MDF and channel partners--The bitter relationship

MDF is offered by vendors to their resellers as a way to get marketing and sales collateral to help channel partners sell their products.

Do you think your channel partners care about MDF (marketing development funds)? Well…do they? Do they know what MDF are? Do they know if they have access to any?

I’ve talked to different resellers who do and don’t know about MDF funds. The real reason why many resellers may not take advantage of these benefits is really just due to time. If you are a small to medium sized business, how much time and money do you really spend on marketing efforts—let alone figuring out how to take advantage of “dollar funds” from a vendor?

Why don’t channel managers do more to promote MDF?
Channel managers are often frustrated with distributing MDF to partners/resellers—
  1. “We think they care, but only a few partners use them.”
  2. “We keep hoping MDF funds can become easier to distribute (so we don’t have to spend so much time tracking them in spreadsheets!) It’s very inconvenient to make sure our resellers know MDF funds are available (so only those who ask gain access).”
  3. “Most of our partners don’t seem to have the time to even answer the phone when we call—so MDF funds are really just there for our biggest partners.”
All of this amounts to leaving money on the table. The good news is, you don’t have to abandon the idea of MDF entirely Here are a few ways to ensure your channel partners actually make full use of the MDF allotted to them.

Invest in a partner relationship management software that allows you to manage your marketing development funds process from start to end. A partner relationship management software like Mindmatrix, for example
  • Allows your channel partners to apply for MDF online.
  • Infuses transparency into the MDF request and disbursement process by allowing corporate marketing department and channel partners to see the funds used and available for disbursal.
  • provides corporate marketing department visibility of MDF fund usage so you know where your MDF Dollars were invested by your channel partners.
  • Lets you measure the ROI on the MDF dispersed by tracking its MDF usage and the results of sales and marketing campaigns engaged in using the MDF.
Tell you channel partners what you have in store for them. You are there to help your channel partners sell your products. Pick up the phone and tell your channel partners what you have to offer and if there are any services/education they can take advantage of.

Before you know it, your channel partners and MDF funds will be hand in hand--walking off into the sunset together, with a much better, happier and healthier relationship.

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