MSPs Access $255K in MDF from Cisco to Boost Digital Footprint with Vendasta

  • Vendasta partners with leading IT manufacturer Cisco in May 2022
  • Program offered to managed service providers (MSPs) across the US
  • Pre-approved digital solutions made available to support MSPs

The Vendasta | Cisco Partnership Contributes to the Utilization of More Than $255K in Marketing Development Funds

The Challenge

Historically, marketing development funds have been a massive challenge for MSPs to execute and implement. Vendasta sought to partner with leading IT manufacturer Cisco to raise awareness, streamline the use of these funds, and provide digital marketing support to MSPs who needed it.

$750K Quarterly MDF available to MSPs: In partnership with Cisco, Vendasta developed a strategy to help MSPs utilize available MDF.

318% Increase in MDF utilization: Cisco reports an increase in the utilization of funds from 8% to 34%, roughly $255K, up from only $80K in the previous quarter

15 MSPs onboarded with Vendasta: Vendasta supports MSPs with purpose-built packages of solutions, deployed to assist them with digital marketing.


Marketing development funds (MDF) are a resource that IT vendors allocate to their customers based on spend. MDF can be used for sales and marketing programs to help expand the business. With the onset of the pandemic and many in-person promotional efforts like golf tournaments and customer appreciation events coming to a halt, it left many managed service providers and IT specialists at a loss for how to utilize their available MDF. Manufacturers provide funds to help their MSP partners grow, but for many MSPs and IT specialists, the approval process is too complicated. Many funds are left unused.


In May 2022, Vendasta sought out to partner with Cisco in order to:

  • Raise awareness and remove barriers for MSPs to utilize marketing development funds (MDF)
  • Help MSPs attract new clients and retain existing business by improving their online presence
  • Create packages of valuable digital marketing solutions that will help the MSPs grow and improve their lead-generation efforts beyond word-of-mouth referrals

The Approach

Education and awareness

To kick off the partnership, Vendasta co-hosted a webinar event with Cisco to educate MSPs on the importance of marketing development funds.

“It’s free money. You have done the hard work and partnered with an IT manufacturer. You’re trained and certified; you’re selling it through to your customers. You’ve earned that money,” says Vendasta Director of Sales, IT Channel, Andrew Down.

“MSPs are technically minded, they’re not sales and marketing focused. Marketing development funds are a great avenue to kickstart some marketing for your business. Historically, MSPs have grown largely by word of mouth with referrals and relationships in their local markets. It doesn’t hurt to have some potential inbound lead flow or content creation and collateral that you could use in sales motions long term.”

Global Partner Sales Leader at Cisco Michelle Ragusa McBain mirrors Down’s remarks.

“MSPs are amazing advisors, technicians, strategists, business leaders, and visionaries, but when it comes to marketing, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

“Consider what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, and look at that weakness as an opportunity to partner with those people who can do it with you and help enable your success,” Ragusa McBain says.

Marketing development funds: Overcoming barriers

With only 8% of available funds utilized from the previous quarter, Vendasta recognized the opportunity to support managed service providers and IT specialists, streamlining the process for accessing these funds.

“By partnering with Cisco, we were able to agree on what would qualify as fundable marketing content and solutions. One of the big risks as an MSP owner is spending the MDF they have available with no guarantee it would be approved. So we were able to get in front of some of the requirements,” Down says.


Managed service provider outreach

Vendasta reached out to dozens of managed service providers, making more than 100 calls to MSPs to offer support and options for utilizing their MDF.

Through a selection of purpose-built digital marketing solution packages, MSPs were able to work with a dedicated Vendasta representative to select a set of solutions that best fit their business goals and budget. Once on board, the MSPs have the advantage of managing their online presence and viewing proof-of-performance reporting built into the managed service provider software on the Vendasta platform.

“We were really excited to partner with Vendasta. [They] came to us when we were just beginning our true marketing effort. [They] have a team for me to navigate through my options,” says Managed Service Provider and President of IP Consulting, Cherri Mosey.

“This method will help us meet our leads where they are at, capturing prospective clients who are wanting to buy and coming to us for education, ” Mosey says.

Partnering to help MSPs define their marketing strategy and grow their businesses

No longer can MSPs afford to adopt the field-of-dreams mentality of “we will build it, they will come.” It’s imperative that managed service providers are meeting a growing millennials customer base where they are already interacting online.

“85% of decision makers look for up to 5 pieces of content before they even talk to a sales person. MSPs need to look at that and ask themselves if they have that content,” Ragusa McBain says.

Consumers are much more frequently conducting independent research before they make a purchase decision, making digital marketing and the utilization of marketing development funds essential for MSPs and IT specialists in 2023 and beyond.

WATCH: Learn more about streamlining MDF utilization from Michelle Ragusa McBain, Cherri Mosey, and Andrew Down at a recent webinar: Tales of MSPs leaving MDF on the table.

“Vendasta understands this landscape. When we partnered together, we saw a big jump from 8% to 34% utilization of available marketing development funds. It’s about building awareness, creating the right content, and having the right people to execute.”

Michelle Ragusa McBain

Bundling digital solutions to help MSPs succeed online:

  • 1)Digital Advertising
  • 2)Reputation Management
  • 3)Social Marketing
  • The Conclusion

    With the foundations set for a successful partnership, Vendasta will look ahead to forge relationships with more major IT manufacturers, continuing to educate MSPs on the benefits of marketing development funds.

    By expanding its reach, Vendasta is positioning itself to streamline MDF use for more MSPs in the future.