May 3, 2023

Simplifying the Complexities in Your Back Office

By Mark LaBorne, Acosta SVP, Back Office Solutions

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? For many consumers finding a great deal is not just a fun hobby, but a necessity in today’s inflationary market. A recent survey conducted with Acosta Group’s Shopper Community found that 40% of shoppers are spending more time searching for deals. As a result, many brands are scrutinizing their budgets to see where they can drive efficiencies to invest more dollars into their trade promotion strategy. 

One critical area that brands often overlook and don’t measure? Your back office.

Now, some may think of the back office as a necessary evil. Promotional contract generation, order and claims management, trade fund reconciliation – this isn’t the most glamorous work. And with each brick-and-mortar and online retailer having their preferred processes, timelines, and systems to navigate, sales teams spend an excruciating amount of time performing these administrative back office functions. 

That’s why outsourcing back office management to a trusted partner can be a game-changer for your brand. But this is only an effective strategy if you choose a partner with the end-to-end functional expertise, national reach, and cutting-edge technology to save you time and money and amplify your relationships with retailers.   

A strong back office partner will measure their effectiveness against the KPIs that matter to you and the retailers you work with. Imagine: 

  • Order automation rate of 82%, with non-automated orders processed within 24 hours (not to exceed client lead time) 
  • 80% of claims are processed with no sales team intervention. 
  • Deductions are touched within five days and processed with the client in less than 30 days. Customer Check Requests are touched within 2 days and processed within the customer’s timeline.
  • Presenting promotional contracts and price changes to retailers within their required timeline. 

With the right partner, you’ll realize ROI through reductions in working capital, infrastructure, benefits, equipment, technology, and training. That means your sales team can confidently spend more time selling and growing revenue.

Acosta has a proven track record of success. Our Back Office team is rooted in our proprietary technology, Acosta Relay, which acts as an extension of your sales team by efficiently processing orders and claims (deductions and check requests) for promotional activity. We process 1.5 million claims and 1 million orders annually, and manage $3.2 billion trade dollars utilizing Acosta Relay.   

Our clients have seen impressive results through our standardized Acosta Relay process.

  • We helped a client reduce order processing errors at Walmart and Sam’s Club by using clean data and 80% order automation. 
  • We’ve reduced another CPG client’s greater than 60-day deduction balance by 31%, going from 68% to 99%. 

Our technology streamlines tasks like promotional contract generation, order, and claims processing through automation. Acosta Relay utilizes a vast library of over 1,250 individual brand and retailer SOPs to ensure order and claims processing is done based on individual brand and retailer requirements. Plus, the system integrates with leading business service technologies, ensuring data security and pulling claims data from existing brand and retailer platforms.

We strive to measure what matters so our clients earn the greatest return on their investment. We’re not just a vendor – we’re an extension of your team. And don’t just take our word for it: 

“Our partnership with Acosta’s Back Office Solutions began 17 years ago with a need to manage the retail business in a more structured and routine manner.

Over the years, they have proved to be a valuable resource and have been instrumental in helping us achieve our joint performance goals. Together we achieved process simplification utilizing upload automation of daily files and robotics, valuable insights and testing of a new Trade Promotions Management system, continuous updates of pricing rules and controls to avoid misbilling, and robust financial roundtables to review performance and opportunities for improvement.”

Group Director, Deductions from Revenue

Coca-Cola North America Operating Unit Finance