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Assessments: A Creative Marketing Approach

Building assessment tools is certainly not new to the Microsoft partner channel, but one partner has simplified the process to a level that may be more effective for reaching prospects. While some partners have great success with the Microsoft-sponsored assessment programs (like the Software Assurance Planning Services), they are not easily explained on a Web site or through a marketing campaign.  

On the other hand, the Cloud Application Assessment recently launched by Hanu Software, an Azure Circle partner headquartered in Princeton, N.J., is simple and delivers a well-defined outcome to the prospect. Targeted at ISVs and companies with custom developed applications, the assessment walks the prospect through a series of questions to recommend a cloud deployment strategy.

The Web-based assessment includes 25 questions presented in five sections, including application characteristics, infrastructure, application data, security requirements and miscellaneous. Assessment questions were developed based on Hanu's experience with previous clients.

After completing the assessment, prospects receive a report via e-mail. The report includes a chart with recommendations prioritizing the cloud or hybrid deployment methods best suited for the application. Included in the report are suggested next steps, which Hanu offers through "packaged" services.

"We want to demystify the cloud and make it extremely easy for clients to assess whether their application is a good fit for the cloud in 10 minutes or less," explained Anil Singh, founder and CEO of Hanu Software. "It's the first step in a systematic process. Based on the results from the online assessment, Enterprises, SMBs and ISVs can determine their best course of action."

The Cloud Application Assessment site includes a FAQ page that provides Hanu an additional opportunity to educate visitors about the cloud. The simple design of the site feels decidedly non-sales-y, setting a good tone as an educational resource.

Assessments as a Marketing Tool
An assessment is a great way to provide value to your prospects and collect information from them at the same time. Hanu is taking knowledge that it has gathered from working with its clients and applying it to benefit prospects. The approach demonstrates Hanu's expertise on the cloud deployment of applications as well as an interest in educating future clients.

The assessment concept can be applied to a wide range of Microsoft partner service offerings. A few examples might be:

  • Remote worker productivity assessment for Office 365.
  • Project team collaboration assessment for SharePoint.
  • Customer service efficiency assessment for Dynamics CRM.
  • Disaster-preparedness assessment for MSPs.

Use your experience working with previous clients to develop the questions. Focus the questions on the common problems that your prospects face. Develop a report that will provide recommendations that are meaningful to the prospect.

Keep the assessment short and simple. Above all, the assessment and the report need to be about your prospect, not about you. Don't let your desire to sell your services outweigh the objective, which is to educate.

Are you using an assessment to market to your prospects? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on November 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM


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