How to: make the most of MDF


Successful marketing campaigns are essential to a business, but constantly issuing a stream of programmes not only puts a strain on budgets but also can’t guarantee proven, measurable results.

Market Development Funds (MDF) provided by vendors to their Channel Partners are a fantastic source of support, but acquiring them and retaining them requires thought and justification.

Essentially, the partner is the representative of the vendor out in the market. It is through the partner that sales are driven so of course the vendor wants to help the Channel make money. It also wants to protect its brand and measure success against expenditure.

Vendor alignment

You may be allocated a certain amount of MDF, but it’s not “your” money. You’re more likely to achieve MDF if the campaign you’re planning aligns with the vendor’s marketing strategy. Provide a specific plan for the MDF you’re requesting and be prepared to show the plan’s ROI and how it will help the vendor. If you can demonstrate a good return from previous campaigns, that’s even better.

Define success criteria

Justification for claiming MDF begins long before you launch your campaign. Get together with your Channel Manager and work to an agreed business plan, monitoring progress against set goals.

After the programme has closed, assess what’s working and what isn’t so you can identify gaps and replicate successful models.

Joint Business planning & review

  • Set expectations
  • Measurable objectives
  • Joint accountability
  • Business plan approval
  • Review management

Performance monitoring

  • Activity and analytics
  • Business & Sales alignment
  • Coverage mapping

Importantly, revert back to the approved plan when you’re reporting on your campaign – link the criteria used to specific results. That way, you’ll make it clear to the vendor how you’ve met the agreed requirements and deserve the funding!

Vendor support

Aside from providing leads and mailing lists, vendors can help you by either giving you money or giving you access to their marketing resources. For instance, a vendor may provide pre-packaged HTML and bulk mailers for a campaign, or the resources to put together a webinar. Use the tools provided: not only does it save on your time and resources, but it also means you can be sure that the messaging and branding’s correct.

Typically, vendors are more likely to support you for face to face events. With these, arguably more than with other activity, it’s important to keep your Channel Manager in the loop with your preparation, including sharing any presentations you may be making, stand design or assets you’re developing. In this way, you’re taking them on the journey with you, ensuring at every step of the way you’re aligned with each other so when it comes to claiming MDF, there are no surprise rejections.

And don’t forget to be very clear about who you’re targeting – a particular function, a vertical sector, a geography – and make sure your marketing material reflects that.

What about the leads?

One key aspect of a campaign is to agree up front how the leads are going to be handled. If you can demonstrate that you’ve considered how you’re going to move prospects from lead to customer status, you’ll show that you’re thinking beyond just gathering numbers.

But, you must be clear that the leads gathered from a vendor-sponsored campaign must be progressed with that vendor’s products /solution and not with one of their competitor’s!

So, the practices for MDF aren’t really much different from Best Practices we “should” all be using for all our Marketing campaigns. Justification and Measurement may just have a few more forms to complete and a bit more emphasis placed on them when dealing with vendors’ money.

Discover data best practices in our “how to guide”

More data has been created in the past 5 years, than in the rest of history. This enables us as Marketers to be increasingly powerful, increasingly able to generate business for our organisations. To reach that Holy Grail: knowing our customers so we can market to them in a smarter way that leads to relevance for them and cost savings for us.

But are we making the most of all the intelligence that’s our fingertips? Without analytics and without actually acting based on the results, we are wasting a huge opportunity.

Data is the cornerstone of any Marketing activity. It underpins everything we do. It determines our success. It allows us to understand our customers’ behaviours so we can identify new opportunities. It saves our Sales and Marketing budgets by allowing us to put the right message to the right audiences and build profitable relationships. In essence, it is the most important part of an integrated marketing strategy.

We need to constantly review how we’re managing, reporting and improving our activity based on the insight data provides. We need to provide insight to our Sales teams on contact behaviour in order for their engagement to be more profitable.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. That may be the vision of ultimate success, but where do we start? Data Quality, that’s where.

Discover more about Data Best Practices in the Panovus “How to guide” to data

Are you engaging differently with prospects at different stages in the Sales cycle?

By monitoring and analysing contacts’ behaviours across multiple channels, you can determine what kind of content they’re responding best to, what subjects interest them, in which format they prefer to receive information. This knowledge enables you to tailor what you say to whom, reshaping the way that business can communicate with prospects and customers to drive lead generation and more importantly, valu­able pipeline engagement at the right touch point to close a sale.

The activity of prospects enables us to score leads according to behaviour. This can be mapped to our CRM, allowing us to manage leads and pass on only the ones which have been nurtured through the sales process and are ready for closure. This helps to improve close rates and the quality of the leads that are passed to Sales.

Gone are the days when we can blast the same message across our entire database. Prospects are at different stages of the sales process; some may have only just visited your site for a look around, some may have downloaded a whitepaper, others may have attended a whole series of web­casts, registered for a demo and joined your online community. These people need (and expect) to be treated in different ways.

Find out more in our Marketing Engine article >>

Integrated Marketing: Are you really doing it?!

Everybody’s talking about it. Everyone claims to be doing it. I guess that depends on your definition of it. For us, Integrated Marketing is the name given to a strate­gic approach to bringing together multiple and disparate channels to market. The aim is to reinforce a single message in different ways, appropriate to the market­ing method being used and the place the tactic is being used in the sales cycle. It saves budgets and enhances the audience’s opinion of your organisation.

That would make sense, wouldn’t it? If you’ve got something to say to your audience, say it at the same time in different ways across all your channels to market. If your audience receives the same message and visual prompts everywhere they encounter you, they are more likely to understand what you’re trying to say to them.

Plan it. Build the content. Integrate the delivery across your website (don’t forget SEO!), PR, across social media and Direct Mail, in your speaking opportunities at events, in the content of your webcasts. How we express a concept in a Tweet or a landing page is very different from how we would deliver the same thing in an email and different again from a whitepaper. Each tactic moves each member of the audi­ence to the next stage in the sales cycle. BUT THE FUNDAMENTAL MESSAGE IS THE SAME.

Find out more in our How to Guide: Integrated Marketing >>

core message diagram_v2

Prospect Communication for Business Insight

Telemarketing is the most interactive marketing medium available. It allows you to answer your prospects’ questions, address their concerns, and immediately overcome any objections. It is instrumental in complementing and adding a personal touch to other, more “arms-length” activity.

On the practical side, it’s highly flexible. You can adjust your strategy at any point, you can change your offer and your audience in a single call, you can increase and decrease the hours as required.
Key benefits:

  • Telemarketing provides you with immediate feedback & valuable information. This should be reviewed and analysed in order to respond
    quickly to your audience’s response. It helps you hone your message and understand what your targets are really interested in hearing about.
  • Telemarketing is the only form of promotion that requires an immediate response. It can’t be ignored. That can’t be said of an email.
  • Telemarketing provides you with a captive audience the minute the phone is answered. You are immediately engaged in 2-way communication.
  • Telemarketing provides you with increased potential to improve your business. As a fundamental part of the Marketing mix, it is essential not only to lead progression, but also to client retention, knowing your customers better as well as traditional uses such as appointment setting, event drives and follow-ups.

Find out more in our How to Guide: Moving Prospects Through the Buying Cycle >>

moving prospects through the buying cycle

Moving Prospects through the Buying Cycle

When we talk about demand generation, we generally mean everything involved from prospecting to the delivery of sales qualified leads. It goes deeper than that. We need to closely define exactly what a Sales Ready Lead “looks like” to our Sales organisation and what tools and tactics are required at any given point in the buying cycle.

We use a number of methods and the tactics develop over time, becoming increasingly specific and personalised as the lead matures.

One area that stays constant is the need to build direct HUMAN CONTACT into a truly integrated programme. In this day and age it’s easy to distance ourselves from our audience and hide behind a digital persona. But it’s amazing what you can dis¬cover about your customers and prospects when you actually engage with them on a one-to-one level.

Yes; it may be unfashionable to say so, but we’re fans of picking up the phone and actually talking to people to move them through the sales cycle.

Read our “How to” Guide to Moving Prospects through the Buying Cycle here

Thousands of leads but few opportunities? Intelligent follow-up.

With more than 7,000 leads languishing in its database from previous campaigns, this organisation suspected that its Marketing /Sales processes weren’t operating efficiently. For one thing, it was costing a fortune blasting emails out to all these contacts every month. For another, no progress was being made.

The leads had been gathered over months of Marketing activity; event attendance, web downloads, email responses…. According to salesforce.com, these precious pieces of gold had not been followed up.

By applying lead scoring criteria, we were able to help the company to prioritise follow-up. We determined whether there was still an interest, and nurtured the contacts through the buying cycle by maximising the intelligence gathered about prospects’ individual behaviours to the point where they could validly be passed to Sales.

Read the full case study here

Delivering ROI against investment in CRM tools

In a recent project, the introduction of human contact in the form of telemarketing was key to success. The exercise has enabled the organisation to deliver ROI against its investment in both Eloqua and sfdc. It has provided them with a factual and valuable pipeline and, strategically, has turned what had been a cold market into one that is warming up well.

Telemarketing highly interactive, giving prospects the opportunity to ask ques¬tions, provide feedback and start engaging. It also allows us to understand and overcome objections. It is instru¬mental in complementing and adding a personal touch to other, more “arms-length” activity.
Key points

  • The exercise as a whole has aligned the client’s Sales and Marketing teams more closely and has established a framework for the lead process within their company.
  • By introducing lead scoring and identifying a specific target audience, we established a basis for the client in order to focus their limited bandwidth in the region.
  • The intelligence gathered in the exercise has helped the organisation to develop its growth strategy, and by analysing where the most up-take has been has meant that the direction of geographical expansion plans has changed.
  • Resources can be directed into those areas with the greatest potential growth.
  • Marketing is able to make efficient use of its budgets by conducting targeted programmes which deliver a better ROI.

Read the full case study here

Leads, or SALES-READY leads? The value of lead scoring

An essential part of Lead Management, lead scoring enables you to define what a Sales Ready Lead is within your organisation and helps to ensure that only truly qualified leads are passed to the Sales team.

It works by monitoring how your prospects behave across your channels to market – web, events, email engagement… so you can see how interested they are in your solution. Couple this with facts you know about them in terms of their company and job role – how they fit with your target audience criteria – and you’ll be in a position to deliver Sales-Ready Leads to your Sales team.

It’s often the case that Sales’ view of what a qualified lead is and what Marketing perceives it to be are poles apart. Working together, the Sales and Marketing need to agree on what defines a qualified lead.

Take a look at our “How to” guide here to find out more