Free Money: When Vendor Market Development Funds Make Smart Business Sense

Dont Leave Free Money

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.

In the high tech computer and telecommunications industry where small companies frequently resell larger companies’ products and services, there is an opportunity to leverage these market development funds. These funds are provided by the manufacturer to help their alliance partners promote the manufacturer’s products.

Whether you’re involved in the high tech computer and telecommunications industry or not, you may have access to similar funds from your alliance partners – and it makes good business sense to leverage them to their fullest to grow your company. And if you are in the IT or telecommunications industry, you don’t want to leave the opportunity for free money sitting on the table.

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.

Here are three situations when you should look for 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.


  1. You’re in a sales slump. 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.


  1. You need expertise. Building thought leadership isn’t easy. In fact, the art of successfully implementing 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.

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 succeed. They’ll be far more likely to help you when you approach them in the right way.

Want to know how to do that? Tune in next week. This is part 1 of a 3-part series on how to secure MDF funding. Next week I’ll share what qualifies for MDF funds and the key ingredients that need to be in your proposals to secure those funds.

If you want to take advantage of vendor MDF and move the needle on your sales and lead generation, we will help you get started with your strategy and proposal. To determine your best MDF approach, give us a call at 303-741-6636 or email us at





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