The cloud changes the nature of both transactions and interactions between Microsoft partners and customers. Incremental revenue means customer retention is critical to long-term profits. At the same time, the automation of cloud applications means there is less personal interaction between customers and employees.
To address both issues, partners need to take a more active approach in keeping communications lines open and maintaining relationships. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on March 22, 2017 at 11:15 AM0 comments
Based on the 20,000 and counting partners participating in Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, a swelling number of packaged service offerings are vying for your prospects' attentions. While we know the market for cloud services is also growing, partners need to rev up the marketing engine to stay competitive.
Now that you've got your CSP solution(s) defined and set up, it's time to get out in front of the crowd with well-planned, consistently executed marketing. The list below provides a 10,000-foot view of the steps to ramp up your marketing efforts. Microsoft offers a number of worthwhile programs and groups to help train and support your marketing team through all of these steps. Through the Marketing SureStep Group and product-specific groups on the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) Yammer, the opportunity to learn through direct interaction with Microsoft and other partner marketers is priceless, so take advantage. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on March 02, 2017 at 8:07 AM0 comments
Visit AppSource, Microsoft's business apps marketplace, and you'll see a different type of content supporting some of the listings. Mixed in with the standard brochures and overview decks, use case documents are being employed to illustrate the applications' benefits in real-world situations.
While use cases have a long history in the technology business, they are usually relegated to the discovery and requirements stages of implementations. Undoubtedly, they will be a welcome newcomer in marketing circles. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on February 23, 2017 at 8:26 AM0 comments
At its 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Microsoft announced it would be retiring Pinpoint, the customer-facing partner directory, and replacing it with Partner Center.
Partner Center is now the landing place for customers who visit many Microsoft Web properties and click on a link to "Find a Partner." To make the most of those potential customer connections -- as well connect with other partners and Microsoft employees -- partner marketers should be tuned in to the evolution of Partner Center. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on February 09, 2017 at 9:07 AM0 comments
Partner Web sites are chock full of whitepapers, e-books and blog posts devoted to the value of implementing technology solutions.
But as technology solutions become a commodity, it is more important for partners to develop content that will differentiate their services. Taglines and Web pages claiming industry expertise aren't enough to convince prospects that you truly are an expert in the services they need. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on December 15, 2016 at 8:27 AM0 comments
For partners with limited marketing resources, there's not a lot of room for trial and error. Most partners don't have the bandwidth to create a library of blog posts or whitepapers, hoping they will appeal to prospects.
A new digital benchmarking tool is giving Microsoft partners data to help them monitor and focus their efforts on the most effective content and marketing activities. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on December 01, 2016 at 8:46 AM0 comments
Building long-term customer relationships is nothing new to Microsoft partners, but cloud-based services do change the nature of interactions with clients.
The fifth book of Microsoft's Modern Partner Series, "Deliver Customer Lifetime Value," examines the importance of fine-tuning your operations and service offerings with a long-term perspective. To support that transformation, you should develop a Customer Lifetime Value marketing program that engages your entire organization to proactively strengthen relationships. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on November 17, 2016 at 7:07 AM0 comments
Donald Trump's poll-beating election as the 45th president of the United States is likely to bring changes in tech and business policy with ramifications that specifically impact Microsoft partners.
What those changes will be is hard to pinpoint. Trump hasn't staked out a position on many high-profile tech and business issues. And the few that he has commented on from the campaign trail, on Twitter and in the policy sections of his Web site have regularly conflicted with one another or changed during the campaign. Still, these glimpses of policy could provide some clues. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on November 10, 2016 at 8:27 AM0 comments
With the Tuesday release of Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as PowerApps and Flow, partner marketers may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now.
Microsoft has promised to provide through-partner marketing materials soon, but partners should act now to show customers they are in front of the new products. Fortunately, there is no shortage of information partners can tap to create educational marketing materials to explain the impact and benefits of Dynamics 365. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on November 02, 2016 at 1:05 PM0 comments
When it comes to marketing these days, content and inbound get all the attention. While those are definitely important aspects of your marketing strategy, they shouldn't replace meeting face-to-face with customers and prospects.
For one partner, Microsoft Community Connections (MCC) has helped it build a significant flow of leads and a larger presence in local, state and national organizations.
Posted by Barb Levisay on September 29, 2016 at 7:07 AM0 comments