Marketing automation and CRM have been instrumental in adding the necessary visibility and raising productivity levels in the sales and marketing department. Full closed loop (marketing-to-sales) attribution transparency is one of those major improvements you can achieve when using mar and salestech infrastructure to its fullest extent. This is especially true when marketing and selling directly to the end user.
CHANNEL SALES AND MARKETING
Things get a bit more muddy when you rely on distribution channels to reach end users. When your services or goods are marketed, sold and even delivered via distributors, 1-and 2-tier resellers and referral partners there’s a lot of extra business process that needs attention. Your CRM and MAP infrastructure that was actually built to facilitate direct sales and marketing process probably falls short supporting those needs.
Take attribution analysis. Part or even your entire sales cycle can be hidden behind a proverbial Chinese channel wall, resulting into poor visibility on your future income streams. As a result you also probably will suffer from a reduced ability to impact sales conversion rates.
Also your (direct) digital marketing return can deteriorate immensely as you are driving engagement without knowing it impact on sales.
The list of challenges goes on. Many channel partners don’t have the maturity or skills to drive digital marketing. They might rely on you to give them leads or lead generation budgets or even full programs. In return you rely on them to successfully close deals and report on progress. On top of that comes that there might be 1000s of partners to manage, inform and educate. Or maybe you don’t even have the right partners and need programmatic support to recruit new ones.
We just named a few of the reasons why improving sales and marketing productivity is not an easy feat and why CRM and MAP, with their ‘direct’ focus, do not fully answer the needs either.
There’s separate category emerging: it’s called TCMA+PRM, Through Channel Marketing Automation and Partner Relationship Management. Bits and pieces of it have been around for a long time. But there’s one platform solution that encompasses all the required dimension. The absolute leader in the category is ZIFT Solutions. Recently they launched their new complete platform: ZIFTOne. Just before summer they made a next step announcing 14 strategic alliance partners, all members from what Is now labelled as; the ZIFT Zone. Here is an excerpt from Zift's press release.
We are a proud member of this select group of strategic technology and services partners. We are listed among Salesforce.com, Adobe-Marketo, Oracle, Sugar CRM, Bombora, Sage, Hubspot, Microsoft and 5 others, amongst which we are one of the two strategic implementation and service partners.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU
We will be announcing more details in the coming months. Just like with our (direct) Marketing Automation service and consulting offers we will be able to assist you across the entire services spectrum. We can help select, implement and train your teams. You also will be able to outsource your day to day usage of ZIFT via our Concierge ZIFTONE Services offering.
We’re super excited about the opportunity. Channels are part and partial of the GoToMarket strategy of many European enterprises. Being able to support this with a complete solution was long overdue but now finally possible. We will publish more news soon.
Koen De Witte