Demonstrating the return on investment (ROI) for any channel activity is important. And measuring MDF ROI is no exception. So, as a vendor, how can you capture key metrics & measure your MDF program’s ROI?
This was one of the topics discussed during the webinar ‘Building an MDF Program for Today’s Channel Ecosystem,’ featuring Channel Mechanics VP of Sales John McArdle speaking with Ryan Griffis, Global Channel Programs Manager at Extreme Networks, Mimish Lesperance, Director Field Channel Marketing Americas at Barracuda alongside Kenneth Fox, CEO at Channel Mechanics.
How to Capture Key Metrics & Measure MDF ROI
To begin, Fox shared his belief that proof of performance is at the heart of the question. Here, certain questions need to be addressed. Is that proof of performance aligned with your company or corporate strategy? Is it aligned with your channel strategy? And is it aligned with how you want to spend your marketing dollars?
“Spend a lot of time upfront thinking about those activities. Break it down into how they align with your strategy. ‘How do I represent them to the partner community? And then how do I measure those activities?’”
Importantly, those capturing MDF ROI data then need to push that information to the front end, added Fox. The vendor can then start to measure the proofs of performance against different activity types and see what works and what doesn’t.
Patience is a Virtue
However, it’s important to be patient, added Fox, as those measurements won’t be immediate. Typically they might not come in for one, two or even three quarters in the channel.
“I often see companies that are starting or have an immature MDF program get pushback because they can’t prove it,” said Fox. “That’s why you have to measure the ROI, and you have to be patient. Because the channel is not the same as direct business. What takes weeks in direct sales can take months and even quarters in the indirect channel. And that’s ultimately how you justify the program.”
At the same time, Lesperance added that it is important that everybody is accountable.
“Make sure that you’re thinking through each activity and what you expect from your MDF ROI for each one of those sets of activities. And make sure that your partners understand what they’re signing up for.”
The response may depend on the individual partners’ marketing maturity – some partners are used to just doing events, so they may need some guiding in the conversation. Help them understand how to spread those funds across the board to build a holistic marketing plan.
Measure It to Manage It
Elsewhere, Griffis encouraged vendors to think about what’s the best source of data for their results.
“Traditionally you ask the partner, ‘How much of X did you generate?’ and they give you a number. So have a think about how reliable that number will be, particularly if you’re running a program that has hundreds of partners. How clean is that data? Are you going to be able to analyze it? Is somebody interpreting your number of X as a number of Y and giving you a different number?
“The direction we’ve gone in is to try to measure as much as possible using our own systems and data. We are determining ourselves, using our own methods, because we think our reporting is more reliable than potentially 100 different interpretations that a partner might give to a results field.”
Ultimately, as Fox noted: “If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”