However, what you want to see for the consumer is an easy experience.   

“Credit cards are a great example of the seamlessness needed in onboarding. With your credit cards, you go into a store, swipe, you take home your goods. That’s all you know. In the background, transactions are going back and forth. There are authorizations clearing the settlement. A lot is going on in the background to make that happen. But for the consumer, it’s just great and simple,” stated MacColl. “Markaaz is a great example of what’s out there in the frictionless customer onboarding space. It’s a great solution because we give you better information from the start of the interaction between the enterprise and the small business. So, that is why the Markaaz Dashboard is so cool.”

Simplification and ease of onboarding are what the enterprise Fintech sector needs to take its customer acquisitions to the next level quickly.

The Markaaz Dashboard is where small businesses can easily store all the correct business information they need to be onboarded and directly access the enterprise services they need through applications embedded in the Dashboard. This is designed to provide a seamless and frictionless onboarding experience for Markaaz’s partners and its small business Members. It also helps build a strong, ongoing relationship as business owners’ needs evolve and they require new services.

We have also developed low-code, automated APIs to help you verify your customer lists and help you onboard faster.

Talk to our team to learn more about our customized frictionless customer onboarding solutions and become a partner.

To keep our enterprise partners in the loop, we have developed a new enterprise-focused newsletter, Markaaz Moments. If you are interested in receiving our monthly newsletter featuring exclusive Markaaz updates, news, views, and global enterprise interviews, sign up here.

Categories
Enterprise Blog

Why businesses should care about verification 

Accurate business verification drives business success

Here are three reasons all businesses need to care about verification:

  1. Verifying suppliers means mitigating risk. 

Regardless of the size of your business, one weak link in your supply chain could equal missed opportunities, decreased sales, and the potential for long-term reputational and financial loss. Yet, the Business Continuity Institute found in its report that half of the companies it surveyed still fail to carry out sufficient due diligence on critical suppliers.

  1. Verification builds credibility and trust.  

Not knowing who you can trust online is a significant problem many businesses face. Supplier fraud is rampant, especially for small businesses. Almost 40% of business fraud starts from outside forces, such as vendors or suppliers. And when companies rely on Google searches and other online research to verify potential suppliers, the risk of fraud increases.   

As a result, having a business that’s highly visible online isn’t sufficient. Just because other companies can find you easily doesn’t mean they will feel comfortable working with you or purchasing your products. Verification differs from being online and can be a powerful tool to help your business overcome these reservations.   

  1. Verification leads to better business relationships.   

As important as attracting new customers and business partners may be, nurturing the relationships you have already established may matter even more. Strong supplier relationships, particularly, can be successful for small and large businesses.   

When you take the time to verify your business, you make it easier for those you contract with to build trust and confidence in your partnership.  

The bottom line 

With over 300 million business listings in our Directory, Markaaz is doing its part to build a trusted community, connecting businesses of all sizes. Create an account today to claim your business listing and add an extra layer of trust to your business.