Practical Solution to Improve Channel Partner Performance
In the final segment of this 3-part series, we will wrap up on how to improve channel partner performance and how channel partners can better leverage Co-Op/MDF and use it to their strategic advantage. More importantly, the final installment will explore how manufacturers can be a catalyst for positive change; continuously improving their value as a strategic business partner and mentor.
As we mentioned in part 1, half of all Co-op/MDF funds go unused.
Ironically, market research shows channel partners that do take advantage of Co-op/MDF provide manufacturers with $1 ROI for every dollar spent.
Manufacturers, however, continue to struggle to improve channel partner performance and provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
Let’s reiterate why partners so often choose to ignore Co-op/MDF opportunities:
- Partners don’t feel they were on-boarded properly
- Partners fear they won’t be reimbursed
- Partners experience poor communication with manufacturer
- Partners opt-out due to too much paperwork and legality jargon
- Partners opt-out due to unrealistic objectives and eligibility requirements
Partners feel overwhelmed, confused, unconfident and lost in the overall process, thus steering them clear of any marketing opportunity manufacturers present.
The Only Practical Solution to Improve Channel Partner Performance
In order to transform your Co-op/MDF program from a slow moving turtle to a moneymaking machine is to improve the process on a consistent basis; continuous improvement is a gradual never-ending process, focused on increasing the effectiveness and/or efficiency of your Co-op/MDF program endlessly.
Fortunately, with Co-op/MDF, you have regular funding cycles, which gives you the opportunity to review programs as each cycle ends.
Think about what worked and what didn’t.
Establish a dialect with partners, your field, and the vendors you used along the way to look for ways to create a more successful program.
Ask yourself, “Did you move the needle closer to your objective or further away?”
Be collaborative by including not only leaders but also those who struggle to get the full picture of program performance.
Ultimately, when partners see that you are continually working to improve the process, their confidence in you increases as does the likelihood of them to participate in future opportunities.
The Power of Automation in Helping to Improve Channel Partner Performance
Managing Co-op/MDF is not easy, nor cheap.
Often times, manufacturers do themselves more harm than good. Between marketing the program, onboarding partners, designing parameters, reviewing prior approvals, auditing claims and reimbursing partners on time, manufacturers lose track of what’s important: selling their product.
However, centralizing channel Co-op/MDF data and resources via web-based applications alleviates the taxing, time-consuming and expensive nature of incentive programs.
Going digital will assist in measuring the performance of the dispersed funds and provide an audit trail to track progress.
Investing in a PRM SaaS tool that graphically depicts Co-op/MDF takes obscure partner feeds and converts it into a scalable, accurate and centralized process for managing Co-op/MDF.
It is a common practice for channel partners to manage and track their funds through individual spreadsheets, maintaining one spreadsheet per vendor that they have.
It is a best practice to adopt a web-based solution that presents widespread fund visibility from one interface. Keeping a close eye on available funds allows partners to know how much to budget for an upcoming quarter, season, or year.
This helps tremendously to improve Channel Partner performance and with the forecasting for future marketing expenditures.
An automated Co-op/MDF program should support instant communication capabilities and display all available data in real-time. Real-Time data gives you:
- Access to all Co-Op/MDF balances Year-to-date (YTD)
- Totals earned YTD
- Total claims YTD
- Claims pending
- Claims paid
This data can be instantly retrieved and downloaded at any time, from a secure connection.
Having more clarity will help reduce the amount of discrepancies between channel partners.
When implementing Co-op/MDF, everyone needs to be on the same page in order for the program to reach its maximum potential. A web-based automated platform allows you and your network to do just that.