Rebates are a common theme amongst most companies. Sellers and buyers alike are well versed in the age-old business principals enshrined in rebate programs.
The principal is relatively simple – sell more to get more. Whether that is through the promotion of new products or incentivized pricing, it is a pretty-straight forward concept.
We have all been faced with the option of “Buy one get one free”, “Buy one and get 50% off on your second item” or “One day only specials.”
Nothing too complex about that for the actual consumer; clear and easy to understand and a pretty good deal in most cases, right? Often the complexity is in the agreement between the manufacturer and their customers and how they sell products. These are typically incentives between manufacturers and retailers that are setup to encourage and drive further purchases of products by their customers who then in turn sell it to the end consumer.
There is a huge amount of time and effort to set these rebate programs up, measure them, track performance and report on their success to decide whether they resonated with customers and achieved the desired results. Often, the hidden complexity with rebates is one can’t see or understand the scheme, and can turn what started out as a good idea to create a win-win-win (for manufacturer, seller and consumer), into an administrative nightmare.
Take the average rebate scheme and multiply it over a number of their partners that a manufacturer offering the rebates has to contend with. This complexity grows as more partners need to be managed across different regions along with the variety of products being sold. Seasonality also plays a huge part – which all contributes to calculating, forecasting and promoting different rebate programs. Different rebates schemes between partners is also possible. All of this adds up to a huge management challenge with multiple layers of complexity. Time, effort and costs all go in to ensure that these are successful.
A rebate management program is not typically native to an ERP system or off the shelf financial accounting package. All of this means that companies have found ways to manage them on the edge of the business, typically through excel spreadsheets or in some cases a “home-grown” system that can bring its own challenges.
Suddenly a “buy one – get one free” incentive takes on a brand-new complexity to implement, manage and monitor.
The good news is that these problems are not insurmountable, and with a good partner, they can actually be catered for, measured and tracked with an intelligent, fully integrated rebate management solution in a relatively seamless manner, providing close to real-time information on campaigns while removing manual capture (time) and potential errors from the process.
It’s important that the right tools are brought to bear in the case of rebate management, to ensure the best results and to manage key stakeholders. There are a number of pivotal elements that go into a successful rebate campaign besides the actual campaign itself:
- Integration of key information, such as sales and inventory data, between manufacturers and customers operating different systems is key in providing feedback to both parties. Obtaining as close to live information as possible is a must in order to obtain the insightful and valuable data to track the campaign.
- Once the accurate data is obtained, visualization of the results gathered allows for comparisons and benchmarking against expected outcomes and goals for each use case, whether that be to build a key relationship with a partner through a bespoke incentive, new product launch or volume selling – which all contribute to customer behaviour, loyalty and success.
- Ability to adjust the campaign quickly and easily based on the results coming back is no less important. If the likely success of a campaign can be understood whilst being promoted, it is possible to adjust it to provide a better chance of achieving ROI.
- The ability to share results in real-time, offers complete visibility to manufacturers who want to ensure products are being sold but also, offers the same visibility to their customers who want to measure the performance against rebate targets and tier structures.
With the technology available today, the thought and processes that go into a successful rebate campaign no longer need to be left to chance and don’t have to be looked at in isolation or after the fact. A more data driven, connected, efficient and collaborative approach can see better decisions being made through the process to the benefit of all.
Contact me if you would like to find out more about how Proagrica can help reduce your manual process of managing complex rebate programs.
Peter Leppan, Regional Director EMEA
“Strategic business development, people management, establishing teams and business growth are the focus areas that have seen me build my skills set over the last 20 years. Creating long term relationships with customers in the e-Commerce, Fin Services and Agri Space has seen the businesses I have lead in both the South African and United States and now across EMEA grow year on year. With a focus on creating connectivity (integration) for access to data to provide the building blocks for big data and analytics on that big data it’s an exciting place to be. End to end understanding of supply chain, logistics as well as the financial world and how they all come together as an integrated ecosystem to deliver value to the company and its customers.”