When a smart, strategic approach is taken, marketing development funds (MDFs) can be an excellent resource to help accelerate your sales and grow your channel business. MDFs are funds made available by a brand to help partners sell more, and when they’re managed effectively, they can be useful for generating leads and driving sales.
While there are many benefits to using MDFs, they’re often overlooked and underused. One of the main issues that cause marketers to shy away from utilizing MDFs is that they can be hard to budget for—and especially to do so accurately.
We’ll share a few tips to help you learn how to budget for MDFs more accurately and get the most out of your marketing funds.
Before you get started, there are a few important questions you should ask yourself. First, you should consider whether or not you’ve developed a clear strategy for using your MDFs. Do you know what types of programs you’re looking to fund? If you haven’t devised a well-defined plan for how your funds will be allocated, you should do that during this stage of the process.
As you begin building out a budget for your MDFs, you should also make it a point to get feedback and buy-in from your partners. When it comes to budgeting for MDFs, this step is absolutely critical, as you want to ensure you and your partners are on the same page regarding marketing goals and priorities.
Creating a Budget
Once you’ve developed a clear strategy and incited feedback from your partners, you can begin creating your budget. You should try to allocate marketing funds toward things that will help you meet your company’s long-term goals. Digital advertising campaigns, content marketing development, sponsored events, and additional partner training opportunities are all great examples of how you can use MDFs to accelerate your channel sales and drive business growth.
It’s important that you utilize your partner relationship management (PRM) tool to track the results of the different marketing initiatives that you include in your MDF budget. Tracking the results will help give you the opportunity to learn and optimize as you go—meaning if something isn’t working, you’ll know and be able to address it quickly in order to make better use of your funds. You can also utilize the results to help make a case for how you’ll use MDFs should you receive any pushback on fund allocation.
Managing Your Budget
While managing your budget, you may find yourself wondering what will happen if you end up with a surplus or a shortage of funds. A Channel Marketer report estimated that in the IT industry, $25 billion in unused MDFs is wasted each year. Yikes!
If you find yourself with too much or too little left in your budget, reach out to your partner to determine the best way to allocate the funds, which can be easily assigned through your PRM.
Lastly, you should start planning for your next round of budgeting. Review and analyze the results of your MDF efforts, identify the most successful programs, make any necessary changes to optimize based on your learnings, and repeat what worked.
When an accurate budget and smart strategy are in place, MDFs are an excellent resource for growing your channel program and boosting your partner sales. Remember to focus your efforts on campaigns that will help achieve your long-term goals, track your progress and optimize accordingly, and keep partner feedback top of mind while you’re building out your MDF budget.
Are you curious about how you can use a PRM tool to track how you use MDFs? Contact us for a free demo and to learn more about how Allbound makes it easy to manage and track all of your MDFs in one place.