The Future of MDF: It’s time to change

There’s a problem in today’s channel: MDF.

It has long been a channel staple that vendors use a variety of activities and incentives to get the best from the partners they work with. Whether directly or indirectly improving sales performance, increasing awareness, nurturing loyalty or encouraging a particular behaviour or subject focus – these initiatives set out to improve the vendor/partner relationship and reward positive results, or at least they are meant to!

In truth, there’s a huge problem with one of the key areas of incentive and reward in the channel, it’s been around for many years and it’s causing an ever-increasing disconnect between vendor organisation partner strategies, and the needs of partners themselves. MDF, whilst a core channel component is a real problem! The intention is good. The concept is great. The execution is poor.

It’s becoming increasingly outdated and the theory no longer applies to modern reality – so it’s time to change. MDF has become confused, complicated, contrived and in a lot of cases irrelevant and unachievable for many partners.

The sad and somewhat frustrating reality is that as much as 60% of available MDF remains untouched every quarter and much of the reason for this seems to be a lack of knowledge, people, time, desire and support marketing. Also, the unnecessarily complicated processes to access funding and in some cases a lack of awareness that funding even exists!

By applying basic mathematics to two conversations we’ve had in the past 12 months, we estimate that over £1billion of revenue is being missed because of unapplied for (and wasted) MDF.

‘But wait!’ we hear some of you cry. ‘We’ve been running MDF initiatives with our partners for years! No one’s ever complained about it or asked us to change things – and everyone knows what it is.

’Sorry – this simply is not true. Vendor-led ignorance, avoidance, disbelief and/or reluctance to change is affecting the potential and success of partner funding.

But for those who want to make the most of partner relationships, modern methods and a channel transformation waiting to happen, we have a very real solution that can have a hugely positive impact, very quickly, on the results gained from partner funded activity.