Tell us about your career journey. What led you to Zift?

Marc Sachdev, Director of Channel Engagement: I’ve been in the technology industry most of my career, predominantly in marketing. I’ve had a variety of roles from head of the marketing organization at small software companies to small but important parts in global organizations with multi-billion dollar budgets. Even with all that variety, there are common threads and they are: Identifying prospects, understanding what they want, and providing them the information to make a buy decision – for you! I spoke with a few people at Zift and realized there is a great opportunity here. 


I can see how that would help with Channel Engagement.

It does. At the end of the day, one big part of Channel Engagement is helping partners perform marketing practices effectively. So you really have to understand marketing. 


What part of Zift are you enjoying the most?

One of the things I like most is the global footprint. I lead an international team and about half of the members are outside the US, with support offered in nine languages. Our follow-the-sun support is something I’m proud of. 

I also really like the fact that I get to work with many of the different departments. Our team is involved with product development since we connect with actual product users and can give feedback. We also work closely with the Professional Services and implementation teams, and with marketing to build sales enablement content for Channel Engagement.


Tell me about Channel Engagement. What is it? What do you do?

Channel Engagement’s primary role is helping our partners be successful. That includes everything from getting them onboarded, training them on the Zift platform, to supporting them in implementing creative programs to drive new business.  

It’s an interesting role because partners are busy people, and we have to prove that we add value to them. So for example, once we show partners how to launch a campaign, we start building a relationship. Of course, partners are great at what they do, but they’re not necessarily marketing experts. We use our in-house expertise to build up their knowledge. 


What types of challenges does Channel Engagement solve for partners and suppliers?

Suppliers use the channel model to increase their footprint, or to get into new lines of business or geographies. Partners are busy, so we help them understand what’s available in terms of marketing best practices and content that comes from the supplier. We are the bridge between partners and suppliers. 


So, where’s the ROI in this for suppliers?

We help partners and suppliers understand what data is relevant and important. For example, activity stats are important — for example, how many emails were sent or opened. But there’s a tendency to get absorbed in how many emails were sent. And while that may be interesting, what really matters is how many leads and deals a given partner was able to create using the Zift platform. So in addition to helping onboard partners and building a relationship with them, we help them learn to sell more.


So, you sift through all that data and pass it along for suppliers?

We help them sort through the data. With ZiftONE, there’s a lot of data to be found. Channel Engagement helps them understand what data drives results.  


What do you think customers should be thinking about for 2020? How can they use Channel Engagement to help? 

They should be focusing on leads and ultimately on sales. The end goal of Channel Engagement is to generate leads for partners. So the more the partners and clients focus on how many leads were generated by the marketing campaigns that either we helped create or that we created outright, the better. Our concierge service is a great way to accomplish this. We can run an entire marketing campaign from creation, content, segmenting databases, formatting email campaigns, and creating plugins. For smaller firms, this can be a lifesaver — and it’s a great way to go into 2020. 


So what are you excited about for this year, for the channel?

One thing I’m really excited about is I’ve launched a high-performing Channel Engagement program. Artificial intelligence will take over all of our jobs unless we’re adding value. What we’re doing is automating a lot of mundane and boring tasks to free up our team to build relationships and add value with partners. Leveraging AI with our channel expertise is a great combination. 


Mind telling a little bit about you? Any fun hobbies?

I’m an avid cyclist, so moving to North Carolina has helped me enjoy that even more! I moved here from the cold and snowy north about three years ago, and I’m enjoying another 55-degree winter day. The Triangle area is fantastic in terms of culture and learning opportunities. It’s a really fun place to live.