Partner Points

Readers Respond, March 2006

Readers talk back on Action Pack abusers, recruiting, blueprinting, and the IAMCP prez chimes in.

Action Pack Abusers
As a Microsoft Registered Member and an Action Pack Subscriber, I am glad to see Microsoft taking action against these people ["Action Pack Abusers," online exclusive, Dec. 19, 2005]. As a small business, I could not function without the Action Pack. It has enabled my business to grow and has allowed me to set up an in-depth training lab for me and my engineers so that we can offer the best possible solutions to our customers.

There's always a couple of rotten apples in the bushel. Just don't let them spoil it for the rest of us.
Neil Levy
Freedom Consulting Inc.
New Jersey

Personally, I think it is a shame. Microsoft Action Packs help small business owners boost their productivity and sales, providing them with tons of information and solutions in materials and software. It's something other manufacturers don't do to help their partners. Opportunists like those give a bad reputation to other good and loyal Microsoft partners.
Pablo Casado
New York

IAMCP Experience Not Unique
As president of the International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners [IAMCP] in the United States, I want to ensure your readers understand that Jeff Mills' experience in networking with partners in the IAMCP is not at all unique ["Partnering with Partners to Build Your Business," The Microsoft View, January 2006]. In our monthly call with the presidents of the 37 U.S. chapters of the IAMCP, we hear these stories frequently. Try it, you'll like it! Visit to find a chapter in your neighborhood.
Bill Breslin
President, U.S. IAMCP
Houston, Texas

Building the Sales Pipeline
[In Ken Thoreson's September 2005 Selling Microsoft column, "Hiring Smart," he states:] "1. Keep your interviewing skills active. Set a goal to interview X number of candidates per month every month, even if you have no openings."

And you wonder why the field is so full of people who are mad at recruiters and managers. You should be ashamed of yourself for even thinking of this. How would you feel if you thought you would be getting a job to support your family and it turns out the interviewer was just doing interviewing for a joke. I'll tell you what, I'll give you $100,000 just to talk to you. Oh wait! I just told you that so I could get your reaction!

This isn't what I'd call smart hiring. The other part of Thoreson's column is OK.
Ron Larson
Larson's Computer Service
Milwaukee, Wisc.

Ken Thoreson Responds:
In a short column we can't explain the entire concept of recruiting. However, the key is to remember that, in building a high-performance sales team, the person you need to hire may not be looking when you are. Therefore, you must always be looking for the best candidate, not the best available.

Interviewing consistently builds your interviewing knowledge, or muscle, and isn't a waste of time. Successful Microsoft partners should always be recruiting and interviewing and if that "top candidate" happens to be interviewed, I have never found a sales team where either a potential high performer cannot be added or someone at the lower level of achievement can't be replaced with better talent. Partners must look at their recruiting processes the same way they look at marketing plans that effectively build their sales pipelines. Do you ever stop looking for new prospects?

A Blueprinting Fan
Your article ["Blueprint for Success," November 2005] highlights an area that is common to nearly every professional service firm we work with, be it in the Microsoft, Oracle or other partner channels. While many vendors do offer best practice training, and ongoing support, companies and customers alike have conditioned one another to believe that everything they do is unique and must be customized to meet their special requirements.

Call it blueprinting, services engineering or product productization, our clients consistently find that by standardizing their practices they are able to often charge for services they were previously giving away as a part of the sales process. With rate and margin pressure, it is critical that professional service organizations look at how they sell and deliver services and implement blueprints that will allow them to gain efficiency and a competitive edge.
Andrew Fletcher
Revenue Rocket Consulting Group
Denver, Colo.