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WPC Tips from Microsoft's Sales Specialist of the Year

Getting the most from the four days of the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is in large part learned through experience. So, how do the most-experienced Microsoft channel players plan their time?

The 2014 Microsoft Sales Specialist of the Year, Geno Cenci, national practice director of ePlus Inc., agreed to share his strategy for WPC, including the topics he's interested in and how he'll spend his time.

This will be Cenci's 14th WPC, so he knows that pre-planning is critical to make the most of short time. "Each partner's business is unique, so it's important for your whole team to go with a clear definition of what topics, ISV solutions and partnerships are most important to your business," Cenci said.

Cenci shared the topics that he will be focusing on at WPC and why he thinks they are important:

  • Big Data: This is a huge issue for companies and great opportunity for partners. The demand and growth for data storage continues to grow. Partners should be listening for the big data trends that affect the types of services that they deliver to clients. The issues for the SharePoint shop are different than they are for the MSP. Focus on what your clients need.

  • The Internet of Everything: Where is all the data that companies are collecting being managed and how are they going to put it to use? Partners need to be looking at the big picture, the company's whole environment, and helping them to put it all together with a cohesive strategy.

  • Mobility: Mobility is always one of the top three things that our customers are thinking about. From sales teams to their own customers, companies are trying to figure out the best way to manage and secure mobile devices. Partners should be looking for the latest developments around data access and security to help their clients develop a mobility strategy.

  • Office 365/Microsoft Azure: This one is a no-brainer because so many companies are moving Exchange and Office to the cloud. Getting these basic workloads in the cloud frees IT teams to focus on more important things. Partners need to be on board with cloud.

  • Social Media: We are still in the infancy of social media, but it's growing. I think we are all still trying to wrap our heads around the where social will fit in -- not only for our customers, but in our own businesses. How do we take the next step with social media? That's what I will be listening for.

ISVs and partnering
"I have a list of 12 vendors that I will make a point to visit," Cenci noted. "I just want to check in with key vendors to see if there is any new technology or other developments that I need to be aware of."

In addition to attending sessions on his chosen topics, Cenci takes full advantage of networking opportunities and walks the expo floor to take the pulse of the channel.

"Some established partners tend to stay in their own box," Cenci said. "There is so much opportunity to establish alliances that build your brand and joint opportunities. No partner can do it all alone. WPC is a great time to find complementary partners that you can team up with to expand your solution set and win deals."  

From the Microsoft Leaders
The messages coming from the new leaders of the channel will certainly be a priority for most partners. Cenci recommends that partners listen to the leaders in terms of their own business.

"What action items are you taking away from WPC based on the vision that Satya [Nadella, Microsoft CEO,] provides?" he said.

Looking to Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president of Worldwide Partner Group, Cenci hopes that he will clearly explain how he is going to enable partners to grow revenue and their bottom line, and what tools and strategies Sorgen will be focused on in the coming year.

Take a lesson from the top sales professional in the Microsoft worldwide partner channel and go to WPC well-prepared. Identify the topics that are important to your customers and your business. Align your sessions, ISV connections and networking with those topics, but find time to walk the expo and look for new opportunities. Leave with specific action items to execute on your own vision.

How are you preparing for WPC? Add a comment below or send me a note and let 's share your story.

For more WPC-related news, blogs and analysis, visit our WPC 2014 page here.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 18, 2014 at 11:52 AM


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