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Best-practice makes perfect when it comes to MDF…

Lois Dixon
by Lois Dixon - May 18, 2018


You know that glorious feeling when you’ve launched a campaign and can sit back and relax? Yes? Then, we need to talk…

In my last blog, I discussed end-to-end marketing in the context of MDF, and (sorry to be a total nag, but it has been known), I am going to stay on this theme. We recently ran a webinar to bring our series on the ‘death of MDF’ to a close. We focussed on how the system itself can be revived (or resuscitated, as Tom Perry, correctly stated!) and shared some of our best practices, which are integral in optimising MDF and marketing campaigns in general. If you weren’t able to catch the webinar, check it out here, but in the meantime, I thought I would run through some of the key points, which we think could revive the MDF programme and make it far more profitable and for all parties involved.

Summary 1-1

Let’s start with the Vendor/VAR dynamic…in order for MDF to be effective, there needs to be an enhanced level of communication between the two; and this must be a two way stream of communication and negotiation which must continue throughout the project. Vendors must offer support to their top Resellers, through the timely provision of defined plans and ROI projections. The planning is something that is often overlooked due to short campaign durations and requirement of immediate results, but it is an integral part to any campaign. It is also something that doesn’t just end because you have launched your campaign – VARs should be looking ahead and planning for the next quarter in the end of month two of the current quarter. This may seem unrealistic to many resellers who work with Vendors who do not release funding on time, but opening that dialogue and pitching ideas ahead of time will certainly aid the process and encourage Vendors to make more timely decisions.

This will also create more scope for longer campaigns. As a very minimum, campaigns should run for a 12-week period and if the next steps are planned-out, it will make the campaign process far smoother and allow it to evolve. Within this 12-week period there should be a weekly optimisation of tactics to ensure they are producing the required results. Sometimes this means stopping certain activities and focusing purely on others, sometimes it means continuing along the same path and this comes back to my opening gambit – the launch is not the time to relax. You don’t see mission control clocking off once a shuttle has launched! “Houston we’ve got a problem…Houston? Houston?”. Houston are right there keeping an eye on every aspect of the journey, analysing outputs, tweaking activity levels, re-adjusting targets to make sure that everything is performing optimally to complete the mission. It is EXACTLY the same for running marketing campaigns.

The other benefit for the continuous optimisation of your campaign is the regular analysis enables continuous reporting. As an agency, we ensure that our clients have full visibility of how their campaign is performing throughout the process. This should be the same in all MDF programmes. All partners involved in the MDF campaign should be able to see real-time dashboards which show live activities and results, eliminating the need for ad hoc ‘check ins’ and painful POE (proof of execution) audits at the end of the campaign. This will keep all parties in the loop and provide a data bank of campaign stats showing tactics, efficiency and most importantly results. This negates the need for a clunky, one dimensional and often ineffective spreadsheet-based report at the end of the campaign.

How then do you track revenue at the end of the campaign? Most Vendors have deal registration processes in place, which account for any revenue which is generated after the campaign closes. This closes the loop between Sales and Marketing and ensures that the campaign is still producing measurable revenue after the marketing process has finished. 

So, what does the future of MDF look like? We think that MDF will become more and more discretionary as Vendors start to award funding based upon merit. The application process will get tougher and funds will be squeezed, so resellers will need to stand out as employing the sort of techniques described above in order to be considered. Vendors will want to know what marketing best practices they are applying and this information should be readily shared to ensure the MDF system itself is consistently optimised as it evolves.   

what we do-1

So, where do we come in to this? Well, this is what we do! We are 'Houston'! We are global channel marketing experts and have extensive experience in helping Resellers with their mdf submissions and aiding Vendors with their bureau services and how they run through partner campaigns….including those with an ABM focus. We specialise in demand generation and creating developmental strategies which align sales and marketing, providing revenue streams which last. So, feel free to get in touch!

So, as a summary of our MDF series, I will leave you with some words of advice from Tom Perry, Sherpa’s CEO:

“Vendors and resellers, support a smaller number of your top partners better! Resellers, get on the front foot and ask for funding ahead of time. Vendors, talk to your resellers; look at the merits of their campaign and consider awarding funding for the 12 week-plus duration. These simple tactics will make a difference”.

See our blueprint for MDF optimisation here or get in touch to discuss how our end-to-end marketing solutions can increase conversions by up to 40% by clicking here or by calling us at any time on 01234 964000.

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#GoHigher #Sherpa #MDF #endtoend

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