In my earlier blog posts, I highlighted how partner investment funds (such as MDF and BDF) are undergoing significant changes in response to the evolving landscape of the indirect channel. These changes include the embrace of partner ecosystems, alignment with the customer’s purchasing journey, a heightened focus on ensuring long-term partner success, and increased competition for partner engagement.

To reshape partner investment funds, businesses need to reassess and readjust their approach, encompassing strategy, organizational structure, funding mechanisms, market segmentation, resource allocation, support, and empowerment, as well as the metrics used to gauge the effectiveness of these funds. In this last edition, I will highlight best practices for Measuring and Maximizing Investment Funds Success:

Align your investment fund allocations and activities with your strategic priorities

Investment funds are no longer ‘free money’ to be allocated to partners based on personal relationships or past performance.  They are ‘investments’; an allocation of funds with prescribed and forecasted outcomes.   Funds may be available to partners based on program tiers or past performance, but they should not be allocated or paid if the activities are not aligned with your strategic priorities.

As budgets are tightened it is important to invest in your channel strategically.

This includes prioritizing time and budgets on partners that drive long-term growth.  The overhead expense (time and money) of MDF programs, makes participation by non-strategic partners an investment with low ROI.  Long-tail partners still require time and investment but collaboration with them should be automated, self-serve, or streamlined.

Strategic priorities could include focus on product or market, driving new logo acquisition, building partner competencies, driving sales funnel growth, and/or partner readiness.

These priorities should have established Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which are measurable with quantitative data.  If your investment fund data does not directly impact your program KPIs then you are not aligned with your strategic priorities.  Adjust your investment funds objectives, metrics, and goals to directly align with your corporate priorities.

To measure the direct impact on your strategic priorities KPIs (which should be quantitative), your investment funds metrics must also be quantitative.

If you cannot identify quantitative results, then the funds are probably an expense as opposed to an investment.  Your investment fund activities may also produce qualitative results, but you cannot measure ROI without quantifying your ‘Return’.

It is also important to measure your investment program performance.  You should have objectives, goals, and metrics for your process and compliance.   Utilize program operational metrics to ensure your program is running efficiently.  This should include the soft and hard costs of each step in the process for you and your partner. Inefficient processes not only drive down vendor and partner ROI, they also significantly impact the partner’s willingness to participate.  You should also measure compliance.  Even if you have designed your program to maximize ROI for you and your partner, lack of compliance may negate your strategy and reduce your return.  Track and report compliance metrics.  Ensure appropriate actions are taken to strengthen compliance.

Lastly, utilize success data to drive future campaigns and partner allocations.

Identify the activities and partners that are having the most significant impact on your strategic priority KPIs and double down on them.


Partner Investment funds are becoming more scarce and more scrutinized.  Design and run your investment programs in a way that you can report an undisputable impact on your strategic priorities.


Did you miss Part 5 of the series? Click to read now.

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