As with your first lemonade stand, there are times when organizations will need to wisely invest money to generate demand and grow the business.

November 2, 2018

3 Min Read
Lemonade stand

Remember your first lemonade stand as a kid? Before you could begin, you needed lemons, sugar, disposable cups–and a sign that announced to prospective customers that you were open for business. If you were lucky, you already had these supplies in your house. If not, to kick off your sales you needed to rely on MDF–otherwise known as Mom & Dad Funding!

Fundamentally, times have not changed all that much. Sure, technology has severely altered the way we do business, especially how we market. But, as with your first lemonade stand, there are times when organizations will need to wisely invest money to generate demand and grow the business.

Usually companies specifically budget for marketing and business development activities. Organizations may also supplement their own investment with outside resources to help fund various initiatives. Software companies often provide partners with the benefit of Market Development Funds (the other MDF) to help sell products, create awareness and offset marketing expenses.  

This is a valuable benefit, but, all too often, channel partners are not taking full advantage. Surprisingly, data from ZINFI Technologies’ worldwide channel survey shows as much as 60% of market development funds accrued by partners are not used on a quarterly basis!

Maybe it’s because the partners simply aren’t focused on these activities or didn’t have the adequate marketing resources to execute a campaign. Many partners lack dedicated marketing resources.

Perhaps partners are using marketing methods that don’t necessarily require or qualify for MDF. Maybe it’s that the partners were heavily focused on the short-term goals or lacked digital expertise. Whatever the case, more than half are leaving money on the table–money that, if used properly, could generate real, tangible returns.

Historically, MDF benefits have been provided in the context of “traditional” reseller partner models. But smart investments in marketing are critically important for newer and emerging partner types, as well. Partners with cloud practices often focus on consultation, implementation, vertical expertise and renewals. Implementing a strong digital and social marketing strategy that showcases customer successes and references may be an ideal way to invest MDF and grow business.

Similarly, ISVs can benefit from ongoing campaigns that raise awareness of their unique solutions, apps and key customer benefits. Regardless of your focus or company size, you want to make the most of your Market Development Funds. Here are some tips to ensure you fully leverage your benefits:

  • Familiarize yourself with your vendor’s MDF policy.

  • Attend any vendor-sponsored webinars or training on the program and marketing tactics.

  • Track your points, credits and rewards–know your spending budget.

  • Be sure to follow the MDF guidelines as you develop your demand-generation campaigns.

  • Process MDF redemption as it’s used, rather than allowing transactions to pile up over time.

  • Mark any expiration dates on your calendar, and make sure to use your MDF before then.

  • Embrace various forms of digital technology to generate awareness.

Whether you are focused on social selling, video blogs or other activities to support your go-to-market, having additional monetary resources can help grow your business. Taking just a few proactive measures now makes it easier to capitalize on your MDF.

Companies that partner with SAP earn value points through the SAP PartnerEdge program based on their partner status and activity. A personalized dashboard provides an at-a-glance view of available points and MDF at any given time. There’s also training to help partners maximize rewards. Partners can utilize MDF for proven SAP campaigns, programs and enablement resources, and work with an SAP Partner Service Advisor to develop a winning plan.

Are you interested in learning about how SAP and their partners use Market Development Funds? Visit for more information on the SAP PartnerEdge program.

ira-simon-at-sap.pngIra Simon (follow me on Twitter – @IraASimon) is global vice president, Partner & SME Marketing, at SAP. Learn more about partnership opportunities at:

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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