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Did you know that if you aren’t utilizing marketing development funds (MDF), you’re already at a disadvantage compared to your competition? You may not be utilizing MDF due to a lack of information on the resources available to you or maybe over concerns for the approval and payment process. Either way, you’re weakening your position and missing opportunities: Using MDF resources can result in a substantial increase in leads and, ultimately, sales.
If you’re not familiar with marketing development funds, they’re dollars that manufacturers or vendors make available to help channel partners (resellers, VARs, ISVs or distributors) sell its products and create local awareness about their national brand.
First Steps toward MDF
The first thing you need to do is reach out to your vendors to identify the MDF opportunities that are available to you. Then you can begin to craft your pitch to receive MDF and devise a plan that will deliver an effective ROI to your sales team and to the vendor. In other words, you need to determine how you can get the biggest bang for your buck. Follow this advice:
- Narrow your focus. Don’t try to gain marketing dollars from all of your vendors right off the bat. Do you already have a good sales volume with one vendor? That’s a good place to start. Market development funds are calculated from the amount of sales with a specific vendor. Choose a primary vendor and a secondary vendor and channel your effort to apply for MDF through them.
- Submit a well-planned, formal proposal. Review the activities included in your vendor’s market development fund guidelines and base your proposal on them. This will increase the odds of MDF proposal approval. Submit your formal proposal and then set up a business call or meeting with the vendor in order to state your case, explaining how your marketing campaign will generate a generous return on investment, not only for you, but also for your vendor.
- Track results and document sales. Demonstrating return on investment is critical for ensuring future market development funds. Make sure you clearly show how your marketing efforts directly impacted vendor sales. Usually vendors will let you know which metrics they want to see for each individual marketing activity. It is essential to ensure you have the means for producing the required metrics from the start of your campaign. . You must also be able to show how your marketing campaign increased awareness and knowledge about the vendor and vendor products within your sales team and how this increased vendor sales within your organization.
Although most channel partners understand the importance of marketing to grow and sustain their businesses, many lack the resources to carry out marketing activities. MDF bridges that gap. If you’re not utilizing marketing development funds, you should be. Educate yourself on the resources available to your organization, apply for marketing dollars, and get the biggest bang for your MDF buck.