The driving force behind a company’s vision and mission is its strategy. It is a succinct and comprehensive depiction of the company’s activities and the methods it employs to achieve its goals. The primary objective is to accomplish both short-term and long-term company goals. When employing Channel Partners to reach these objectives, it is crucial to ensure that your partner ecosystem is in sync, particularly when aligning MDF (Market Development Funds) to company strategy.
Channel Mechanics recently had the opportunity to organize a webinar titled ‘Forget Surviving, How to Ensure your MDF Program Thrives in 2023″ featuring esteemed channel leaders Janelle Mertens, Global Director of Channel Operations at Informatica, Dave Jordan, Global Partner Programs and Strategy at Thales, and our CEO, Kenneth Fox. The webinar provided a unique perspective on the significance of aligning your MDF program to company strategy, offering fresh insights on the topic.
“Start by looking at your MDF activities. Do they align to your channel strategy? Does your channel strategy align to overall company strategy? If they don’t, stop, rework and get that alignment in place. That’s where finance get frustrated, because you’re spending dollars.” Kenneth Fox, CEO, Channel Mechanics
A clear concise company strategy creates sales and marketing objectives. Therefore, you need to be very clear about it. “What we really look at is aligning our company strategy with our partners in general. Actually, we just invited our partners to our internal sales kick off (SKO)”, Janelle Mertens, Global Director of Channel Operations at Informatica. By doing so, Informatica are able to ask:“What joint marketing activities can we do together, to enable each other to go-to-market the best way possible. And then we can allocate funds to help partners acheive that”.
One + One = Three
When aligning MDF to company strategy, adopt a proactive approach. As a vendor, it is your duty to foster the growth of the Partner Ecosystem by offering not just tools and campaigns for success, but also by investing in educational initiatives such as Kick Offs, Lunch & Learn sessions, Learning Journeys, Training, and Certification programs. By clearly communicating the vision and mission, you can effectively develop partner marketing campaigns that align with them. Keeping your partner ecosystem well-informed and synchronized strengthens the bond, enhances value and trust, and ensures everyone is collectively working towards the same objective. Thereby consistently delivering improved outcomes.
Tips for Aligning your MDF Program to Company Strategy
1. Partner Planning Sessions: Consistent gatherings enhance partnerships, synchronize business and marketing objectives, and aid in monitoring outcomes. They serve as a potent tool to showcase continuous investment, signify trust and dedication, and act as a launching pad for collaborative achievements. All while presenting results to management on a quarterly basis.
2. Validate MDF Activities: Are your MDF activities in harmony with your channel strategy? Does your channel strategy align with your overarching company strategy? If not, STOP, REFOCUS! Spending dollars on marketing activities that aren’t in line, will just frustrate your CFO.
3. Partner Marketing Campaigns Aligned to Sales Goals: Deploy ready-to-use marketing programs and campaigns that are already aligned to your business goals. Campaigns are an easy way to give partners the freedom to use elements of the campaign to grow their business, easily approved through MDF funding.
4. Incentive-Based Marketing: MDF goes beyond allocating marketing funds for campaigns. Leverage MDF to harness the potential of incentives such as digital gift cards and rewards platforms. By utilizing them as rewards for desired partner behavior, you can enhance engagement in targeted marketing campaigns and product launches.
5. Tracking Projects: Employ Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor and track progress regularly. Ensure accountability through Proof of Performance (POP), and Deal Registrations (DR) to analyze what is working, what isn’t working, what you would do again or not. Along with deciding what you should expand to additional partners.
Are you a vendor struggling with MDF complexity? Or looking to maximize your MDF ROI?