Businesses are always looking for a better way to manage their rebates and incentive programs. Any company that has attempted to track their rebates on spreadsheets knows the pain of searching for errors, wishing for better features or wasting time on a task that could (and likely should) be automated. In a recent survey, we found that over 40% of manufacturers either don’t have internal dashboards or don’t know if dashboards exist. Just under half of all manufacturers are missing out on essential tools for rebate management, and with 55% of manufacturers not providing their customers with dashboard analytics, they are missing a significant opportunity to manage rebates efficiently and build trusted trading relationships.
A dedicated rebate dashboard can change the game for your rebate team, but choosing the right dashboard for your needs is critical to the continued success of your incentive programs. So, where does the search begin? What key features should you look for in a rebate dashboard?
Keeping a close eye on the progress and performance of your rebate programs is one of the most important parts of managing them. Therefore, a progress tracker feature should be the centerpiece of your rebate dashboard. This feature provides a broad overview of your deals, allowing you to zero in on specific deals or areas of interest when needed. With a wide range of analytical and reporting features at your fingertips, the progress tracker is an essential starting point for your rebate management processes.
Automated Calculations, Reporting and Analytics
Calculations, reporting and analytics are among the responsibilities of rebate management that require the most time and the highest level of skill. Skilled team members can spend hours making careful calculations and creating detailed reports that, despite their best efforts, can still contain minor errors capable of tearing massive holes in your accounting further down the line.
Effective analytics are essential to the success of your rebates. Our survey found that 42% of manufacturers believe that better analytics would increase the effectiveness of their rebate programs. A dedicated rebate management system can take this responsibility off your hands entirely, providing you with error-free analytics and reports while cutting up to 40% of the time you spend on month-end activities.
Areas of Opportunity and Risk
Even if all of your data is correct, identifying areas of opportunity or risk while there’s still time enough to take action can be a challenge. An intelligent rebate dashboard should highlight deals that require your immediate attention, whether it be a rebate program slipping through the cracks or an approaching deadline to claim or renew.
Variable Views (Levels of Detail)
Your dashboard will be used by a wide range of teams and roles within your organization, each with different needs and preferences for how data is presented to them. Your rebate dashboard should be able to accommodate the needs of these disparate functions. The dashboard should be optimized for C-suite usage, providing executives instant access to an at-a-glance overview of rebate performance. This allows executives to make quick decisions with the most information possible. It should also allow accountants and finance teams access to granular data for year-end calculations, accruals and renewals.
Reliable, Real-Time Data Upload
Instead of wasting precious time and manpower on manual data entry, a rebate management dashboard should be fully integrated into your other platforms and processes, allowing you to automatically upload data as it becomes available. This will not only save your team time and effort, but will drastically reduce the risk of human error, allowing your team to spend time on what really matters – double-checking your data to avoid any miscalculations or disputes during a year-end audit.
Collaboration and Transparency
Adopting a collaborative approach to rebate management allows you to create trusted trading relationships with your customers or suppliers. Your rebate dashboard can play a key role in this process. By giving your trading partners access to parts of your rebate dashboard, you ensure that you’re operating from the same set of data; this helps to avoid calculation disputes and communication delays.
Currently, only 9% of manufacturers have on-demand reports available via a portal for their customers. At the same time, 46% of manufacturers believe that better awareness of their trading program from their trading partner would improve the effectiveness of their rebate program. The solution is clear; a collaborative rebate dashboard would create a single source of truth – updated in real-time – erasing any ambiguity or doubt from your trading relationships.
Choosing the Right Rebate Dashboard for You
As your business grows and you take on even more rebate programs, you never know which features you’ll end up needing or if the systems you’re already using will fall out of place, leaving you lacking essential features. Before deciding on a rebate dashboard, take the time to ensure that it contains all the features you need now and may need in the future.
Fortunately, all of the features listed above already exist in one simple platform: the Enable rebate management platform furnishes rebate teams with a whole new set of tools through which to manage and track their incentive programs. If you’re looking to revamp your rebate management process, consider starting your search with Enable.
Struggling to choose the right rebate management software for your business? Check out our Buyers’ Guide to Choosing Rebate Management Software for some essential guidance.