Channel Marketing Insider – Confessions of an MDF Abuser

Sandra Nangeroni
Sandra Nangeroni

Senior Director, Marketing & Sales Enablement

I recently spoke with the former head of a national reseller who refers to himself as a former “MDF Abuser” (for any non-channel readers, I’m referring to Market Development Funds supplied to resellers by their manufacturing partners). He reminisced about the good old days of how MDF was used on face-to-face activities like wining and dining customers, hanging at ballgames, hosting pricey golf outings, and showering customers with gimmicks and giveaways in attempts to retain customer mind-share and loyalty. He shared how resellers were often left to their own devices on how to spend expiring MDF and adopted a Mad Men type approach of entertaining clients so as to not forfeit funds they may not see again the next quarter.

Were these activities entertaining? “Yes.”

Were they effective, measurable, or productive in landing him more opportunities? “Not so much.”

He went on to describe squandering valuable time and money on hospitality activities that yielded little to no return because back then you had to “use or lose it”. Worse yet, these type activities rarely led to any “net new” business opportunities that are critical to grow the channel.

Over time he described how the MDF misuse intensified into traveling endless distances chasing dead-end opportunities only to discover there were no real projects in the works. After a lot of unaccountable MDF, he finally saw the light and wants to share his enlightenment with others.

The lesson and advice he wishes to pass on to anyone using or managing Channel MDF is: don’t go down that same path by throwing valuable MDF away.

Watch this short video to hear a former MDF abuser (now a successful, highly regarded COO) reflect on MDF investments and what he would do differently to turn MDF around to win more deals.

MDF barriers that can lead to misuse

The truth is, MDF has gotten more complex, more restrictive and more challenging – with increasingly more strings attached. While intended to help harvest more business, MDF “use it or lose it” policies often cause the funds to expire long before the channel will ever figure how to use them effectively. Without support, guidance and best practices on how to properly use MDF to drive more business, it leaves many Channel partners to their own devices to haphazardly figure it out by means of trial and error lead generation activities.

Get your MDF the help it needs to drive more channel revenue

Increase channel revenueIf your MDF budget is still getting blown on tchotchkes and outings, be advised: there’s a better way and we are here to help. We are delivering new solutions that give channel partners a whole new way to approach MDF responsibly and effectively to drive qualified sales opportunities, secure net new business and expand solutions within existing accounts.  It’s time to turn around MDF abusers and break them of wasteful, unproductive habits and get them 100% focused on selling your solutions and driving revenue for the business.

If you would like to talk more about how to improve channel performance, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

channel demand generation, channel marketing, channel revenue generation, channel sales, Market development funds, MDF, reseller marketing

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