Last week at the Microsoft Inspire conference, partners learned more about how Microsoft's Partner Center referral engine is evolving and how to optimize their business profiles. Fed from Microsoft's extensive Web presence, Partner Center is where customers, other partners and Microsoft employees -- including Microsoft's ramped-up inside sales team -- find you.
Now is the time for your Partner Center profile to go to the top of your marketing to-do list. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 20, 2017 at 6:45 AM0 comments
When it comes to marketing content, the early stages of the customer journey seem to get all the attention, whereas proposals -- one of the most important documents in the buying process -- are left to the sales and technical teams to piece together at the last minute. Customers notice.
A hastily built proposal can undo all the hard work of your marketing and sales team to build a professional image. To maintain the momentum of your sales process, proposal templates should be carefully crafted to embody the very best of the business. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on June 29, 2017 at 6:25 AM0 comments
Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is fast becoming the standard business model for partners.
Ready or not, as adviser fees disappear, Microsoft partners need to ramp up their CSP packaged service offerings to maintain profitability. For those partners ready to focus on a specific industry, there are steps you can take to quickly build your presence in the market. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on June 08, 2017 at 8:25 AM0 comments
Businesses need partners for different reasons than they did in the past. Partner implementation services are being marginalized through vendor promises of simpler technology experiences in the cloud. Customers no longer see partners as an essential part of the implementation of new applications -- they can click the button themselves.
But what comes next -- the challenges of using those applications to improve business productivity and solve operational problems -- is where customers need help. Partners need to convince customers they can deliver. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on May 25, 2017 at 9:59 AM0 comments
Fueling the marketing engine with fresh ideas and new content is a never-ending challenge for every small business. Fortunately for partners, Microsoft has gotten the message and is delivering high-quality, practical marketing assets to help.
The resources supporting Microsoft's Digital Transformation campaign continue to grow and have become a gold mine of marketing content for partners. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on April 20, 2017 at 8:05 AM0 comments
It's a harsh reality, but your customers and prospects really don't care about your business. They don't care about the awesome award you just earned or how excited you are about the new release.
On the other hand, they might care about how your services can help their own business. Your marketing -- and all communications -- should address your customers' interests, not yours. That's where the "What's In It for Me?" (or WIIFM) test helps you look at every message from the customers' perspective. More
Posted by Barb Levisay on April 06, 2017 at 7:46 AM0 comments
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