This week, Zift had the tremendous honor of co-hosting Channel Breakthrough Live, at Google’s stunning headquarters in Mountain View, California. An ultimate meeting of channel marketing minds, the event featured thought leaders from Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, MatchCraft and Zift, all sharing exclusive insights into the future of channel programs and how organizations can capture and enjoy the benefits of Channel Marketing and Management (CMM).

After breakfast and a little networking, I welcomed attendees, noting that today’s B2B buyer is making decisions well before they make contact with sales professionals – and current changes within the channel are quite similar in impact to the paradigm shift cloud computing caused within the technology industry. And we were just getting started. The morning continued with lively discussion on these hot channel topics:

The Digital Evolution

Ben Wood, Director of Channel Sales Americas for Google was joined on stage by Diarmid Thomson, Head of Industry – Tech B2B for Google, for “The Digital Evolution: Trends to Drive your 2016 Marketing.” Ben and Diarmid discussed how B2B researchers and IT decision maker behaviors are continuing to evolve. These two dynamic presenters shared insights into today’s B2B purchase path and customer journey, including the role digital marketing plays today.

High-Performance AdWords & MDF

Brad Peterson, Senior VP of Business Development for MatchCraft, stepped up to the mic to discuss how to build a high performing and scalable AdWords program. Brad shared insight on how high-performance Google AdWords campaigns can be set up, how to use advanced algorithms to lower the cost per conversion, and how setting up “brackets” can make sure partners don’t bid up keywords by bidding against each other (or by bidding against the OEM).

A Bird’s Eye View of the Channel

Zift’s very own Scott England, VP of Alliances and Strategic Relationships embodied the excitement and spirit of the event with his presentation, “The View from Zift: Perspective and Roadmap.” Tapping into Zift’s bird’s eye view of channel marketing and management, Scott shared some of the global changes in the marketplace, including the consolidation of MarTech and AdTech, and the shift from point solutions to platforms. Scott also provided a sneak peek into what’s coming in the Zift product roadmap over the next 12-18 months. (We will share more on that soon!)

The HPE Channel Marketing Automation Journey

Mike Gallagher, Senior Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) then walked us through HPE’s own channel solutions story, sharing lessons learned and tough decisions made throughout the way. He included key data from several HPE partners and the success they have seen using Zift. Mike then opened the floor to a discussion and exchange of ideas and solutions regarding some the current challenges familiar to many channel organizations, including adapting to the increasingly inbound buyer.

Key Takeaway

The main takeaway from the event was that Google offered great possibilities to significantly improve lead generation for channel partner communities, but these advantages require sophistication to unlock. Specifically, this requires ad buying algorithms (e.g. those provided by MatchCraft), and then an environment that makes these powerful capabilities accessible. For channel partners, a great way to easily take advantage is to leverage the turn-key integration built directly into the Zift Solutions platform.