What are the right MDF activities to offer your partner ecosystem? That’s a key question for any vendor building an MDF program. However, the answer is, there is no one answer.
The right MDF activities are dependent on the business goals you are looking to achieve with your partner ecosystem. The key is having a good blend of MDF activities that are aligned to your company strategy.
Leading channel marketers recently weighed in on their efforts to set the right MDF activities for partners during the Channel Mechanics‘ webinar ‘Building an MDF Program for Today’s Channel Ecosystem.’ Participants included Channel Mechanics VP of Sales John McArdle, Mimish Lesperance, Director Field Channel Marketing Americas at Barracuda, Ryan Griffis, Global Channel Programs Manager at Extreme Networks and Kenneth Fox, CEO at Channel Mechanics.
Lesperance revealed how Barracuda looked to align MDF activities with joint marketing and business planning with partners. The company aims to be clear on what it’s goals are, and what it is looking to accomplish through joint marketing and business planning with partners.
“We identify the partners we’re going to target. We have a meeting, we discuss the goals, [and] we look at the parameters of the partner themselves. Because a key thing is understanding the marketing maturity of that partner. Then through that process, we create a framework where we then decide ‘Okay, based on the various activities that they can leverage MDF for – whether it’s to drive demand, do enablement, or business development – we look at those strategies and we create a plan. And it’s through that plan we decide exactly what we’re going to allocate quarter on quarter.
“But the key thing with that is getting consensus. This is not done in a vacuum. It’s not directed to the partners. It’s a conversation and then you test the model,” she said.
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“It’s a very powerful thing to sit down and do joint business planning with your partners. But to also be very transparent. To come back and say ‘This worked, but this didn’t work. Why didn’t it work?’ Or ‘Wow, this worked. Maybe we double down on that?’ Partners also have input; you’ve got to be careful that it’s not just one directional, it’s bi-directional. What has worked for them? How does it align to what we’re asking them to do? And then modify that and walk away with a joint agreement that makes sense for all.
“So that’s been game changing for us. We see our partners very excited. We see our sales organization very excited. And it gives our field marketing managers tremendous leverage and value in how they engage with their partners.”
McArdle added about the importance of understanding the marketing maturiy of partners, and how that fits into setting marketing activities; “a lot of that got exposed in the last two years when partners were relying on physical events. And when that disappeared, digital marketing really got exposed”.
Fox also commened that it’s exciting to see “sales excited about what marketing are doing. It let’s you know that the program is working. That marketing activities are driving the right behaviours“.
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