At Zift, I get the opportunity to work closely with organizations interested in supporting their partner networks and capturing more channel sales with Through Channel Marketing Automation (TCMA), also known as Through Partner Marketing Automation (TPMA).

We really are committed to educating our customers and prospects, and want them to understand TCMA is a journey. Because we’ve helped so many channel organizations chart a course to TCMA, we know that it takes more than a sales-oriented meeting to launch a program that will deliver results and ROI. It takes strategic planning, defining benchmarks, education and sometimes soft launches to do TCMA right (all of which is second-nature to us here at Zift).

Those who succeed with TCMA have taken the following steps before purchasing and implementing a solution:

1. Make a Plan

Identify your goals and determine exactly what you want to measure. TCMA requires careful planning and it should not be pursued as a reaction to current channel trends. By working with stakeholders within your organization and informed, education-minded vendors to create a comprehensive plan for TCMA from the start, you’ll be in a much better position to discuss your needs, select the right solutions and develop a plan for implementation.

2. Determine Your Budget

Before evaluating available TCMA solutions, it’s a good idea to figure out how much your organization is willing to invest. Then you can start to build the business case in order to get stakeholders and management to support the full scope of TCMA. Share this budget with vendors as well; it’s helpful for vendors to know your planned Year-1 budget.

3. Examine More Than Technology

Educated buyers know that it takes more than just technology to be successful. Research available options that align with your vision and strategic plan for TCMA. Then do some reading to see what established analysts like SiriusDecisions and Forrester Research have to say about organizations and solutions in the TCMA market. Then ask all the vendors on your short list, the same questions: Do they have the support resources to make you successful, not just today, but into the future? Can they see your long term vision and support it with a platform that plays nice with the other tools you use every day? After go-live, who can you turn to for help, best practices and making the most out of your investment? What about the existing customer base? Do they have a strong community of customers that you can talk to directly about their success?

4. Evaluate Your Partner Community

TCMA isn’t a match for all channel partners. You’ll need to evaluate the maturity of your partner community before simply providing them with access. Take time to talk to your partners in order to determine how many would use and benefit from solutions like Content or Social Media Syndication, Automated Lead Distribution Management, Email Campaigns, Online Advertising and more. The Zift and SiriusDecisions webinar, “5 Key Ingredients for a Positive and Profitable Partner Experience” speaks to this topic directly, offering tremendous insight and direction for mapping the journey to partner experience excellence and selecting the right TCMA tools for your partners.

5. Get Organizational Buy-In

Far from a “one-and-done” solution, TCMA is a process that requires organizational buy-in and ongoing internal support to succeed. You’ll need a senior executive sponsor that you can work closely with to communicate your goals to the entire company and carefully evaluate whether you have the available resources to manage and support TCMA on an ongoing basis before proceeding.

6. Ask the Experts

Once you’ve done your homework, you can confidently work with a TCMA vendor who has the experience, best practices and proven partner participation to help you navigate the journey successfully.

Zift has worked with thousands of channel organizations, and wants to help you, too. No matter where you are in the process, you can count on us to get involved early on to help you develop your strategy, establish performance benchmarks and even implement a program to ensure that you can meet your specific objectives for TCMA.

Aimie Vargas

As Director of Sales, Western Region at Zift Solutions, Aimie works with companies to help them drive more revenue through their partner network, increasing leads and pipeline, and capitalizing on full-view analytics of how well their channel is performing.