MDF and Vendor Marketing Programs are Cumbersome but Worthwhile
I had the pleasure at CompTia Breakaway 2012 to sit in a session with Tony Serino from Serino Channel Services named “Beyond Content Syndication Joint Vendor/Partner Lead Generation Solutions.” This really brought to mind the amount of channel partners I have worked with in the past that have struggled with figuring out or utilizing vendor programs, MDF funds, and provided marketing dollars.
According to Serino many vendors “enable” their partners, but an issue may be that they do not “motivate” their partners. Serino made a great point stating enabling is like giving a person a shovel, the shovel enables that person to dig a hole, however it is not likely by just giving them the shovel, they will just go dig a hole. This was a good analogy for enablement vs. motivation and speaks to what many solution providers may face when dealing with vendor marketing programs.
Many vendors provide great programs but the information may not be clear, may have a high learning curve, or just may be too time consuming to pursue. Just because a vendor puts together a program or enables their partners, does not mean that it is enough to motivate their partners to utilize the programs. These vendor programs are not standardized and the nuances and requirements for each program can be overwhelming for many.
As solution providers continue to aggregate services, the ability to manage vendor marketing programs becomes even more difficult. The future for solution providers sees their solution stack growing to meet any need a client may have. With a growing solution stack the likelihood that a provider will manage many more vendors than they do today is great.
Though it may be time consuming and cumbersome to pursue these programs, with smaller margins and many more products, the need for providers to take advantage of these vendor programs becomes even more important. Solution providers will need to take the time to educate themselves on programs. It is important to reach out to vendors and take whatever time necessary to get the ins and outs of any provided program.
The results and benefits are worthwhile. Many partners are able to win deals based on an advantage that these programs provide. Additionally by learning these programs, solution providers will see additional revenue, may receive help and funds to drive marketing campaigns, and may be able to supplement internal programs to drive more sales. It goes without saying that taking the time and effort will provide results and can have a positive affect on your business.