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It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th Century that surfing caught on around the world — led by Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimmer who is now known as the “Father of Surfing.”  Duke caught wave after wave in Hawaii, Australia, and eventually the US mainland, where “Hang-10” became a popular saying as surfing became a way of life, particularly among long-boarders who would hang all 10 toes over the edge of their surfboards. 

Much like Duke, Zift has caught wave after wave in terms of analyst recognition. Fresh off the heels of winning Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 Best Practices Award for Innovation Excellence, Zift has once again been named a Leader in the 2020 Forrester Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA) Wave Report.  But this isn’t the first time that has happened.  In fact, over the last three years, we’ve been named leader in different categories by one of the industry’s leading analyst firms.  

For the 2020 TCMA Wave Report, the analysts at Forrester not only ranked Zift highest across the board in Strategy but also gave us top scores (5 of 5) across 11 categories!  (For those of you who have already listened to my podcast, we found out we’d captured 11 rather than 10 high scores after recording). I thought it would be useful to take a deep dive in each of these areas and see how each translates into value new or existing channel suppliers can realize using the Zift platform. Let’s start by Hanging-10…

HANG-10 IN THE CHANNEL

  1. Digital Asset Management. Partners with little to no marketing resources can realize huge benefits simply by accessing a Supplier’s catalog of whitepapers, case studies, competitive docs, etc.  Today’s partner sales rep has to be part marketer, part business developer!  To do so, they need a robust asset management facility that allows for advanced asset versioning, personalization, and categorization — such as vertical, product line or even language.
  2. Partner Execution. Today’s busy suppliers don’t have time for partner hand-holding — but Zift does. ZiftONE makes it easy for partners to execute multi-touch and multi-tactic campaigns all by themselves, with a little help from our Channel Engagement team, or complete end-to-end campaign support and execution from our experts.
  3. Marketing Vehicles. Suppliers find it challenging to ensure partners adequately represent and extend their branding.  To ensure effective communications and delivery of prescriptive programs, a broad set of marketing vehicles is required by channel marketing teams to get the job done.
  4. Subscription/Profile Management. Most channel program amazingly have little data, besides basic company and contact information, on their partners.  A flexible data model is required to create an ideal partner profile, which can then allow partners to provide information on what unique capabilities do they have, or which verticals do they sell into or even what other Suppliers do they work with.  With ZiftONE’s versatility to create flexible profiles and make it easy for partners to manage them, Suppliers can capture the right data to create more effective offers, such as tailored marketing programs.
  5. Digital marketing execution. Supporting single tactics, like social or content syndication is baseline at best.  As suppliers try to help partners tell their story and help differentiate themselves from other partners, an arsenal of marketing tactics, like those which have evolved on the ZiftONE platform for years, to reap the advantages of digital marketing.
  6. Security and Compliance.  Partner portals, the door into most Supplier programs, should be well-protected but made easy to allow single-sign-on across multiple platforms.  So too should compliance with GDPR, CCPA and other evolving privacy standards, which comes from having both, an experienced team and an enterprise-grade software platform.
  7. Integration.  Channel software can be complex, especially when it comes to getting tools to talk to each other.  ZiftONE focuses on being a “good citizen” in a Supplier’s technology stack with Developer Central, a native API interface. It also makes it easy for partners to provide updates on deals, opportunities, etc. via two-way, self-service CRM “connectors”, which partners are likely to have, but are often overlooked by other channel software providers,  that make it easier to receive regular updates.
  8. UI/UX.  Partners often report a lack of productivity as a result of not being able to find things on the Supplier’s portal.  The true test of an integrated solution is its ability to provide a seamless partner experience, through a well-designed interface across multiple application areas, e.g. PRM, LMS, TCMA and across multiple devices that can drive higher partner adoption.
  9. Product Innovation Roadmap.  Adapting to new partner types, new ways of doing business and the ever-changing role of distributors and Master Agents requires Zift to “read the tea leaves” and plan for innovation in our software.  A great example of this is how we’ve incorporated “Partner Groups” and “Tiers” into the very essence of what it is to be called a partner on our platform.  With this ability, no matter what type of channel a Supplier supports, we can model their partners and way of doing business on ZiftONE.
  10. Supporting Products and Services.  It takes more than software to run a channel program.  From the Supplier, resources are required to help partners register, engage, learn and drive revenue.  Through an experienced channel engagement team, a world-class customer success organization and our very-own Channel Center of Excellence, Zift has the resources in place to fill the gaps and help our customers reach their channel goals.

Get Barreled with ZiftZone (Our Ecosystem & 11th High Score) 

Hanging-10 is awesome but getting barreled is considered the ultimate surfing experience as you are surrounded completely by the wave as you shoot through the tube. This brings to mind that 11th category Zift grabbed a 5 out of 5 score from Forrester in the latest WAVE report: Our Partner Ecosystem, ZiftZone.

Zift launched ZiftZone in 2019 and since then we have enlisted some of the channel’s leading software and services companies to surround our customers with everything they need — within ZiftONE. It’s like finding the calm and safety inside the chaos of the channel, which is exactly what surfers feel when they get barreled.

A lot has happened since the arrival of the first longboard on the beaches of Waikiki.  Surfboards have become shorter, more aerodynamic, enabling riders to conquer the most challenging waves. Each year, Zift strives to meet our own challenge — keeping our customers and the analyst community apprised of our ability to deliver real solutions for the channel.   

This year we met that challenge with a new product, ZiftONE, which although new to some, has been 12 years in the making.  Being named Leader in the 2020 Forrester TCMA WAVE report after launching ZiftONE the previous year is a testament to all who work at Zift and believe the customer’s success is our number one passion. 

Take a few minutes to see why Zift keeps making waves by reading the full Forrester TCMA Wave, Q2 2020 and listen to me chat more about what you can and should be taking away from analyst reports in this week’s episode of Channel Chatter LIVE. Then give us a shout to find out how we can help you and your partners Hang-10 and get barreled with Zift. We’ll see you at the beach!