One of the motivators for channel partners is via market development funds (MDF). Whether accrual-based or discretionary, there are many measures that can demonstrate program efficiency and partner engagement in a MDF program. Here are some of the important metrics to monitor:
- Partner Participation – Based on the program type and available budget, you may be targeting a broad partner base or focusing on key partners to drive your business via MDF investments. Determining your level of expected partner participation amongst the targeted partner base on a quarterly or yearly basis and whether you have achieved that goal will help determine if you are engaging your desired partner community.
- Budget Usage – Are your partners choosing to create activities/projects with the funds they are assigned and are they executing in full against these projects? In addition to monitoring budget utilization, once a partner submits a project that gets approved, it is also important to monitor the volume and value of claims against those projects. This will ensure execution was complete and the partners are following the process to get reimbursed for their MDF spend. For discretionary programs, if partners are not engaged in the process even with field follow up, it allows you to reprioritize investments with other partners down the road.
- Claim Submission Activity – When partners submit claims with the proof of performance post MDF execution, analyzing the quantity of reviews or audits per claim helps demonstrate where there may be some confusion on guidelines which may require simplification of requirements. Additionally, if certain partners continue to require more attempts to submit the needed information with regards to their MDF spend, it may require one-to-one training for those key partners. To ensure that an MDF program and its investments are flowing, it is also valuable to track timely claiming of MDF activities and to ensure that there are no outstanding open items on claims lingering on a periodic basis.
- Payment Timelines – Measuring if committed MDF reimbursement timelines are being met will increase partner satisfaction and decrease payment-related support inquiries.
- Partner Satisfaction – Are support inquiries decreasing over time in an established program with a steady partner base? Do you offer a partner satisfaction survey? Aside from looking at those metrics, I also recommend analyzing the top support ticket submitters on a regular basis as there may be a need to offer partner-specific training sessions to alleviate their questions regarding the MDF program.
What are other key metrics you are analyzing in your MDF program?