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Marketing for Small Technology Companies: How to Maximize Market Development Funds

Market Development Funds (MDF) can be a goldmine for small technology companies—who may not think they qualify. As long as you are selling even a relatively small amount of your channel partners’ solutions, you probably do. Look at it this way, it’s in your channel partners’ best interest for you to grow and sell even more.

However, there is a strategy.

Not all channel partners are created equal. It’s best to focus on those partners where your sales are historically strongest. Then work on fostering MDF-oriented relationships with 2-3.  The goal is to submit MDF requests to the same partners every quarter. This simplifies a process that can otherwise 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 what it’s like on their side dealing with multiple partners. Aside from all that, following the rules just shows professionalism.

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, 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 campaign elements that produce great metrics.

For a no cost discussion of your situation and how we can leverage metrics-based marketing to grow your business call 630-363-8081 or email jeanna@smartprcommunications.com. Find out more about our Core Marketing Solution for Very Small Businesses





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