Zift was in Hollywood last week taking part in Channel Focus North America 2016. For 19 years now, this event has brought together channel superstars and thought leaders from around the country to teach and share strategies and tactics leading vendors are using to develop their businesses and capture market share.

Key Insights from Channel Superstars

Keynote speaker Robert Soderbery, senior vice president, Enterprise Segment of Cisco Systems, kicked off the event discussing the Internet of Things, and how what some are brushing off as the latest IT buzzword will actually impact the channel. Jenn Reed, VP of channel marketing for Channel Maven Consulting, a Zift Alliance Partner, discussed the latest thinking regarding Through Partner Marketing. Our own Ken Romley unveiled five key ways partner data drives better decisions and Mark Schlief, Zift’s vice president of customer success, led a Channel Marketing Fundamentals Workshop.

From industry updates, to strategic channel marketing presentations that covered key issues like the impact of cloud, new routes to market, and how to adapt activities to capitalize on emerging opportunities, the event was packed with channel marketing insight that was relevant today and will position organizations for success into the future.

Using Partner Data to Make Better Decisions

Ken Romley at Channel Focus 2016

The focus of Zift CEO Ken Romley’s presentation was on the importance of using partner data to make better decisions. He emphasized that:

  • Suppliers need to coordinate their marketing activities with partners – and often among partners themselves. In doing so, you can keep ad buys and more from competing with one another – costing you more in the long run than what you put in.
  • In the new age of hyper lead profiling, you can and should use analytics to combine the digital body language of customers and prospects across your network to get a panoramic view of their activity.
  • Partners don’t want to log into separate portals and systems. Deliver the tools they need into the CRM, SFA and MA systems they use everyday to drive engagement and results.
  • If you want to modify partner behavior to get and stay involved in active marketing programs, consider tying marketing development funds (MDF) allocation to specific lead generation goals, or try gamification tactics to keep partners engaged.

Channel Marketing Fundamentals

Mark Shlief Presenting at Channel Focus 2016

Attendees of Mark’s Channel Marketing Fundamentals workshop walked away knowing:

  • They key attributes of any successful marketing automation program including the importance of an integrated marketing strategy and the four cornerstones of effective partner engagement.
  • How to conduct an internal assessment of an existing channel program and outline a process for to set vision, strategy and resource preparation.
  • The basic tools necessary to get started, what to look for in today’s channel marketing and management solutions, and ways to measure true channel automation success.

If you missed the event this year, work Channel Focus 2017 into your calendar. You’ll rub elbows with the most knowledgeable executives from leading IT-related channel vendors, partners and enterprise customers – and learn real world channel strategies that have worked, from the people who have made them work.