5 Proven Ways Rebate Strategists Drive Value
As more and more businesses realize the value and potential of rebates in building a strong supply chain, the role of the rebate strategist is quickly gaining popularity. These specialists provide immense value to businesses, but far too few seem to understand the vital role that rebate strategists play and how their team can support them. It’s critical that any business leveraging rebates knows just what a rebate strategist can do for them, so they’ll understand the importance of supporting their capabilities with the right resources.
What is a Rebate Strategist?
Rebate strategists are experienced professionals in the field of rebate management that take a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to rebate management. They see rebates not as a necessity, but as valuable engines for strategic growth.
Not all businesses have a dedicated in-house rebate strategist. For businesses with only a small number of rebates, this may be okay, but rebate management is far too often relegated to a small part of a larger role overseeing multiple responsibilities. In situations like these, your rebates are almost certainly being underutilized.
Rebate strategists play an important role in optimizing and maximizing the potential of a business’s rebate programs. For businesses where rebates make up a significant portion of revenue, the role of the rebate strategist is essential to the survival and growth of the business.
Rebate strategists help businesses to…
- Drive margin and ROI
- Strengthen trading relationships
- Increase frequency and volume of sales
- Compete strategically in adverse market conditions
- Boost product launches or gain a foothold in new markets
Today, we’ll explore the role that rebate strategists play in bringing each of these benefits to the businesses they work with, as well as how businesses can support and maximize the capabilities of their rebate strategists.
1. Rebate strategists drive margin and ROI
One of the most common goals of a rebate strategist is to increase margin and ROI for businesses using rebates. Rebates are a strategic incentive for businesses hoping to encourage customers to purchase a more profitable volume or mix of products.
To do so, a rebate strategist may look at your products to determine profitable ways to bundle them. For example, let’s say that your low-margin gizmos are flying off the shelves, while your high-margin gadgets are lagging behind. A rebate strategist would likely design a rebate program that rewards customers for buying a mix of the low- and high-margin products, providing a much-needed boost to your profit margins.
This is one of the main ways that a rebate strategist drives value: in designing and managing effective, optimized rebate programs that build stronger trading relationships.
2. Rebate strategists strengthen trading relationships
Whether you’re looking to form strong new strategic partnerships or maintain the health of your existing trading relationships, rebate strategists can help. Rebate strategists can develop strategic rebate programs and trading agreements to build, grow or maintain trading relationships by rewarding loyal customers and partners.
To make the most of this benefit, teams should work with their rebate strategists to assess the state of their trading relationships and align on their goals. This will give the rebate strategist the context they need to develop a rebate program that suits your specific goals for your trading relationships.
3. Rebate strategists can increase the frequency and volume of sales
A well-structured rebate program can provide a much-needed boost to both the volume and consistency of sales for your products. If you’re looking to incentivize customers to purchase more of a certain product (or product range), rebate strategists can design a volume rebate program to reward customers that reach certain purchasing targets.
If you’re looking for more consistent sales, rebate strategists can help there, too. They can develop rebate programs that incentivize multiple purchases over a period of time, rewarding your trading partners for buying on your schedule.
That’s the power of rebate programs: they bring your trading partners’ strategies and goals into alignment with your own, establishing a critical point of synergy between businesses.
4. Rebate strategists help businesses compete strategically in adverse market conditions
As the past few years have shown us, the market can change on a dime, and we can’t rely on consistent demand and a strong supply chain for stability. This has led many businesses to take a more strategic and proactive approach to their rebate programs, working with rebate strategists to turn their rebate programs into an engine for growth and a hedge against uncertainty.
We may not be able to predict the buying behaviors of customers or the state of the supply chain five years down the line, but a savvy rebate strategist can guide customers in the right direction, build loyal partnerships and lay strong foundations for growth with well-structured incentives.
5. Rebate strategists can boost product launches or help businesses gain a foothold in new markets
No one likes starting out at the bottom of the food chain. Things aren’t always easy for the newest brands or products on the shelf – lacking credibility, word-of-mouth or an established customer base, they face incredibly steep competition and high levels of risk.
Even for established businesses, stepping into new markets or taking your products in a new direction can present a serious challenge. If your business is already known in one industry, customers will inevitably carry their preconceived notions about your business to any foray you make into other areas. For some businesses, this can serve as an advantage, as they will bring an established and enthusiastic customer base with them on any trek into new and uncharted territory – but for others, it can bring unproductive pressures, expectations and doubts before products have a chance to speak for themselves.
If you’re about to launch a new product or veer into a new market, rebate strategists can add fuel to a positive fire. To boost new products, rebate strategists can design a range of rebate programs to incentivize new customers and maximize the momentum of the launch. They can also develop targeted rebate programs to build and strengthen new connections in unfamiliar industries.
Supporting Rebate Strategists
Far too many rebate strategists are expected to handle the complexities of modern rebates on outdated or inflexible legacy systems (such as spreadsheets or ERPs) that are incapable of capturing the intricate details and mechanisms of rebate deals. A lack of automated tracking, reporting, calculation and analysis features mean that they spend most of their time undertaking tedious tasks that could be completed by a computer in seconds. With a dedicated rebate management solution in place, rebate strategists have the time and energy to actually strategize. Don’t bury your rebate strategists under a mountain of busy work – give them the tools they need to sit in the driver’s seat and take control of your rebate programs.
We’ve developed some great resources designed to help reactive rebate managers grow into proactive rebate strategists. Take the first step with our Rebate Strategist University 101 webinar or download the whitepaper.