marketo-marketing-nation-summit-2014As a longstanding Marketo partner and certified Marketo Integrated LaunchPoint member, Zift was proud to be a part of last week’s Marketing Nation™ Summit in San Francisco. We had great conversations with established and new customers at our booth and were thrilled to demonstrate first hand how Zift extends the power of Marketo to drive channel sales. Plus, more than 1,000 attendees registered for our networking event, making our Monday night after party one of the highlights of the week.

The Summit’s lineup of keynote speakers, complete with Former Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton, Marketo Chairman and CEO Phil Fernandez, and Senior Vice President and CMO of GE Beth Comstock, was also impressive as were their thoughts on this year’s theme of Innovation in the Nation.

Partner portals are failing – but why?

There was one discordant note though for me from the show that came from one of the track presentations I attended and wanted to provide my thoughts on it.

The presentation was around channel marketing and portals. While the presenters noted that portals are failing to engage channel partners, they pointed to content as the problem. Moreover, they encouraged vendors to look for “an agency of record” rather than an integrated technology platform and a proven Through Partner Marketing Automation (TPMA) solution to solve channel marketing challenges.

After working directly with Marketo and thousands of channel marketing and sales professionals over the years, I must disagree.

The fact is, partner portals don’t work as a root cause because they force partners to leave the environment where they work day in and out and log in to yet another application environment to manage leads and opportunities.

Certainly content is important but is systemic to engagement with partners and is quickly fixed when one implements the right channel marketing automation solution. And it’s been my experience that the vast majority of channel partners don’t need another agency to hold their hands while charging exorbitant fees for services they don’t require. Instead, they need leads and prospecting insight automatically delivered within the systems they use every day.

“Measure twice and cut once.”

If you’re ready to extend Marketo to work with your channel partners then look for a certified Marketo Integrated LaunchPoint partner to ensure that your Lead Distribution and TPMA are actually integrated, so that you can seamlessly distribute leads and prospecting data directly into Marketo.

Before you make any decisions – it pays to do the research and follow the old adage – “measure twice and cut once.” When evaluating partners I suggest, keeping these vital points in mind:

  1. Channel marketing automation is tough and very few do it well. Select an established partner with a strong reputation and proven technology to automate lead distribution and reporting as well as enhance visibility across the sales lifecycle.
  2. Don’t be fooled by agencies with thin layers of technology and lots of costly services underneath. Look for a complete, integrated channel marketing solution that doesn’t require more work from your partners.
  3. Expect integrations with Marketo to actually work with Webhooks and Marketo’s new REST API to push technology triggers, automate revenue processes and capture new opportunities. The right partner will help you take advantage of all of the latest Marketo features and capabilities.
  4. Ask for live instances of real customers using their integrations to extend Marketo usage along with KPIs that demonstrate results.

Your Marketo investments matter. Choose a partner that truly extends your Marketo investments with seamless integration to supercharge channel sales efforts.

Did you attend the Marketo Summit last week? If so, what were some of your highlights? Let us know in the comments section below.