Customer rebate management is the process of creating rebate and other off-invoice incentive programs, enrolling customers in those programs, accruing payments, forecasting profitability, and analyzing program effectiveness. Most B2B companies manage this complicated, multi-departmental process manually, using spreadsheets and legacy systems. This creates challenges because rebate management can only be effective if sales against rebate agreements are tracked precisely, and rebate claims are paid out in a timely fashion. Manual processes are error-prone, inefficient, and ultimately counterproductive. Accordingly, an increasing number of B2B companies are adopting a centralized rebate management system built on a flexible software platform.

We will get into what that software looks like and how it benefits stakeholders across an organization and its customers, but first, let’s discuss the value of rebates and define common off-invoice incentive programs.

Whitepaper: What is Rebate Management?

Off-Invoice Incentives, Defined

Rebate and other off-invoice incentive programs are highly strategic and potentially invaluable to B2B companies of any size. These programs drive brand loyalty, incentivize the desired customer behavior and protect price integrity by preventing over-discounting. Common incentive programs include:

Rebates

The most common form of off-invoice discount, a rebate is an amount paid from a supplier to a customer after the latter has met an agreed-upon metric or criteria. Rebates can be based on volume programs, sales targets, incremental growth or targeted accounts and products.

Promotions

Off-invoice promotions include vehicles such as coupons and temporary or time-boxed discounts, often based on a stated volume.

Shared Expenses

From time to time, companies will partner on joint advertising and business development initiatives, with off-invoice payments changing hands at a later date based on the success of the program.

Rebates and other off-invoice incentives factor in significantly to both pocket price and pocket margin. Since these payments are made well after the initial agreement, they can negatively impact margins if not carefully accounted for, as we will explain below.

For the purposes of this article, we will refer to each of these incentive programs as “rebates” from here on for simplicity.

Why Managing Rebates is a Challenge

Read more