Vendors, Here’s What’s Wrong with Your Channel Programs

Finger Pointing

… pay off in short-term dividends. Market development funds (MDF) and programs are always a great way to get someone like me on their feet with something new. Funds and programs go together for a reason. I don’t have a well-staffed marketing department, never did, and I don’t expect to have one soon. If you offer to pay for a portion of a marketing program or offer half-baked programs, I don’t have anyone to complete them. Either pay for the whole cost of the campaign or deliver more out-of-the-box marketing programs.

Influence. Despite my tone, I do know you’re trying to help. I know the programs you create are designed to offer a carrot for me to take action. I’d like to help you understand why these programs often have no influence.

Let’s start with sales performance incentive funds, or SPIFs. Every now and then I get a SPIF check from a vendor. Thank you for sending me money, it is greatly appreciated, and feel free to send more. You should know, however, that the extra money changed absolutely nothing. I recommend solutions to customers that I know work. If one component of my solution fails, I fail. My reputation is everything, and I’m not going to risk it for a SPIF, but, again, thanks for the extra cash.😉

Your time and money would be better spent forming alliances to offer bundled solutions, creating enablement programs and testing interoperability. You’ve challenged me to find vendors for each component of the solution, educate my staff and test interoperability. I promise you that the vendor with the best alliances and enablement programs will always get my vote.

I also beg of you to rethink your volume rebates. With volume rebates, you’re rewarding channel partners who would already do a lot of business with you to simply keep doing it (see targeting above). It doesn’t help an up-and-comer get more traction and it definitely doesn’t help transform the Resister. In the end, it doesn’t really change anything except when the inventory gets purchased and at what price. Consider tying a key performance indicator (KPI) to it to transform the Resister. Consider bundling enablement and marketing development funds (MDFs) to support the up-and-comer.

My goal was to show you the view from the other side of the table. I hope that by understanding another critical viewpoint and becoming more knowledgeable about what works and what doesn’t, we can work better together to meet evolving customer demands, achieve digital transformation and stay ahead of growing and relentless competition.


Your valued channel partner

C.P. McGrowl, chief channel curmudgeon, is a recurring feature on Channel Partners. Since 2018, a rotating cast of characters have used this space to vent about what’s sticking in their craw. The Channel Partners editorial staff pledges to protect the identity(s) of C.P. McGrowl, up to and including a night or two in jail on contempt of court charges. Heck, that would add to their journalist cred. Bring it, DOJ.

Got something to say? Email the editor, and tell her McGrowl sent you.

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