Here, Gordon Rapkin, Zift’s CEO, digs into the challenges that plague the channel marketing, sales, and technology space and discusses how Zift Solutions is alleviating them with Enterprise Channel Management.
Could you give us a quick overview of the channel and some of the challenges organizations face when it comes to channel marketing and sales?
Rather than selling directly to consumers, most suppliers and manufacturers sell their goods, products, and services through indirect channels—or what’s known as “the channel.” More than 75 percent of world trade and billions of dollars now move through channels via partners, distributors, Value Added Resellers (VARs), and Managed Services Providers (MSPs). Zift makes it easier to do business with these partners and helps suppliers expand their reach, channel revenue, and ROI.
The simple fact is that suppliers spend a substantial amount of money managing as well as marketing to, through and for their channel partners. They struggle to engage and enable their partners with an array of disconnected technology systems, including Partner Relationship Management (PRM), Channel Marketing & Management (CMM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Salesforce Automation (SFA), Learning Management Systems (LMS) and more.
But traditional ChanTech only addresses one challenge at a time, isn’t always made for the channel and, suppliers are tired of trying to stitch together everything they need to run their channel programs from hundreds of vendors selling disconnected solutions. With Enterprise Channel Management, Zift delivers what channel leaders have been seeking: A single, end-to-end solution, designed specifically for the channel, from a single vendor with the resources and expertise to support true channel success.
Zift Solutions has grown from a channel marketing software start-up to a global organization focused entirely on the channel success. Could you shed some light on this?
Zift has scaled impressively over the past few years organically and through mergers (with Relayware) and acquisitions (Elastic Grid and SharedVue).
Zift makes it easy to manage the complete channel partner lifecycle using just one GDPR-compliant, cloud-based platform— provided by a SOC II Type-2 certified vendor
Zift now serves more than 80 percent of the top channel chiefs and has data on more than 2.5 billion channel activities organizations can use for planning and benchmarking. Also, we know that channel success takes a lot more than just technology. No one surpasses our level of channel know-how and expertise. We share that knowledge via our Channel Center of Excellence, extensive services, training and support for our customers and their partners.
Could you elaborate further on the features of your platform and its integration capabilities?
Today’s CIOs are already stretched thin. Aside from being awash in data, building and attempting to maintain a ChanTech stack or a partner portal eats up time and money they don’t have. Adding point solutions to match specific channel requirements never goes well. Data ends up scattered and organizations lack the visibility and control they need to get the most revenue and market awareness from their extended partner ecosystem. Add increasing data security requirements, like GDPR compliance, and it’s easy for CIOs to say, “No. We can’t do that. Just keep trying to use the CRM or SFA system we already have in place.” That’s understandable. The problem is, those solutions weren’t designed for the channel—and they don’t perform well for the channel.
Zift manages the complete channel marketing, sales and partner lifecycle using just one GDPR-compliant, cloud-based platform—provided by a SOC II Type-2 certified vendor. We play well with other established systems (like Salesforce, for example), but go way beyond them in terms of channel-specific functionality.
With Zift, channel partners get the tech they demand for high-touch digital marketing and sales. Suppliers get a comprehensive 360-degree view of their entire channel program. And CIOs get to say yes without worrying about data security, compliance or their established infrastructure.
Zift has always been a leader in the MarTech space, but you were just recognized by Forrester Research as a leader in Partner Relationship Management as well. What does this mean to Zift and your customers?
We were really pleased to be recognized as a “Leader” in The Forrester Wave™: Partner Relationship Management, Q4 2018 report by Forrester Research, Inc. The recognition follows Zift also being named a “Leader” earlier this year in The Forrester Wave™: Through-Channel Marketing Automation, Q2 2018. This makes Zift the only channel technology provider recognized as a Leader in both PRM and TCMA capable of delivering end-to-end Enterprise Channel Management. Our holistic view of examining and solving the challenges faced by real channel leaders, as compared to the narrow, siloed approach of other pure-play solution providers, makes us a unique company in this space.
What does the future hold for Zift Solutions?
We’re bringing more functionality to our platform, including the next-gen machine learning and predictive analytics that channel leaders and forward-thinking CIOs are seeking. Of course, development is always a priority as we invest nearly 30 percent of revenue each year into technology innovation, which is exceptional. We will also continue our global expansion as we already have offices in Australia, England, Romania, and the U.S. Our team and customers are looking forward to an exciting year ahead.