@msPartner, #MSInspire, linkedin.com/in/deanarmintrout

For those of you who were unable to attend last month, Microsoft Inspire was an incredible success. Our unique group of community members consistently help us to create the most vibrant and collaborative partner event in the industry, and we owe it all to you.

As the excitement of Microsoft Inspire winds down, I’ve heard many partners ask the question of how they can make the most of their experiences. How can they take the lessons they learned and the connections they made, and build on them to achieve long term business success?

Today, I’d like to highlight several ways partners can make the most of those experiences, weave them into their business practice, and increase the ROI of Microsoft Inspire.

Grow Your Network

Events like these are powerful because of the connections you make with partners and with Microsoft experts. But it’s not enough to just hand out business cards. You need to follow up with the connections you make after the event to keep the momentum going. If you met a prospective client or a business partner, reach out to them with a reminder of who you are and how you can accomplish great things together.

Start by connecting on LinkedIn. By building your digital network, you are providing them with easy to access information about you, your company, and your expertise within the market. Then, reach out by email or phone if you have the appropriate contact information. It’s all too easy to let connections fade or leads drop in the aftermath of a big event like this. By following up, you will be able to make the most of the opportunities provided by Microsoft Inspire.

“After an event like Microsoft Inspire, I always connect on LinkedIn, follow up by email, and then book Skype calls with the ones I have business to discuss.”

– Per Werngren, Accelerator AB

Make Use of New Resources

We saw several big announcements at Microsoft Inspire that are sure to have a substantial impact on the way business is done in the Microsoft partner ecosystem. The announcements of Microsoft 365, One Commercial Partner, and opportunities around GDPR are all important and will influence how you engage with Microsoft, with your customers, and with other partners.

“As a former MS employee and long-time partner advocate working in the partner ecosystem, it’s great to see the emphasis on Partners coming to the fore again. These changes are significant and will greatly improve the way partners are managed and interact with Microsoft in the coming FY. But as always, the ‘proof is in the pudding’ as we say in the U.K. and the changes are so significant that we expect it to take some time to roll-out. Until then it’s important that, as a partner influencer, that I and the others in the group help other partners to understand what these changes mean and help them navigate through the transition.”

-Stuart Nielsen-Marsh, Pulsant

You should be quick to leverage the information available so that you can stay ahead of the curve. Here are some resources you can use to get started:

Get Ready for Next Year’s Event

While it might seem early, I’ve heard time and again that partners are better able to make the most of our flagship partner event when they start planning for the next year’s event as soon as they can. That means getting registered early, planning out budget and resources, and strategizing around future opportunities you will encounter at next year’s event.

“Be on time with selecting the sessions you want to attend and be selective. What you will see is that if you focus on a certain topic, a lot of information is repeated in every session you are planning to attend. So even within a topic, be selective. I would also recommend scheduling time to connect with people in the marketplace. You’ll see that you can connect with valuable persons and companies. Microsoft Inspire is not only for content but also for connecting people.”

– Emile Stam, Open Line

In 2018, Microsoft Inspire will be hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 15th through 19th. Be sure to get your all access pass for just US $1995 and continue to build upon your Microsoft Inspire experience today.