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How to Create an MDF Program that Demonstrates your Interest in the Success of Channel Partners
This 2-part series addresses the importance of removing brevity from your MDF program incentive. The goal of this article(s) is to demonstrate how a comprehensive MDF program leads to higher program adoption, increased partner mindshare, and ROI.
There are plenty reasons why billions of MDF dollars go unused each year.
From cumbersome reimbursement processes to more attractive incentives offered by other vendors, from inexperience in MDF activities to vague proof-of-performance requirements—channel partners have become accustomed to opting out of marketing program opportunities.
Even the faintest of inconvenience can cause partners to reject your “lucrative” opportunity.
That’s a disturbing trend given that many channel distributors rely on market development funds to spearhead lead interest and generate revenue. However, given the competitive nature of maintaining partner mindshare, MDF program implementation has to be nearly flawless.
One of the easily most overlooked components of a successful MDF program is the vendor’s interest in the success of its partner.
Dale Carnegies famously coined, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Apply that idea to the partner distribution channel.
When you fully invest in the success of channel partners, you will achieve greater buy-in.
By developing a clearly mapped out incentive that leaves no room for mystery or subjective thinking—partners will invest in you.
Following is information on how to create an MDF program that demonstrates your interest in the success of channel partners by removing ambiguity:
1.) Provide Overview on Eligibility and Objective
Do you make certain which partners are eligible to participate?
Partners—unsure if incentive applies to them—are likely to ignore opportunity due to the potential of ineligibility.
Examples of defining program-exclusivity:
- Program applies to value-added resellers who are top-tier buyers
- Program applies to partners selling to end-customers in educational sector
- Program applies to partners that sell ABC product to ABC resellers
It is also essential that your MDF opportunity has a clearly stated objective.
The goal of ABC program is to give our ISV partner-base the opportunity to be the first to promote ABC product(s) to the X marketplace.
2.) Ensure a Seamless Opt-in Process
Step-by-step instructions don’t only save time for partners, it also helps to remove any concerns associated with “am I missing anything?”
The more partners have to ‘figure out things for themselves,’ the less likely they will participate. Following are examples of providing comprehensive instructions for partners to participate:
A.) MDF Available Funds
Partners will have access to marketing dollars as soon as they are made available in your Partner Portal account (this takes approx. one month after the quarter has finished).
To view how much MDF marketing funds you have available, follow these 4 steps:
1.) Go to http://www.abccompany.com/partners
2.) Log in your Partner Portal account
3.) Click on “available funds” in top right corner of your screen
4.) Click link to download claim request package
B.) MDF Claim Request Process
Step 1: Complete and submit the MDF form via Partner Portal in PDF format
– Must be submitted 3 weeks before marketing activity start data
– Must have adequate funds available in order to receive reimbursement
Step 2: Approval for request will return within 24-72 hours
– Once approved, proceed with MDF activity
Step 3: Submit your pre-approved MDF claim request with 14 days of program end date
– Include pre-approved MDF form (PDF format)
– Provide catalog of costs accumulated for reimbursement (Excel format)
– Include invoice total and amount claimed
*Pre-approved claimable amount is the cap amount that will be reimbursed, or credit may be less than cap amount after reviewing of claim
C.) MDF Parameters to Remember
– Include only one claim document (claim may have more than one invoice)
– In order to remain eligible for additional MDF opportunities, accounts payable must be in good standing with ABC company
– Partners may not deduct from invoice for ABC company’s products or services
– Currency: $US dollars
Computer Market Research’s Co-op/MDF module standardizes and streamlines all the program processes to facilitate a successful incentive. Register basic information, share business practices, create sales and marketing programs, audit and manage distributor claims, and more.
In turn, vendors are able to quickly add partners and communicate to forge relationships that contribute to opportunities that are more profitable, while developing stronger partner loyalty and mindshare as well as higher productivity, lower labor costs and elimination of overpayments on accounts payable.