3 Pillars of a Successful Rebate Strategy: Manageable
Ever tried to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded? It’s challenging, time-consuming and undeniably error-prone – a wholly unsustainable way to approach such a complex task. That's what navigating a complicated and impractical rebate strategy can feel like.
This is where rebate expert Mark Gilham’s third pillar of a successful rebate strategy comes in. So far, we’ve discussed two critical pillars: SMART and commercial. You’ve learned the importance of setting measurable goals and making sure the math adds up. However, as Gilham asserts, a rebate strategy is only as strong as it is manageable.
In this blog, we delve into what it means to have a “manageable” rebate strategy, how to overcome complexity in your programs and processes, and why manageability is the linchpin of an effective rebate strategy.
What is a Manageable Rebate Strategy?
The essence of a manageable rebate strategy lies in its simplicity. Simply put: it’s about creating simple deals that can be managed with ease, for the benefit of your teams and your trading partners.
Maintaining manageability in your rebate strategy involves two critical elements:
- Orchestrating deals and processes that avoid complexity for both systems and customers
- Leveraging the right tools to manage, analyze and collaborate on your rebates
Both are essential to creating a simple, sustainable rebate strategy that promotes clarity and understanding, streamlined collaboration, operational efficiency and, of course, deal performance.
Creating Manageable Rebate Programs
Businesses often struggle with intricate processes and complicated systems when managing rebates – and the higher the volume of complex deals you have, the more challenging the problem becomes. Their customers, however, face a unique struggle: convoluted and unclear rebate terms. This is where our critical third pillar comes into play.
Rebate complexity not only hinders internal teams, but can also leave customers confused and frustrated, weakening your trading relationships. A rebate program shouldn't resemble a puzzle that your teams and trading partners have to solve. Rather, it should be a well-oiled and easy-to-use machine – and the processes you use to run that machine should be simple and reliable.
Let’s take a look at what factors make a rebate program manageable or unmanageable:
- Impractical targets and deadlines
- Vague and ambiguous terms
- Inadequate communication
- Cumbersome documentation requirements
- Manual processes
- Inconsistent platform integration
- Lack of transparency
- Complex tiered structures
- Frequent rule changes
- Inadequate support
- Discrepancies and errors
- Complex validation procedures
- Clear and attainable targets
- Transparent and concise terms
- Open communication channels
- Streamlined documentation
- Efficient automated processes
- Real-time visibility
- Integrated systems
- Comprehensive support
- Data-driven insights
- Accurate processing
- Simplicity in structure
By identifying and addressing these potential pitfalls, businesses can create a rebate strategy that is manageable, customer-centric and conducive to long-term success.
Choosing the Right Tools to Manage Your Rebates
If tasked with moving a 500 pound boulder, your arms probably wouldn’t be of much use to you. Instead of trying to lift or push it by hand, you’d begin looking for a vehicle or a large machine that you can use to handle a task beyond your physical capability.
Similarly, managing a high volume of rebate deals requires the right tools for such a complex job. This is a critical choice, and one that cannot easily be rectified when things have gotten worse. When you build your rebate strategy and processes around a specific tool, you’re building foundations that must support the weight of all your rebate programs – no matter how large or unwieldy that responsibility becomes.
Choosing the right tools doesn’t mean reaching for the most readily available. When searching for a rebate management solution, many people make the mistake of reaching for the nearest tool available – typically spreadsheets and/or ERPs – to handle this challenging set of responsibilities. In doing so, they’re creating unsustainable processes that can be hard to dig themselves out of as the volume and complexity of their rebates rise.
A dedicated rebate management platform is by far the best choice for managing rebate programs. Designed to handle high volumes of rebate deals and facilitate seamless collaboration with trading partners, these systems are the best fit for most any rebate strategy. Plus, platforms with advanced automated features can simplify, streamline and even eliminate the most complex and time-consuming processes to save your team time and reduce the risk of human error.
Is your rebate management system comprehensive, collaborative and controlled? Find out in our blog.
Embracing the Manageable Future of Rebate Strategy
Manageability is the critical final pillar of a successful rebate strategy. In a customer-centric business landscape that thrives on efficiency, if your rebate strategy isn’t manageable, it’s unlikely to be successful.
Creating and maintaining a manageable rebate strategy is all about designing effective deals and processes without creating extra hoops for your teams, systems and customers to jump through. It’s also about choosing the right tools to manage your rebate programs and simplify your complex processes.
The path to a manageable rebate strategy requires embracing modern rebate management solutions that simplify processes, empower customers and mitigate risks. By doing so, companies can unlock the true potential of their rebate programs and foster healthy, long-lasting trading relationships.
Become a master of rebate strategy in our Rebate Strategist University courses.