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Set Your Game Plan for the Worldwide Partner Conference

No matter how many times you attend the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), the week feels a bit like a carnival ride -- exhilarating, but over before you know it. With the month before WPC focused on closing business for Microsoft's year-end, it's often hard to find the time to plan ahead. You know you should and now is the time to lay out your plans to make the most from the whirlwind of WPC.

"You need to go to WPC with a strategy," says Christian Buckley, SharePoint MVP and chief evangelist for Metalogix. "With a firm grasp of what you want to accomplish, you'll know what sessions you want to attend, which vendors to see and which Microsoft meetings you want to set up. And, you should start as early as possible."

Face-Time with Microsoft
One of the top reasons that partners attend WPC is the opportunity to get mindshare from Microsoft product and sales team members. As an ex-Microsoft employee, Buckley offers advice to partners trying to get the attention of Microsoftees.

"The best way to connect with a Microsoft person is to understand how their job success is measured and align your asks with their metrics. When you can help them meet their metrics, they have a vested interest in helping you succeed," Buckley said. "Go into the meeting with specific asks for your business, but be clear on the benefits that you bring to Microsoft." 

Buckley recommends leveraging your partner account manager to help you figure out who you should see at WPC and get insight into what their metrics are likely to be. Monitor and participate in Microsoft Partner Network Yammer community conversations to learn all you can about what is driving Microsoft teams and what kind of partner participation they are looking for.   

"If you want to meet with product teams, sales or service folks within Microsoft, you need to start early to get on their calendars," Buckley added. "Their dance cards fill up fast."

Partner-to-Partner Connections
With your strategy set, you can search for partners and ISVs through Connect to request meetings. When you are requesting a meeting, clearly explain the purpose and potential benefits of the meeting. Time is limited at WPC and the value of a meeting may not be as obvious to others as it is to you.

As always, the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) will have a strong presence at WPC to help you connect with other partners. Let your chapter know that you are attending so you can take advantage of all the networking opportunities. MPN Yammer communities offer additional ways to learn about and connect with partners and ISVs in your interest areas before July. If you want to build your visibility in a community, ask questions and contribute to conversations.  

Don't Overschedule
While you want to have a clear plan for the week, don't tie yourself down too much. Walking the Expo floor is a valuable part of the WPC experience and can lead to valuable but unexpected opportunities.

Buckley offers a few final bits of advice:

  • Don't miss the keynotes to hear the big announcements from Microsoft. The news may affect what you planned to get from WPC.

  • Be persistent. Schedules are fluid and even if you can't get the meeting that you want now, something may open up. Keep going back to Connect.

  • There will be ISVs at WPC that don't have a booth in the Expo. Keep an open mind; they may have a solution that is a good fit.

WPC will be here and gone before you know it. With a plan, you can make the Microsoft and partner connections that will add real value to your business. Make sure the money and time you spend on WPC provide returns that last the whole year.

What's your best advice for WPC? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 04, 2014