Channel Mechanics

Best Practices for Managing Regional & Partner Variations for MDF

Channel Mechanics

We talk at lot in Channel Mechanics about how there is no one-size-fits-all approach to partnering. So with many different partner types and business models, what is the best way to manage regional and partner variations for MDF?

Channel Mechanics’ VP of Sales John McArdle quizzed Ryan Griffis, Global Channel Programs Manager at Extreme Networks, Mimish Lesperance, Director Field Channel Marketing Americas at Barracuda and Kenneth Fox, CEO at Channel Mechanics, on this very topic on our ‘‘Building an MDF Program for Today’s Channel Ecosystem,’ webinar.




Understanding the Importance of Managing MDF Variations

During the conversation, Lesperance shared her experience of revamping Barracuda’s MDF program for partners across different global regions.

“We worked very closely in collaboration with the EMEA and APAC,” she said. “On the American side, our model is very focused on our resellers and our VARs. When you shift over to EMEA or APAC, it’s more distribution-led. With that comes some variances. So we worked very closely with our counterparts in the region to ensure that we were building a model that works. We did so because a two-tier model is always going to take a different trajectory in terms of your approach.”

Lesperance outlined the importance of managing MDF variations, stating that Barracuda didn’t want to create unnecessary programs.


“As companies grow, you’ll find a lot of programs that are dramatically different and don’t seem to align theatre by theatre. This does not create a good experience for your partner ecosystem. What we tried to think about with MDF is, where do we have commonalities and where are we going to be different? And to be very clear in terms of how that’s managed.”



Empowering Regions to Manage MDF Variations

Accepting regional variances is important, said Lesperance.

“We leave our respective regions to manage their variances, and in the Americas my team and I own the MDF process and proposals and how we go to market. We leave our international counterparts to manage those variances in each country, so that it works with their model and it’s effective.”

On the topic of managing MDF variations, Griffis agreed that regional teams should have the flexibility to direct funds where they think they’ll have the biggest impact. At the same time, Griffis said Extreme Networks is currently working on better integrations for its partner business with its marketing and funding planning processes – something that many vendors will understand, given the often siloed functions.

Griffis outlines how Extreme Networks have come up with different ways to leverage MDF, “We still have the allocations out to the geos – which is essentially the Americas, EMEA and APAC – and then the regions within those share those geo pots,” he said.

Extreme Networks practice a traditional method where a partner submits a pre-approval request which they then claim. However, they have also experienced success, particularly in EMEA, where they used MDF to pay for campaigns set up by their marketing team along with third-party agencies, where they didn’t require partners to submit requests and claims per the traditional process.


“We use MDF to pay for that, but we don’t require partners to submit the requests and claims per the traditional process,” he said. “We’ll plug specific partners into those programs, and they will benefit them. So, MDF is being used, the partner is benefiting, business is being generated, but it doesn’t necessarily follow the traditional request and claim route.”


Looking to report key metrics on MDF program use and ROI to justify marketing spend to finance? Contact our team today, and transform your MDF program tomorrow.

Schedule a demo

Stay Connected

Follow Channel Mechanics on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date on all things channel.

Schedule a demo

Discover how our channel enablement platform can transform your channel strategy. Schedule a demo today.

Schedule a Demo

Stay in touch

Be the first to get channel invites and complimentary access to content