BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

Star2Star’s success is tied to its laser focus on partner satisfaction. “100 percent of sales through the channel means 100 percent focus on partners,” says David Portnowitz, CMO at Star2Star. But engaging and enabling partners is no easy task.  

Manual, one-off and repetitive to-dos, like checking co-op balances, creating co-branded data sheets and email campaigns, were overly time-consuming. Marketing Development Funds (MDF) weren’t always used or optimized by partners. And Star2Star lacked a clear sense of the ROI they were earning from their channel engagement activities.

Star2Star’s previous solution was tough to manage and couldn’t deliver the content efficiencies and results required, so partners were just not using the platform. They needed a multi-faceted solution to engage and empower their diversified network of partners, made up of distributors, master agents, managed service providers and certified installing dealers, many of whom have limited time and marketing know-how. What would capture their partners’ interest and make Star2Star’s program stand out from the rest?

“Launching Zift was a powerful step in providing our partners with the best channel program in the industry,”

– David Portnowitz, Chief of Marketing, Star2Star

THE BEST PLAN FOR PARTNER SUCCESS

“We looked for a solution that would provide our partners with more self-service options to customize and co-brand their own materials, manage co-op funds, track leads and run multi-tactic campaigns themselves within a truly modern marketing platform,” said Portnowitz. “Zift Solutions offered the most comprehensive channel management features and resources — and the best plan for partner success — within the most cost-effective solution set.”

Zift and Star2Star collaborated to announce the launch of the Star2Star Partner Marketing Hub in Spring of 2018, complete with a series of educational webinars and training sessions to ensure partner success and engagement with the Zift platform.

Today, Star2Star is using Zift to enable more than 400 of its channel partners with Through Partner Marketing Automation (TPMA) for high-impact digital marketing. Zift Campaign Marketplace simplifies and optimizes the use of MDF across their partner ecosystem, and Zift Expert Services maximize results and ROI from the platform.

“Launching Zift was a powerful step in providing our partners with the best channel program in the industry,” said Portnowitz.

RESULTS & ROI IN JUST THREE MONTHS

The Zift platform paid for itself in just 3 months. With Zift, Star2Star has increased partner engagement, offloaded automated tasks and saved their marketing team precious time they can spend on strategic channel activities. The company has increased their number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and achieved ROI on their Partner Marketing Hub — all while maintaining brand relevancy with partners and raising the bar on partner satisfaction.  

Partners were exceptionally active from the start with 50,000 emails sent using co-branded content, and more than 36,000 banner widget and showcase views. Social media syndication is also proving popular among partners and Star2Star expanded its reach to 64,000 new followers via just 12 partners in 12 weeks. The result? $192K in MQLs in under 12 weeks.

Zift makes it easy for Star2Star’s marketing team to reach out, give scalable support to their 400+ partners and tie sales back to platform activities. “It’s saving us about 15 to 20 hours a week just through ease of use,” Portnowitz says. Star2Star’s team can easily monitor and report on partner and program activities and results. Best of all, they are free to work on advancing their program instead of bogged down with manual tasks and partners can create co-branded content as well as track their co-op funds on their own.

Star2Star also uses the Zift platform to entice prospective partners. “A lot of partners we work with are small- and mid-sized businesses with no marketing department or just one person responsible for all their marketing efforts,“ explains Portnowitz. “Our Channel Development Group uses Zift as a recruiting tool, saying ‘Look, we’ll be your marketing department.’ That’s a big thing as Zift allows us to essentially serve as a marketing agency for our partners.”

Star2Star’s marketing team works closely with Zift’s Channel Engagement Team to keep partner adoption high, which was a problem they encountered with previous platforms. “It’s our goal to be the friendliest and most relevant channel program around,” Portnowitz emphasizes. “Channel Engagement helps us evaluate what we’re doing and continually asks, ‘How can we improve?’ That’s really important to us. We have a partner, as opposed to a vendor, in Zift — Someone who I feel is working with us, who understands what we’re doing, really gets the whole idea and helps us stay ahead of the curve.”

MEASURABLE RESULTS
3 Months to ROI
$192K in Marketing Qualified Leads
15-20 HRS/Week Employee Time Savings
Expanded Social Media Reach by 64K
Increased Partner Engagement & MDF Usage
Elevated Star2Star Brand Awareness

ABOUT STAR2STAR
Star2Star Communications empowers global business success with its Full Spectrum Communications Solution and award-winning Constellation™ Network. With a customer retention rate of 99.85%, Star2Star has been recognized by leading analysts in the UCaaS and VoIP industries. In the past seven years, Star2Star was named to the Forbes Most Promising Companies list, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 five times, and the Inc. 500|5000 seven times. The company was also named by IHS as a Top 10 Hosted Business VoIP/UC Provider and has been in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS, Worldwide for the last four years. Learn more at www.star2star.com/.