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4 Ways To Shine More Light on Your Gold or Silver Competency

Earning a Gold or Silver competency is a significant investment in terms of training, cost and customer references. According to Microsoft, only 5 percent of partners have attained competencies, which puts you in a pretty elite group. But how do you share the value of the achievement with your customers and prospects?

Many partners would like to see Microsoft do more to promote the value of competencies through advertising in the marketplace. Onstage at this year's Worldwide Partner Conference, Andy Vabulas, CEO of I.B.I.S. Inc., surprised Julie Bennani, general manager of the Microsoft Partner Network, with a request for partner competency promotion. Until that effort escalates, use the tools that are available -- and some creativity -- to educate your customers and prospects.

Ready-to-Go Campaign
One of those tools is Microsoft's Ready-to-Go marketing site, where there is a campaign with PowerPoint slides, a press release, copy blocks, Web syndication and more to get you started. The Web banner which links to a mini-site looks to be the most valuable tool in the campaign set. 

However, the benefit statements included in all the text are not as compelling as they could be. From the press release:

"By attaining a Microsoft <competency/competencies>, we have met extensive technology requirements and demonstrated expertise through rigorous exams, culminating in Microsoft certifications. We have also been recommended by our customers. Our skills, support, and knowledge have been tested and proven by successful implementations in specific technology areas."

Certainly a start, but a bit dry and not very specific. There is plenty more you can do. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Tell the Story on Your Web Site
Whether it's a link on your homepage that leads to a blog post or a dedicated page in About Us, you should get specific about the value of your competency to your prospects and customers. Tell them about the team effort that competency achievement requires through testing, earning client references and sales training. Include a bullet list of the projects included in your customer references.

A mini-case study could convey the human element of earning a competency -- the extra hours your employees put in studying and challenges they overcame while implementing projects.

Partner Profile Infographic
Infographics serve as a single snapshot of information -- a combination of words and numbers. Because your competency is based on quantifiable achievements, sharing the numbers behind the accomplishment will help prospects and customers understand the meaning. Add more data about your business to complete the picture, including:

  • Percent of customers by industry
  • Years and type of employee experience
  • Types of projects (percentage of new implementations versus upgrades)
  • Number and types of awards earned over the years
  • Customer satisfaction statistics
  • Number of events and participants held each year

Use the infographic to share a complete partner profile with Microsoft team members as well as prospects. Post the infographic on your Web site, refer to it in blog posts and print it for your sales team to give to prospects.

Let Employees Do the Talking with Video
Nothing is more powerful than real people honestly telling their story. Your employees -- the ones who studied to pass the test, delivered the projects and closed the sales -- are your most valuable marketing resource. With a simple video camera and a little editing, you can post a compelling "What Our Microsoft Competency Means" video on your Web site.

One approach would be to ask each employee, "What do you think the Business Intelligence competency means to our customers?" Their candid answers will likely tell a convincing story about the many aspects of your dedication to customers.

Shine the Light
You've made the investment to earn your competency, so get every bit of value you can. Your customers don't yet understand the exclusivity of your achievement. Shine a light on the accomplishment to educate your customers and prospects.

How are you shining the light on your competency? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on September 20, 2012


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