Are you a Microsoft Partner that belongs to incentive programs like Cloud Solution Provider, Managed Reseller, Hosting, or Surface?
Being a Microsoft Partner comes with a multitude of benefits, licensing incentives to enhanced support options. But while nearly every Microsoft Partner takes full advantage of these well-known benefits, there are several others that many Microsoft Partners let expire every year. These include your cooperative marketing funds, which can help you fund the promotion of your company.
So what are cooperative (co-op) marketing funds? And why isn’t every Microsoft Partner taking full advantage of what is essentially free money? Let’s dive in to the why and what, and how you can reap the benefits.
And here’s the good news: If you are already part of these incentive programs, you’ve been building up co-op funds!
What Are Cooperative (Co-op) Marketing Funds?
Cooperative marketing funds are Microsoft funds that can be for marketing activities that build brand awareness or contribute to your sales funnel. These funds are accrued through the Microsoft Incentive Programs by claiming reimbursement for “activities that support Microsoft product awareness.” This means you earn co-op funds automatically by participating in incentive programs like Cloud Solution Provider, Managed Reseller, Hosting, and Surface.
Co-op funds enable you to conduct marketing activities that will increase Microsoft’s brand awareness and drive sales pipeline growth. You can invest co-op funds in activities to facilitate “readiness, develop specializations, or attain Microsoft certifications – activities that foster focused solution practices and Centers of Excellence.” Sound vague? It is. Later in this guide, we will outline some examples of the best ways you can use your co-op funds. But there’s more you should know about how they’re calculated, as well as when and how you can use them.
How Can I See How Much Money I’ve Already Accrued?
Microsoft calculates funds in two, six-month periods. Microsoft calls them H1 and H2, which stand for fiscal half-year; it runs from July to December and January to June respectively. During the earning period, Microsoft calculates 60% of global incentive earnings, which are paid as a monthly rebate. The remaining 40% of global incentive earnings are placed into a co-op fund.
If your co-op earnings are below the $10,000 USD threshold in a co-op earning period, the earnings are converted to a rebate at the end of that 6-month period. It’s important to note that co-op earnings for the current earning period are not visible in the Co-op Management