In reflecting on the past year it seems our program at WPC 2013 set the pace for many client projects.  Our Master the Cloud Business Builder series we built for Microsoft provided a prescriptive approach to accelerating revenues as partners built Cloud/Mobility practices. Embedded as one of the key components in the marketing segment was building a vertical market using cloud solutions to increase sales velocity, one of the sub-elements was using Thought Leadership Marketing to help you stand out in the marketplace. Another aspect of the Cloud Builder marketing program was ensuring your messaging/value proposition was clear, concise and unique. Effective messaging is the number two biggest challenge facing Microsoft partners.

Since our breakout session at WPC 2013 last July in Houston, we have received an enormous number of emails and business opportunities from partner organizations that wanted to learn more about “separating themselves” from their competition. If you weren’t able to make it to the session, you can still see it in WPC Connect-it was one of the top 20 session at WPC in 2013.
What is Thought Leadership? This quote from Fast Company: Golden Rules of Thought Leadership set the stage for our program at WPC: Dominate your market: learn how thought-leadership marketing will impact your vertical market presence.
"Firms large and small want to be thought leaders. Thought leadership extends from strategic differentiation, a proof point, a demonstration of differentiation. Amid the cacophony of corporate voices, those found to be additive to the dialogue, rather than distracting, can be considered thought leaders. Given our complex world, there are many things that need to be considered, so providing true thought leadership can be as valuable to a brand as the products or services it sells."
You can achieve this in a variety of ways, and in my session at WPC I shared 10 actual examples and other marketing ideas. One great example would be scheduling and sponsor an event each month at the same date/time, same locations(s)  that features an industry expert covering a pertinent vertical market issue or a panel of customers discussing their company’s problems and how they solved them (HINT: using your solutions). Inviting high level executives such as CIO’s to these on-going events will help build up your company as a thought leader. 
From a sales perspective, we also stress that your sales team is trained to execute more effectively within a Thought Leadership philosophy. In our Cloud Business Builder program we stressed Acumen’s Business Guidance sales training program. In this format we use existing sales methodologies and add a key component where the salesperson can become a true consultant to the prospect by offering advice or suggestions that reach beyond the technology solution.
By combining better messaging, adding thought leadership marketing and Business Guidance selling techniques your entire organization can prepare to make 2014 your best year ever!
About the Author 
Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group Ltd. “operationalizes” business and sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 15 years, his consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for partners throughout the world. Ken’s latest book is “Leading High Performance Sales Teams”. This was his 10th year speaking at WPC. He was recently ranked for the second year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2013.
You can reach Ken at, and his award winning blog:​