Microsoft's Secrets for Creating Customer Evangelists

In an age when potential buyers regularly research reviews and testimonials of products and services as part of the purchasing process, customer evangelists have become an essential part of partners' sales and marketing efforts.

To build the kind of loyalty that motivates customers to spend time on reference calls, case study interviews and event appearances, Microsoft takes a continuous approach to nurturing those relationships. Without making a big investment, partners can build their own league of customer evangelists, willing to devote time to sharing their story with prospects. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on May 05, 20160 comments

8 Great Partner Web Sites To Inspire Your Makeover

You've been putting it off for too long. You know your Web site needs an update -- especially if it's not mobile-friendly -- but its redesign keeps going to the bottom of the list.

Summer is just around the corner, and with a slower pace of business, it's a great time for a Web site makeover. To inspire you to make the commitment, we found some partners who are setting the pace with stand-out Web sites.   More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 16, 20160 comments

Newsletter Content that Your Customers Will Welcome

Creating a newsletter every month may not seem like a tough assignment...until it's yours. In the beginning, everyone has lots of great ideas to share. Consultants promise project stories from the field. The support team will supply a steady flow of tips and tricks. Management looks forward to sharing their leadership and best-practice advice. All the ingredients for a read-worthy newsletter.

Then they get busy. And you're on your own. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on March 02, 20160 comments

Microsoft Adds ISV Go-To-Market Services

Delivering on the promise to provide more support for developers and ISVs, the Microsoft Go-To-Market Services Web site has an impressive collection of sales and marketing resources. Almost any type of partner, especially SIs and VARs who are formalizing intellectual property for the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, will find the site's templates and planning tools valuable.

The site includes four groups of resources -- "Attract Customers," "Engage Users," "Accelerate Growth" and "Expand Partnerships" -- plus a Concierge Desk. The Concierge Desk promises one-on-one consultation to help you make the most of the resources. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on February 17, 20160 comments

Partners, the E-Mail Newsletter Is Back: Revive Yours with These Tips

With social media hogging the marketing spotlight over the past couple of years, one would think that e-mail was a relic of the past. Apparently not. The Harvard Business Review reports that e-mail is making a "triumphant resurgence." HubSpot's recent Digital Publishing Benchmarks Report found that 34.3 percent of B2B marketers are still using e-mail to drive revenue.

The good news is that the mechanics of sending out and tracking e-mail newsletters have gotten much easier over the years. But there is still that little detail of creating content month in and month out. And not just any content, but meaningful content that your prospects and customers will be interested in reading. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on December 15, 20150 comments

5 Crucial Steps To Market Your Microsoft CSP Package

For most partners, marketing the packaged services of Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is uncharted territory. Packaged services force a change in messaging from software to business value -- a welcome but challenging transition for most technology marketers. The business problem that the packaged service solves, instead of the technology behind it, has to drive the messaging and the marketing.

As you start to build the marketing plans that will support your CSP offerings, Microsoft's Cloud Profitability Scenarios should be the first stop. Under the ModernBiz campaign at the bottom of the page, the Partner Value Propositions do an excellent job explaining how cloud technologies plus partner services combine to deliver the full value to customers. These docs should be required reading for everyone on your sales and marketing teams. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on November 19, 20150 comments

Report Names Top 50 Microsoft Partners for Inbound Marketing

For most partners, inbound marketing is still more about good intentions than flawless execution. There's no shame in that, but there is hope. The secrets of 50 Microsoft partners recognized for their mastery of inbound marketing will soon be revealed.

The "Top 50 Inbound Marketing Excellence" report from Fifty Five and Five profiles Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint product vendors who are leading the channel in marketing. The report will be released at Future Decoded, Microsoft's partner event in London taking place next month on Nov. 10-11. You can also sign up to receive the printed report through the mail after release. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on October 28, 20150 comments

Microsoft Helps Partners Fill Pipelines with 'Smart Partner Marketing'

For many partners, marketing remains the one function that seems impossible to master. Perhaps because technical minds yearn for clear-cut solutions, most partner leaders would rather take a trip to the dentist than think about marketing.

In its quest to help partners tame the marketing monster, Microsoft recently launched the "Smart Partner Marketing" site, which provides step-by-step guidance for even the most reluctant marketer. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 23, 20150 comments

Partner's Events Shine at Microsoft Executive Briefing Center

The Executive Briefing Center (EBC) on Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., campus was designed to host high-level executives, showcasing the latest technology to enterprise clients.

Six years ago, when Michelle Follman, global alliance manager at Sogeti, learned about the EBC, she saw the potential to host a broader event, bringing multiple clients together in a unique and inspiring environment. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 09, 20150 comments

Microsoft ISV Invests in Community with User Conference

As independent software vendors (ISVs) look for ways to sustain growth in a changing market, building a strong community of partners and customers should be at the top of the list.

By investing in experiences beyond software, ISVs can create customer advocates and a deeply committed channel. Getting people together face-to-face for learning and a bit of fun is a proven way to build those connections and community. More

Posted by Barb Levisay on August 12, 20150 comments