As a distributor you’ve got competition. So you need to stand out. Why should a vendor or partner choose you?
Your answer: stellar marketing.
We’ve been talking with @PaulRiddle about distribution marketing, and pooling our thoughts on how distribution can put the V back into VAD (Value Added Distribution) using marketing. We’ve boiled it down to five marketing moves that will not only make you stand out as a first-rate distributor to work with, but also help you unlock those coveted marketing development funds (MDF).
Here are the top five ways to put the V back into VAD using marketing.
Go-to-market (GTM) messaging plans are crucial. Having that nailed down will help you stand out to vendors and partners in a crowded market.
Your GTM messaging is your story to the channel about how you are positioning your offering (a solution, not just a product) in the market. It answers: what’s your value proposition? Marketing yourself with a solid story helps align you with each stakeholder in the channel - vendors and clients. It demonstrates you understand the market’s real needs and how you deliver, above and beyond. Your GTM plan is how you execute that together.
That alignment then helps you increase your stickiness with vendors and partners and, importantly, helps you unlock more MDF. We’ll talk about how that works in a moment.
But remember, you will need to tailor your GTM messaging to each vendor and reseller or customer because each of their needs differs. Your core message stays the same, but you adjust it to your audience in the same way you tailor your CV to different jobs even though you’re marketing the same person - you.
Claiming maximum marketing development funds (MDF) may be the holy grail of marketing as a distributor but it can take a huge amount of effort to secure. So you need to stand out with a proposal plan; one that can prove the return on the vendor’s investment.
You’ll stand out in the market if you develop measurable, quarterly or half-yearly MDF plans with the vendor that align to the joint business plan and goals and deliver pipeline. The alignment comes through a shared GTM message but you need to submit a proposal that speaks directly to sales.
How will you measure the ROI? What are the KPIs? And how will you maximise the use of the funds?
Whether you’re building an audience or nurturing leads with your MDF, the proposal plan must enable you to prove the campaign ROI. Too many distributors fall at this hurdle when submitting their MDF claims. It’s a headache for vendors. So this is where you can stand out.
If you can deliver on the MDF admin and compliance, you can become a reliable distributor that can be trusted with more.
Gain their trust by staying on top of the MDF proposal planning, timely claims submissions, lead tracking that gets linked to deal registrations, campaign results, and QBR presentations. It sounds like a lot, but the rewards for your efforts are huge. Secure more MDF, eliminate claim rejections, use the MDF by the deadlines, increase your trustworthiness, and open up more marketing opportunities.
Trust cements your relationships with vendors and partners.
Another way to stand out in the market is by adding exceptional marketing value to your partner relationships.
Make it as easy as possible for your partners to resell your offerings with pre-packaged marketing campaigns, and the partnership becomes highly attractive.
If you’re maximising your MDF, you can invest that funding into packaging up campaigns for your partners to execute - called ‘with-partner marketing’.
Take a look at the whole customer journey and build integrated marketing campaigns that take end customers from awareness to purchase. Then figure out how you’ll measure and track the ROI. You can then deliver the campaigns for your partners to use out-of-the-box, and you can use them yourself too. Your partners will never have been treated so well and you will cement long-term partnerships.
Plus, using your MDF to invest in measurable campaigns for your partners will continue to deliver trackable ROI to your vendor and help you claim more in the next proposal round.
Finally, you can differentiate yourself in the market by offering through-partner marketing campaigns. Use your MDF to fund demand generation campaigns that allow you to generate leads on behalf of your partners.
This is a massive value add that will attract high calibre clients. You become the lead engine and share your BANT qualified leads for partners to work on and close. The share of leads you provide will be tracked to your deal registration with each partner so the whole process is measurable and your partners are held to account.
Working with you will be a partner’s dream when you have clear messaging, MDF to invest, and quality leads to share.
In summary, the five ways marketing can help you stand out as a distributor (and unlock more MDF) are:
Nail your GTM messaging to align yourself with the channel
Earn the trust of your vendor with ROI attached to every MDF claim so you can unlock even more funds
Plan your MDF proposals to precision so you can always prove the ROI on claims
Deliver MDF-funded marketing campaigns to your partners to increase their market presence
Become the lead engine for your partners sharing qualified leads that maximise their sales conversions
Share your knowledge in the comments on what works to help you stand out as a distributor in the channel.