Every startup faces the challenges of having too much to do and too little time to do it. Balancing customer-service delivery with business development in the early stages is especially tough.
But Nikkia Carter, CEO and owner of Carter-McGowan Services LLC, makes the time to not only build the business but to advocate for others, as well. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 24, 2014 at 10:53 AM0 comments
Microsoft has long beaten the drum for partner specialization, and the cloud is amplifying the call further. Partners that pursue a vertical market strategy consistently report higher sales win ratios of opportunities within their specialty.
With all the pressure and evidence, it's surprising that most partners still don't have a strong industry focus. One hesitation is the concern that there will be missed horizontal opportunities if you focus on one industry. But industry focus doesn't mean that you have to stop horizontal marketing. They are two separate approaches. You can continue your horizontal marketing -- just carve out a segment of your prospect base that fits your industry criteria. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 18, 2014 at 9:13 AM0 comments
Business models are changing and most partners are expanding the number of services that they offer to customers. Unfortunately, your customers don't clairvoyantly know when you add a new service line, like backup and disaster recovery or business intelligence. You need to tell them -- which requires marketing.
Fortunately, it's the easy kind of marketing. Your customers know you and will be open to hearing from you. Their contact information is already in your CRM system. There's nothing to hold you back. Here are some ideas to kick off your existing-customer marketing program. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 02, 2014 at 11:29 AM0 comments
A new section on the Microsoft Ready-to-Go (RtG) marketing site rounds out an impressive set of resources for Microsoft partners. The Marketing Best Practices portal takes away the last excuse that partners had left for not making a full commitment to marketing. Campaigns, sales tools, Web content and event management resources now combined with guidance on how to use them -- that should do it.
"We heard from the partners that while they appreciate the RtG resources, they wanted to know how they could market better. They were looking for some education to help them use those RtG resources more effectively," explained Karey Bakker, content manager of U.S. SMB Marketing for Microsoft. "We had been doing marketing training webinars, but wanted to make it really visually appealing and available on demand." More
Posted by Barb Levisay on August 13, 2014 at 4:35 PM0 comments
Some partners just get it. They understand that combining forces with complementary partners will make them more successful.
One such partner is Bishop Technologies. Tapping the strengths of four other companies, Bishop recently organized and executed a marketing campaign that added at least 30 highly qualified leads to the Office 365 migration pipeline. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 31, 2014 at 9:23 AM0 comments
What if you had an easy way to explain what your company does and how awesome it is to work for you? Not with dry, technical job descriptions, but with real people explaining what it is like to work for a Microsoft partner.
A new e-book, specifically written to help Microsoft partners' recruiting efforts, profiles young women, each working in a different role for a Microsoft partner. Titled "12 Amazing Tech Jobs and the Women Who Rock Them: Imagine What You Can Do," this e-book aims to educate and inspire the young people you want to recruit. The e-book and supporting promotional materials are located here on Microsoft's Ready-to-Go marketing site. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 16, 2014 at 8:06 AM0 comments
Whether you are considering sponsoring a local charity fundraiser or a trade show premium, you can get more value from the money spent with a bit of planning. Before you write the check, consider how you can turn the investment into a win-win for your organization, as well as for the event attendees.
Charity Events for Team-Building
Supporting community events not only gives back to the community but can also provide a great way to do team building with a purpose. Take your charity sponsorship to the next level by promoting active volunteer participation with your employees. Your employees lead busy lives and while they may want to support charity events, they may find it hard to make the time. A few considerations: More
Posted by Barb Levisay on June 25, 2014 at 9:25 AM0 comments
Have you updated your Pinpoint profile lately? The Microsoft online partner directory and associated product, MarketPlaces, provide exposure to the millions of visitors doing product research on the Microsoft business sites. To make the most of that opportunity, find some time soon to update your profile applying best practices from experts.
Advice from the Trenches
Anya Ciecierski, co-founder of the ERP SoftwareBlog and other Microsoft partner group blogs, recently shared some of her top suggestions for Pinpoint profiles.
Posted by Barb Levisay on June 12, 2014 at 7:32 AM0 comments
The term "thought leadership" gets thrown around a lot when talking about marketing content. We all know that most content is not coming from thoughtful leaders sharing their wisdom with the world. And it's OK that not all of your marketing content is thought-provoking or industry-leading. As long as your content educates your audience and establishes your knowledge of the market, it's doing the intended job.
Content is the currency of marketing in today's buyer-driven sales process. Your prospects are doing their own research and your job is to help educate them. Whether you are reaching out to them through e-mail with whitepaper offers or building your online presence with a blog, educational content is marketing gold.
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 28, 2014 at 2:34 PM0 comments
Whether the investment you make in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) Expo is time spent visiting the booths or tens of thousands of dollars as an exhibitor, you will up your return with thoughtful planning. As hard as it is to focus during WPC with sessions, old friends and parties all vying for your attention, you need a solid plan to make sure you leave with concrete revenue opportunities.
Make the Most of Your Expo Visit
As an attendee, you should plan your time in the Expo hall just like you do for sessions. Ask your consulting team for two lists -- the top customer challenges and the ISVs with most potential. With those lists in hand, you can focus on specific vendors, but keep an eye out for new players that solve an emerging problem.
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 15, 2014 at 10:36 AM0 comments