Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Jason Atkins.
About the interviewee
Jason Atkins, founder and CEO of 360incentives. Jason is a 36-year-old lifelong technology entrepreneur, specializing in data security and bringing technology to big, outdated industries. He started his first business in high school, an online data security business. After having trouble getting prospects to understand the importance of data security in the coming Internet Age, Jason leased a vacant bank and set up servers in the vault, which made the point perfectly. Eventually he moved into the world of sales incentives and rebate processing and was startled by the lack of technology being adopted and how that industry’s traditional ways lead to terrible customer experiences, lost claims and loads of fraud.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Launched in 2009, 360incentives was founded with the idea that technology could update the world of sales incentives and consumer rebates. In the old incentive world, people would send away sales incentive and rebate claims and hope that 10-12 weeks later they might receive a check in the mail. 360 has reduced the processing and payment timeline to a few days, not weeks. All claim and payment statuses can be tracked in real time and this visibility, combined with quick payment and great service has helped our clients deliver a much better experience to their sales channels and consumers. The value of real-time data for the clients cannot be overstated: where it used to take months and months to get results on marketing efforts, now the brands are able to track results and make adjustments in real time.
360 now has 120 employees with offices in the US, Canada and the UK.
What type and size of companies do you have as clients?
Our top clients are large enterprise, global companies who sell through an indirect model, necessitating marketing to their channels as well as the usual front facing, consumer marketing. Clients include Whirlpool Corporation, Bosch, Electrolux, Lennox, Continental Tire and other major global brands. In our industry of software as a service, the generally accepted rate of customer churn is around 18% annually. We are proud to say we have never lost a client who has implemented our solution. Currently we process over 85% of all sales incentive and rebate claims for the appliance industry in the USA.
What comes to mind when you see this topic?
When I see this topic, it resonates because one of the biggest challenges we have is reaching the correct decision maker in prospect companies. Further, that decision has to be driven by people in senior positions because we are talking about a serious change to the way these companies are doing things. Obviously, many of our clients are huge, global brands so tracking down the right person is critical. To me, our 0% churn rate really validates how valuable our tool is to these companies and it is simply a matter of communicating the value of it to the person who has authority to make a deal. Another challenge is that we are bringing a brand new way of doing things to a very old space. Many top decision makers are wary of the change management issues they believe can be associated with such a radical shift in how they operate.
What are the best practices when it comes to this issue?
Without question, the top way to overcome this issue is persistence. We walk the floor at trade shows, send engaging door opener packages to prospects and above all – follow up constantly. Eventually, we find we are able to make our way around the gatekeepers and connect with the right person. As a result of this hard work, we are now able to occasionally enjoy referrals, despite an intense level of competition between many of our clients and prospects.