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Worldview

The 10 Steps to Partner-to-Partner Success

Becoming great in P2P so that it becomes a practice isn't something that will happen overnight.

A key to success in the Microsoft ecosystem right now is a focus on partner to partner or P2P (see my Marching Orders 2017 post, "'P2P as a Practice' Is the New Black"). The next question is: "How do I start?" Here are 10 steps:

  1. Make sure that you become convinced about the benefits of betting on P2P. Read the research that you can easily find at Microsoft and elsewhere that shows why you should become great (not just good) at P2P. You need to believe in it in order to sell it!

  2. Study the P2P Maturity Model framework. This is becoming the de facto standard for how to structure P2P -- endorsed by IDC and Microsoft.

  3. Sell P2P internally inside your company. If you're the only one who believes in P2P, you will most likely not be successful. You need to make sure that top-level management understands and loves P2P as much as you do.

  4. Look at your product and services portfolio and evaluate where you are less successful, where you see little potential and where you're struggling. Then have a conversation in your company about discontinuing the things where you're not great. This is important for a number of reasons, like company valuation, brand recognition and profitability, but it will also help you discover areas where you'll have a need and an opportunity to work with others.

  5. Do an assessment of your current state of maturity in P2P. You can download the assessment here. After you've done the assessment you can see in which areas (called "Business Functions") you can improve. Follow the framework and work on making your company P2P-ready.

  6. Make sure you can easily talk about who your company is, what your company is great at and what you're company is looking to achieve. Hone that P2P "elevator pitch."

  7. Make sure you talk about P2P as part of how you do business on your Web site, company blog, Twitter and elsewhere. This creates great karma!

  8. Find people to partner with. At first you might be shy -- just get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to new people. There are a number of arenas to meet people -- I suggest hooking up with your local International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) group, but it can also be more ad hoc. Consider Microsoft's different partner events or similar events arranged by distributors like Tech Data or Ingram Micro where partners get together. Like all things in life, you need to practice in order to become great, so please make sure that you meet a lot of people -- and most important, take notes and follow up. It's often the follow-up that creates the success.

  9. Givers gain! Make sure that you listen to your customers when they talk about needs that are outside your core competencies -- and then match these needs with partners that you trust. One benefit is that your customers will see you as a trusted adviser when you connect them with other partners. Don't forget that you should get rewarded for your endeavors by either a decent margin (especially when billing goes through you) or by receiving business opportunities in return. Make sure that all partners benefit financially one way or another.

  10. Follow up your success. You can always improve; assessing your maturity in P2P on a quarterly basis is a good discipline to track your progress.

Becoming great in P2P so that it becomes a practice isn't something that will happen overnight. And you'll never reach the finish line. See it instead as a journey that will take you to great places and that will never end.

About the Author

Per Werngren has held many roles at the worldwide level of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), including chairman and president.