Marketing Matters

Blog archive

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.  

Then, follow these five steps to create your own value propositions and build the marketing campaigns that deliver a clear, benefit-driven message to your targeted audience.

1. Spend Time with Consultants To Understand Services
Ideally, the marketing team will be closely involved in defining the CSP offerings, identifying target markets and value propositions. At the very least, marketers need to understand -- in very real terms -- the services that you provide through the packaged services. While that may seem obvious, there are too many marketers who have never visited a client or listened in on support calls. Effective messaging can only be created by people who can stand in the shoes of your prospect.

2. Build on Resources that Microsoft Is Providing
Microsoft has upped its game in providing marketing resources to partners. If you're not taking advantage of them, you're missing out on a high-value benefit of being a Microsoft partner. The ModernBiz campaigns provide a foundation for messaging that can save you tons of time. Add your own branding and vertical or functional focus to build out your campaign and take it to market quickly.

3. Name the Packages
By naming your offerings, you establish that there has been an investment in time and resources to define your solution. A name makes it easier for customers to understand that it is a "set" of services. The name doesn't need to be unique or catchy, but it should to be descriptive. Think "Industrial Distributor Sales Portal" or "CFO Business Insight Center" or "Employee Onboarding System."

Naming the packages delivers other benefits, like educating your internal and Microsoft sales teams on your offerings. As a named solution, it works well with Pinpoint's structure and intent and will convey a level of professionalism to prospects.  

4. Define Your Target Market
Defining your ideal prospect should be part of initially determining the set of services that you package, so you should have a headstart. As every experienced marketer knows, messaging is easier and marketing campaigns are more effective with a clearly defined target market. If you only go after prospects that are a good match, you'll lower cost of sales and add long-term customers.

5. Create Specific Benefit-Driven Messaging and Campaigns
Even if your buyers are still IT folks, your messaging needs to be focused on the outcomes you deliver rather than the technology you leverage. The message should be all about your customers' pain and how you solve it. The old acronym WIIFM ("What's in it for me?") should be your guiding principle. How are you going to make your prospects' life better? The more specific, the better.

Establishing your cloud business means redefining practices and processes from the ground up. As the communications center of your business, marketing should play a leading role in your CSP planning. Both internally and externally, clearly articulating the value you are bringing to customers through the cloud will help drive your success.

How are you marketing your CSP offering? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on November 19, 2015 at 1:13 PM