When market development funds are on the table, several campaign ideas might come to mind. How do you pick the right one to get the best return on your spending?

Turning MDF into additional business revenue is the end goal, but there are many paths you could take to get there. From increasing local awareness about your company through a direct mail campaign to differentiating yourself from a competitor with paid media, the options are endless.

Some channel partner programs also have a number of approved campaign types to choose from, which can make it even more difficult to choose the right way to spend your funds. Make the decision easier by selecting one of these four high-value uses for MDF.

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Fund Your Paid Social Campaigns

In the U.S. alone, paid social spend is estimated to reach $47.9 billion this year, an increase of over $10 billion from 2019.

The audience targeting capabilities for social ads are a driving force behind their popularity, especially on LinkedIn. Companies can select from hundreds of characteristics, such as showing the ad to people who work at a prospective customer organization, have a specific job title, or have a certain level of seniority.

This amount of targeting makes paid social a great use of MDF for channel partners since it increases the likelihood of reaching a target audience with interests that align with the ad offer. In turn, this makes you more likely to achieve the campaign KPIs.

As a channel partner, you can also narrow your ad audience down to cities, local languages, or local competitors’ followers. Targeting a hyper-local audience reduces the chance that your campaign efforts overlap with any from the program-managing company and lets your ad dollars go further.

Campaigns for awareness, engagement, or lead gen can all be responsible for increasing channel partner revenue and maximizing MDF. Spend some time determining which campaign type aligns best with your current sales and marketing objectives, whether that be spreading the word about a big product update or quickly generating more MQLs for sales reps to engage.


Invest in Google Ads

There are over 3.5 billion Google searches each day, and you can take advantage of Google’s impressive traffic for your business. With the right Google Ads budget, an ad for your service or special offer can sit at the top of the results page for the most relevant search terms.

Dan Baum, a marketing coordinator for the digital sales and marketing giant IMPACT, put the power of Google ads into perspective when he compared the pros and cons of the platform.

“Different from other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn—or even billboards and junk mail—Google Ads lets you only show your ads to people who are already searching for something similar to what you offer,” Baum said. “So, instead of broadcasting your message to anyone that’s around to hear it, you are only speaking directly to users already in the market for your products or services.”

Another benefit of running Google ads and other digital ad types is that you’re able to use metrics from the platform and trackable links to determine the performance of the ad and its influence on future customers. This will come in handy when it’s time to show the success of your campaign and be considered for market development funds in the future.

Reserve Your Spot at an Industry Event

Events are one of the most common uses of MDF because they put channel partners face-to-face with potential customers, even if the event is virtual.

Events build brand recognition and allow representatives from the company to share their expertise while engaging with prospects. They are just as beneficial for awareness as they are for generating sales.

When attendees sign up for the company’s contact list, they’re able to further qualify themselves and let the company know which product or service they’re interested in. Those contact details can then be added to the CRM to track the customer journey.

It’s also important to have a solid event follow up strategy to make sure valuable leads aren’t left on the table. Following up with each lead as soon as you can after the event gives you a better idea of their interest in buying from the company. Some leads may turn into a sales conversation, and even the ones that aren’t ready for that step might have strong enough interest to be added to an email nurture list and followed up with in the future.


Bring in Sales Development Specialists

While paid social, Google Ads, and industry events are all valuable uses of MDF, there’s a level of risk with each activity since there’s no guarantee they’ll result in new business.

A more predictable option for using MDF is outsourcing sales development. Hiring a team that specializes in sales development allows your internal sales team to focus on meeting with a steady stream of new opportunities and closing sales.

When looking for an organization to handle this effort, consider the payment model used by the company. A pay-per-appointment model is best since it means you only pay the organization when they set an appointment for your team. With this model, you’re able to determine how many meetings with MQLs your investment will lead to.

If you’re looking to invest your market development funds in sales development, consider Inside Sales Solutions, a company that generates more than 3,000 appointments and $120 million in sales pipelines yearly for channel program partners.


With most channel partner programs, partners that receive market development funds have several options for how to spend them. Some options focus more on building brand awareness while others focus on lead generation and promotion of specific products and services.

No matter which activity you choose, be prepared to provide proof of performance for your MDF campaign. This is easier said than done for some uses of funding.

The best way to decide how to use MDF is to focus on the weak points in your customer journey, which could be waning awareness, difficulty differentiating your offer from the competition in your region, or bringing in a more consistent stream of MQLs.

Strengthening the areas where your in-house team struggles will help you hit your lead gen and sales targets with more consistency and strengthen the partnership with your channel program manager.

Considering Outsourced Sales Development?

Don't make your decision until you read our guide to creating a successful partnership for growth.

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