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Partner Marketing Planning, Budgeting, Forecasting, and ROI Calculator (Part A)

Marketing Calculator Featured Image

An efficient, scalable, easy-to-use, and effective partner marketing budgeting and forecasting tool has always seemed just out or reach for most channel executives.Every channel chief can share their favorite “dog eared” Excel planning workbooks, MS Word planning templates, and planning forms included in CRM and PRM systems but they never seem to fulfil the need for partner-friendly tools that provide the vendor with the measurable commitment forecasts they seek. The problem is that they are not built with an eye toward meeting the needs of the many users that will interact with individual partner plans.
The best place to start designing your more effective partner marketing planning, budgeting and ROI calculating tool is with the vendor and partner users of these plans and their individual needs.
Partner Marketing Plan Users & there Needs
Most vendor-required partner marketing and MDF approval processes used in the indirect channel are very much weighted to the vendor needs and only secondarily to the partner needs. But it does not have to be like that. Vendors can get the unit and dollar commitment forecasts they are looking for in an auditable format while also providing tools to help partners simulate alternative plans and outcomes and help them come up with an optimal marketing mix that they can believe in. The most successful channel marketing planning and forecasting processes are those where all participants and users get what they need and motivate them to happily participate. Partners can create quick (3-5 minute) marketing plans, budgets and ROI forecasts and can then simulate different tactic options. Vendors get consistent, measurable and comparable plans and forecasts across all partners that they can easily evaluate for approval of MDF co-funding decisions.
The first step in designing your partner marketing & MDF planning, budgeting, forecasting and approval process is to set expectations for goals and outcomes for these marketing investments. Realistically, partners can generate three different types of outcomes with their use of MDF / marketing funds. The vast majority of MDF programs operate on a co-funding basis where the vendor will cover a percentage of the cost if the partner provides the other percentage of the cost (e.g., 25:75, 50:50, 75:25). During the planning and funding request process, partners are required to establish goals for the use of these co-funded MDF dollars. Below is a typical breakdown of the three categories of goals for partner MDF programs.
Channel MDF
Business development is the most measurable MDF investment based on new revenue generated and ROI per dollar spent. The objective of business development-focused MDF is to generate responders, leads, qualified opportunities, proposals and closed deals. Business development MDF is the easiest to justify if the appropriate performance measurement processes are in place. Market awareness is a very important part of the marketing mix to help partners establish their market reputation as a thought leader / recognized vendor in their local market. The direct measures of views, impressions, likes, etc. are the best indication of return on investment. MDF-influenced revenue is much more difficult to prove unless you can associate recent buyers with exposure to these awareness tactics. Finally, capability MDF expenditures are typically viewed as investments for the future. Equipping your partners with training, demo units staff and other enablement tools provides them with the ability to generate and deliver more revenue for your business.
Setting up a process for managing partner planning, budgeting, MDF request & approval, and performance measurement includes five key steps.
Five Key Steps for a Unified Marketing Calculator and MDF Administration Process:
1)12-36 month partner business plans
2)Q1 – Q4 partner marketing plans
3)Marketing assessment & approval
4)Marketing plan execution
5)Performance to plan analysis
These five steps all fit together in the following business workflow.
Program Management System
The marketing calculator is part of an integrated workflow for partner business planning, partner marketing planning, MDF submission, review approval and disbursement process, and partner performance. The first step for a partner and the assigned Channel Account Manager (CAM) is to create a business growth and profitability plan.
The partner business planning process is designed to help a partner create a 3 year monthly growth and profitability forecast in as little as 10 minutes. The purpose of this first step is to gain confidence and commitment from partners to invest in growing the vendor’s brand. This will set the partner’s path for achieving accelerated growth and define the staffing and expense investments for supporting this plan.

10 Minutes Partner Planning



10 Minutes Partner planning 12-36 Month

Within this partner planning and P&L building process, there is a step to select marketing tactics, define the options, and calculate the budget, forecast, and ROI for each scenario that is created. This marketing calculator helps a partner to define their goals and recommend the appropriate tactics that match these goals. It then allows a partner to select the quantity and the specific tactic type and will automatically generate a recommended budget, lead, and revenue forecast and ROI for this marketing plan. Plus, it allows a partner to change virtually any variable in the plan and recalculate the budget, lead forecast, revenue and ROI instantly.
3-5 Minutes Planning
These tools allow all parties to get what they are looking for.
Partners: They get a tool to guide them with the selection of tactics that align with their goals and will create sales leads, a revenue forecast, budget, and ROI that they can believe in.
Vendors: Vendors can guide their partners toward tactics that are known to generate higher revenue and ROI. Each partner that completes this marketing plan and forecast can use it as a business case / ROI for an MDF co-funding request from the vendor. The vendor is then provided with a stronger ROI case to co-invest in the partner’s marketing plan.
Marketing budget, forecast and ROI calculators can play a vital role in encouraging partners to increase their investment in marketing and related enablement activities. It also provides vendors a stronger justification for co-investing in these partners demand generation programs. Ultimately it will build confidence from both parties and improve the likelihood of generating incremental revenue growth for all at a strong ROI.
Look forward to the second installment of this article (Part B: A Turn-Key MDF Planning, Forecasting, Approval, Validation and Performance Management System for Channel Marketing).

Coming Soon…

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