Partnering with Partners to Build Your Business
The channel is there to grow your business as well as ours.
- By Margo Day
- January 01, 2006
With the holidays behind you and the calendars turned to a new year,
now is an ideal time to roll up your sleeves and consider the many ways
you can grow your business in a way that works best for you, your employees
and your customers.
And all of us with the Microsoft Partner Program are here to help.
The favorite part of my job is working with you -- members of Microsoft's
network of trusted, expert business partners. And every time I meet with
a partner -- regardless of the organization's size, location or specialty
-- I learn something.
Today, I'd like to share some of that learning. Over the years, in our
work throughout the Microsoft partner community, a key theme has emerged:
Partners that work closely with other Microsoft partners enjoy tremendous
Consider this: Partners have reported that 40 percent of their new business
opportunities are the direct result of their work with other Microsoft
partners. The numbers that can be used to measure the potential scope
of such opportunities are staggering. Take 250,000 partners, multiply
that by four connections with other partners per partner, and you've got
a million interactions. If each connection leads to two deals, you're
now looking at 2 million new business opportunities for partners.
How to Get Started
There are as many ways to forge profitable alliances with other Microsoft
partners as there are Microsoft partners. Networking opportunities abound,
from the formal sessions at events such as Microsoft's Worldwide Partner
Conference to the less formal, more spontaneous interactions that take
place in your community every day.
In addition to those types of collaborative opportunities, there are
two avenues for partnering with other Microsoft partners that I'd like
to suggest: Microsoft's Partner Channel Builder, and the International
Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (IAMCP).
Partner Channel Builder is a key component of the Microsoft Partner Program.
It is a Web-based networking tool that has the potential to become a significant
avenue of growth for Microsoft partners. Developed in close collaboration
with several Microsoft partners, the tool was designed to create and foster
business relationships among partners with complementary skills and expertise.
It encourages and supports partners to draw on each other's areas of expertise
to extend services and new business opportunities to existing and new
clients. For more information about the Partner Channel Builder, please
IAMCP is your avenue to global partner-to-partner networking. With chapters throughout the United States and around the world, the IAMCP is a 100 percent volunteer association, a non-profit
business by and for Microsoft partners passionate about taking entrepreneurship to the next level.
By way of relationships built through the association, IAMCP members have been able to sell to and successfully
service customers whose requirements call for expertise in multiple areas. Microsoft partners have worked together to provide customers with more complete technical solutions, sales and licensing competencies, as well as other services they may not offer, whether locally, regionally, nationally or globally. The growth of the association is a testament to its value.
I've spoken with several IAMCP members, including Jeff Mills, vice president
of channel development and partner enrichment at Bluespring Software Inc.,
a Gold Certified Partner that specializes in business process management.
Jeff is president of the IAMCP's Cincinnati chapter.
"The IAMCP is all about networking and growing each other's businesses
through partnering," Jeff told me recently.
Jeff compared one networking exercise his IAMCP chapter does to the five-minute
dating phenomenon. "It's very frank," he said. "We go around
the room and everyone says what they're really good at and where their
gaps are, but since the door is closed, people let their hair down and
also share the areas where they could use some help."
The bottom line, according to Jeff, is that the networking made possible
by the IAMCP can lead to sales. "For example, we've just signed up
with a consulting firm that specializes in information worker solutions,"
he said. "Since we bring business process management solutions that
let users participate using e-mail and Microsoft Office, we can enhance
what they offer and they can do the same for what we offer."
To build your business, and to have a good time in the process, I encourage
you to check out your local chapter of the IAMCP. For more information,
please visit www.iamcp.org.