3 Times You Should Seek Vendor MDF Funds

When I started my sales career at IBM I was given territory that was the dregs of the dregs. Over the previous three years, the territory hadn’t generated more than $300K. In the beginning, my average sale was $15K – on a quota of $1 million. My boss told me that if I didn’t make quota in the first year I would be out of a job. To make matters worse, I knew that I couldn’t return to the corporate accounting position I’d held previously. It was sink or swim time.

In my situation, I succeeded by partnering with everyone who sold software, services or supplemental hardware in my territory. That’s what Vendor Market Development Funds (MDF) are all about.

It’s not just getting money to fund your lead generation campaigns, although that’s a great place to start. It’s about partnering with your vendors to grow your business. Needless to say, it was successful for me, and can be for your company, too.

When to Seek Vendor MDF Funds

Here are three situations when you should look vendor funding:

1. You don’t have enough leads. This is a common situation. You need leads to grow your business, but other than referrals, you can’t seem to get enough on your own. Maybe your sales reps aren’t skilled at hunting. They can close, but new business development is a challenge. You turn to your vendors for leads, but they never seem to send enough. Using MDF funds will help finance lead generation activities that fill your pipeline.

 2. You’re in a sales slump. For MSPs, savvy use of MDF funds can propel you ahead of your competitors. Leveraging MDF you’re able to do more marketing, nurturing and lead generation activities. You may choose to execute an email campaign, run a series of events, or invest in Google AdWords to drive new leads. You might even have enough funds to secure a new email list, outsourced calling, or marketing automation software.

3. You need expertise. Building thought leadership isn’t easy. In fact, all outbound marketing is challenging. Let’s say you need to improve your SEO ranking, but you don’t have the internal resources or skills to do it. Or, you want to put a custom lead generation strategy in place but aren’t sure where to begin. MDF funds could potentially help you engage thought leaders to assist you in taking your new business development to the next level.

How to Get Vendor MDF Funds

It’s not unfathomable to think you can get vendor funds to support your marketing activities – no matter what size your business. Your vendors want you to succeed because they’ll success. They’ll be far more likely to help you when you approach them in the right way.

Kendra LeeWant to know how to do that? Read part two of this three-part series. In part two, I share what qualifies for MDF funds and the key ingredients that need to be in your proposals to secure those funds. And in part three, I offer more guidance for securing more MDF.

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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    Amy Katz:

    Great tips Kendra. It’s a good reminder to channel partners that vendors are available and able to help. Every time I talk to a vendor they tell me about their education programs and marketing tools for partners – but I wonder how often they are utilized. Looking forward to parts 2 and 3. ABK

    Stuart Crawford:

    These are great tips..however MDF requests should come long before you ever need the money. I don’t disagree with Kendra at all however I would highly recommend MDF be part of your overall marketing strategy not a knee-jerk reaction when times get tough. I have an eBook on MDF that lays out a sound strategy for IT service companies wanting to maximize MDF.

    Stuart Crawford

    Kendra Lee:

    I agree that MDF should be part of your over lead generation strategy. But don’t worry if you haven’t incorporated it yet. you can still get funds, then make it a long term plan.

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