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6 Strategies to Secure More Market Development Funds (MDF)

This is the final article of our three-part series about securing MDF funding from your vendors. In part one, I identified three times you want to seek vendor MDF funds. In part two, I shared 16 lead generation activities that we’ve helped clients get MDF funds for just in the past year and covered what needs to be in your proposal to get it.

If you don’t have a close working relationship with your vendor, it can be challenging to ask for market development funds (MDF) out of the blue, especially if you’re not selling much of the vendor’s products. To give yourself the best chance of success, it’s up to you to shift your vendor relationship to the better.

So how do you do that? Here are a six proven strategies that you can use:

1. Get them involved.

Work with your vendor to identify marketing activities that benefit both of you. Share ideas with one another and talk about joint objectives. They’re experts at selling their offerings, and will appreciate you approaching them. Share your lead generation and sales strategy and discuss how to integrate their ideas. They’ll have insight about marketing strategies that work well with marketing and selling their products and services.

2. Invite them to sell with you.

Several of my clients plan joint sales blitz days with their vendors. One of my clients does a drop-in cold calling blitz where they take one side of the street and let their vendor takes the other. Another client invites their vendor to their office to participate in a quarterly phone blitz that we manage. Working together lets your vendor build relationships with your team while seeing your potential to earn revenue.

3. Stay in touch with your vendor rep.

Communicate regularly and keep them up to date on your new opportunities, upcoming campaigns and even your roadblocks. Log your sales opportunities in the vendor’s system. This not only demonstrates your willingness to work with your vendor and shows them that you’re truly partnered with them, it also shows their return on investment. They’ll be more likely to work with you whenever you ask for funds.

4. Get one or several of your team members certified.

Have sales reps take your vendor’s sales training and get certified. This makes you a more trustworthy representative of their offerings. For example, as we were building the sales onboarding training for one of our IT clients, we built in vendor training. Within the first month, their new reps complete training for their top 2 vendors and begin prospecting for leads. The vendors love it.

5. Build relationships with the MDF coordinator too.

You may have to coordinate MDF funds requests with someone other than your sales rep. While this relationship may be primarily email based, it’s still important to build a relationship here. Be friendly and conversational in your communications, but also be professional and organized to build credibility. Give them all the information they need to help make a decision about your MDF.

6. Provide more details.

When you submit proposals, be sure to include specific details about your plan to use the MDF funds. Don’t be afraid to add more details than you think you need. We’ll frequently include a lead generation campaign plan outline so the vendor can see the number of events, emails, and call downs that the MSP will be running. These details demonstrate how much thought you’ve given to the project and can help assuage any doubts your vendor might have.

Kendra Lee

It’s one thing to come out of the woodwork asking for funds. But if you prepare your proposal well and work on cultivating a strong, mutually beneficial working relationship with your vendors, these marketing dollars aren’t going to be so difficult to come by. If all else fails, remember to ask “how can I make you successful?” Whatever their response might be, you can bet they’ll be willing to help you achieve that particular goal.

Kendra Lee is president of KLA Group, which works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Read more blogs from Kendra here.

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