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6 Key Guidelines for Establishing Successful Automated Sales Incentive Programs
Anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to a company and its sales incentive programs for channel partners.
In the tedious and complex pricing agreement process between businesses, mistakes are made, and these mistakes can be detrimental. And in today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, one of the greatest challenges B2B (business to business) face is sustaining mutual empathy towards one’s own ‘business culture,’ while equally supporting their bottom line.
With traditional B2B marketing campaigns all but obsolete, the birth of marketing automation software has completely revolutionized the pricing management process—opening a ‘floodgate of opportunity’ that is poised to the separate the modernized from the passé.
Although the technical progression in channel business partnerships is light-years more efficient than past procedures, gross margin management (GMM) remains a time-consuming, complex and delicate process, requiring meticulous overseeing to ensure accuracy.
Enter the Computer Market Research (CMR) Ship and Debit module, a state-of-the-art promotional rebate platform that seamlessly validates submitted claims, adjusts the accrual price and feeds real-time reporting of channel sales data, dispute management, and data export.
Designed with a user-friendly interface and built-in customizable features, the CMR Ship and Debit program gives you the freedom to tailor your sales incentive programs based on your own specific guidelines. And with its sophisticated web security data software, you control the level of access acquired to each channeling partner.
What to Implement into your Automated Sales Incentive Programs
If you’re in the process of designing automated sales incentive programs, take a look at the following key guidelines you should plan to implement:
1.) Start Date, End Date & Deadline for Claims
Without a tangible time frame that details whether or not a claim should or should not be credited, expect issues.
However, start dates start only after the distributor achieves POS to the end-customer. Once the supplier’s channel partner completes a transaction, the distributor is now “on the clock” to submit a specific claim(s) before the required program end date; or, depending on certain regulations, the inclusion of an end date may not be included in the claim agreement.
2.) Qualifying Product
In order to approve the off-invoice discount, each claim is either accepted or rejected.
One of the more prominent reasons suppliers experiences false claims/ loss of income is program administrators ‘green lighting’ rebates based on vague requirements. The CMR Ship and Debit program eliminate this ambiguity with robust data management software that authorizes price agreements based on item type/group, product ‘family’ or stock keeping unit (SKU).
In building sales incentive programs, it’s imperative to segment the basic restrictions before delving into specifics, as this helps fuse the algorithmic process.
3.) Eligible Partners
Sales incentive programs should always be based on some level of exclusivity. But Ship and Debit shouldn’t be wholly intended to a few customers. Resellers, end-users, certain companies, regions, states, and countries should all have some level of access to your module in order to keep your ‘business channel hierarchy’ healthy and happy.
4.) Rules for Programs
At the end of the day, it’s your program. Each incentive program should require concise qualifications that eradicate falsely approved claims, human error, disputed invoices and overpayment in order to eliminate price erosion. Each program should also be unique in that it may require stricter qualifications for ‘sexier’ discounts.
Personalize your program based on your ‘preferred’ eligible channel partners, the type(s) of product, the minimum or maximum quantity of inventory sold, set thresholds for volume incentive discounts, add linear rate per unit price % differential or total net % price differential. The CMR Ship and Debit detail real-time reporting so that you can make necessary adjustments, forgo a particular requirement or add additional stipulations.
5.) Exclusive or Stacked
Here is where many claim program administrators struggle. Stacking discounted claims, or submitting multiple claims together, provides channel partners with a singular credited price based on calculating individual programs simultaneously. In most cases, your rebate program will usually remain exclusive to one ‘agreed’ discount as this process simplifies regulations for both you and your channel partners. Although stacking comes with its certain pitfalls, the rewards can be extremely beneficial—providing flexible options for channel partners to explore while gaining unique monetary advantages (which competitors may not offer).
But how you choose to discount your stacked programs is contingent to your own guidelines:
- Can the discount be stacked with other discounts?
- If two programs are stacked, are they calculated on the base price of the transaction, or is one calculated based on the net price after the initial discount?
Properly managing program ‘priorities’ is essential for establishing a successful automated claims program. The Ship and Debit module provide a seamless click-and-drop process, allowing you to modify claim priorities based on market urgency, clientele, stacking priority, etc. Ultimately, it’s the program administrator who has the final say in determining which claims are automated first.