Are you steering your partners toward a stellar experience in claiming their MDF dollars?
A well-executed market development funds (MDF) program can propel partner relationships, ensure compliance, and boost channel sales. If you’re currently running or thinking of launching an MDF program, proof of execution (POE) or proof of performance (POP) from partners may be necessary to determine reimbursement for MDF claims through your internal compliance team.
Augmenting your claim audit process means implementing smart strategies that play a major role in the success of your MDF program. As you define or refine your MDF claiming requirements and auditing guidelines, it’s important to provide an optimal ecosystem for your claim auditing team and your partners that will ensure accurate and timely evaluations.
6 tips will help drive execution toward a structured and successful audit of your marketing dollars.
1. Define and refine
Depending on the types of marketing activities you offer in your MDF program, you may require POE such as an invitation to demonstrate activity dates, proof of cost, and leads. If leads are generated for a particular activity type, tracking this can help determine the ROI from your partner investment. Other proof you may consider requesting include activity results, photos, a copy of the marketing materials, and any other relevant evidence of the execution. Whatever you choose as proof, make sure you provide partners with clear directives so claiming and the review process provide a positive experience for your team and your partners.
2. Keep it simple
An effective MDF program follows a simply structured proof of execution and ROI reporting process. While there is a variety of proof of execution documentation you could request (as noted above), where feasible, it is recommended to focus your requests on what is necessary from a compliance perspective. For example, you may be able to forego some of the items you were thinking of requesting such as photos if you require partners to submit leads. Determine what is most important to you and your compliance team and focus on those forms of proof so you can reduce the burden on your audit team and partners can spend more of their time focused on marketing and selling your products.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Once your program guidelines have been established, be sure partners see the proof of execution requirements in many places and are aware of them during the planning stages so that after they execute the MDF activity, they have all the information ready to submit. Reducing back-and-forth interactions with the partner during the claiming process can increase partner satisfaction.
4. Execution window
As you work to define and refine your audit guidelines, it’s important to determine what you will allow in terms of when the activity took place vs. the planned dates. Perhaps you will accept any execution if it falls within the quarter or maybe you will only accept claims with proof of execution demonstrating that the activity took place within the planned start and end dates. You may also consider whether you will reimburse prepayment for certain activities like events which typically have fees prior to the activity taking place.
5. Clear the path for exceptions and other processes
Exceptions are okay if the directives are clear. While outlining the guidance for your claim auditors, in addition to the execution window, make a well-defined list of any exceptions (which may change over time) and detail the escalation path for those exceptions. You may also need to consider and explicitly define any requirements and/or auditing variances across regions.
6. Language considerations
If feasible, it is recommended to have auditors with a variety of language skills to review the documentation that will come through for global programs. Having auditors with various language capabilities is also helpful especially when it is necessary to follow up with partners in their local language on any missing claim proof of execution.
Moving forward with ease
The claim auditing process is critical to your overall MDF program and, without smart strategies, can lead to compliance problems or can keep your MDF program from reaching its potential. What are your key considerations as you determine MDF proof of execution and claim auditing guidelines?