A Video Guide for Starting a Co-op/MDF Channel Incentive Program
Welcome to your guide for starting a Co-op/MDF channel incentive program. We have created a list of 5 questions you will need to answer before starting your program.
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1.) How Will Your Funds Be Awarded?
There are 2 basic choices you have when answering this question, either co-op advertising or market development funds. Co-op advertising is money accrued based on a percentage of sales while market development funds are a set amount of money decided on by the marketing team. An advantage of choosing a market development funds program is it will be less burden for the partner, however, a co-op advertising program will offer a clearer description for both the partner and the vendor.
2.) What Is the Duration of Time Over When and Which Accruals Are Accumulated?
Usually, this falls on a monthly or quarterly basis, but it can also be as detailed as a 3-month campaign. Management will need to decide the best way to generate sales.
Another important question to ask yourself before starting your Co-op/MDF program is what is the method to which accruals or fund allocation is provided? Most of the time this will be a claim request. If you are trying to do this with Excel, there can be many problems including no reminders for partners or vendors when funds are about to expire. A manual Co-op/MDF process can also result in a channel partner not knowing how much they have to spend. Both of these reasons are why billions (yes, with a B) of Co-op/MDF dollars get left on the table each year.
3.) How Should Documents Be Included for CO-OP Claims?
The main thing you will want to collect as a vendor is the invoice of activity such as a trade show for $10,000. Once again, if you are not using an automated co-op/MDF solution for this process you may be stuck using fax or email to submit and receive documents. This can be an exhausting process as there can be missing data. If you are using an automated process, a partner can scan the invoice and attach it to the claim. The automated system will not allow you to submit a claim unless the invoice is attached.
4.) Who Should Be Notified in the Approval Chain?
The last question you need to ask yourself is who should get notified during each step in the approval chain. Generally, it will go from
- Prior Approval Requests
- Claim Requests
You will need to have some business rules set up to decide what requests get sent to who.
Some general examples include:
- One person evaluates requests under $5,000
- A different person (usually a manager) evaluates requests over $5,0000
- Another person will evaluate requests when there are no funds available.
This can be a very labor-intensive process trying to figure out who approves which request.
With an automated process, you can set up workflow rules that automatically send the request to the right person . Once it is approved or denied, an email is automatically sent to the partner and creates an audit trail.