How to Maximize Market Development Funds

Not all channel partners are created equal. It’s best to focus on those partners where your sales are historically strong. Then work on fostering market development fund (MDF) relationships with 2-3. The goal is to submit MDF requests to the same partners every quarter. This simplifies things for a process that can be mind-numbingly complex.

Create a separate spreadsheet for each partner that includes fields such as project #, approve date, start date, end date, total ask, project elements, complete date, POP submission date, and payout date. It sounds like a lot, but once you set up the spreadsheet you can duplicate it for each partner.

Note everything in the spreadsheet as soon as you have the information. Being meticulous about this is the #1 way to simplify the process.

Follow the rules and don’t cut corners. Your channel partners will like you better and will be more likely to approve campaigns if you make their jobs easier (if you think it’s complex on your side, imagine how complex it is on their side—dealing with multiple partners). Aside from all that, following the rules just shows respect.

Maintain the mindset of your channel partner throughout the process. As you complete each step, ask yourself what this is going to look like from your partner’s perspective.

So, for example, when you are completing the campaign request, focus on the deliverables your partner can expect to receive. Most channel partners are reasonable. They know the sales cycle is long for higher end products and that they shouldn’t expect results in terms of sales by the end of the quarter.

At the same time, they do want to see something in terms of tangible results. So, it’s best to include campaign elements for which you know you can produce strong metrics. Two elements that usually qualify in that regard are media releases (impressions and click thrus) and emails (opens and click thrus). Things like landing pages and blog posts can be a little tougher.

If you aren’t sure how much to ask for, I would say that, as long as your sales are strong, aim on the high side. If it’s too much your channel partner will let you know. If it’s too little, they won’t.

To sum all this up: choose strong partners, follow the partner’s guidelines to the letter, keep track of everything, and focus on projects that produce great metrics.


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