Tips for measuring the effectiveness of your market development fund programs.

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

This quote by William Bruce Cameron served as the backdrop for a moderated discussion on metrics and reporting during a recent MDF workshop. It accurately sums up the challenges faced by those who oversee MDF programs for companies in the brand-to-local ecosystem. Calculating program return on investment (ROI) is a bit of a fuzzy math problem. For many, ROI calculations are still done manually, and they aren’t measured consistently. So how do you find the metrics that matter?

According to Forrester, “the average channel program has more than 90 distinct components that support partners through their entire journey. Improving workflows and automating business logic around partner interactions at each stage of the journey requires a level of context that consolidated data can provide. Managing success metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that go beyond traditional revenue and profit targets is an important step in growing the channel.”

If the goal is attracting and retaining new customers, then having a hyper-local, brand-compliant enablement platform that includes fund management, reconciliation, and performance reporting is critical.

But what are the important metrics when determining ROI from MDF programs? Our clients from Cisco, Red Hat, Sage, and Citrix weighed in:

  • Partner engagement metrics
    • Requests by eligible partners
    • Partner growth quarter over quarter or year over year (if your partners are growing, you should be too)
  • Fund usage (a downward trend could indicate program issues)
  • Program effectiveness at generating sales or new customers (revenue-to-investment correlation)

They also pointed out that due to the self-reported nature of partner data, consistency is key to revealing insights

Another recurring theme throughout our metrics discussion was the value in a “voice of the partner” survey. This type of qualitative measurement complements program performance reporting. What partners say can be as effective in demonstrating MDF program ROI as what they report.

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