Being a Microsoft Partner is about much more than just your relationship with Microsoft. In fact, one of the most valuable assets that our network has to offer is one of the most underutilized: other partners in the network.
Stay with me–I know that might seem counter-intuitive.
The partners I have met who are most successful have a collaborative mindset: rather than viewing other partners as their competitors, they see opportunities. They unlock new markets by offering more complete solutions to their customers, and they strengthen their relationships with customers by recommending strong partners with complementary expertise.
As a matter of fact, the definition of an ecosystem is a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community with their environment. We have an incredible partner ecosystem that we have been nurturing for more than 30 years.
The power of partnering
We’ve known collaboration is a game-changer for our partners for a while now, but a recent IDC study confirmed it. According to their research, when you and the right partner join forces, three things are bound to happen:
You build total solutions. The IDC study shows that partners who work together have more access to solution- and customer-specific knowledge and expertise. Working with partners who have complementary expertise expands everyone’s reach, increases scale, and provides new opportunities for growth, which leads to my next point.
Your business grows. As an MPN partner, you belong to perhaps the richest, most experienced, most capable network in the industry. That same IDC report shows that partners who take advantage of this and team up earn higher market share, have better reputations, and enjoy higher profitability and more competitive advantage. They also experience decreases in both resource and staffing shortages and surpluses.
You beat the competition. Another key take-away from the new research: those who partner up earn increased sales and marketing coverage in new geographies, as well as in their own area. And you, the partners, control the partnership. The details, terms, and arrangements of your partnership are defined entirely by the partners involved. Win, win.
Partnering with each other helps you reach geographical markets where you lack a physical presence or where you have language or compliance barriers to entry. Partnering with each other enables you to care for a customer’s lifecycle end to end – with some partners focused on the front end deployment and others on the backend support. Partnering with each other helps you find other IP solutions that can knit together a full customer solution and optimize each customer engagement or customer socket. Partnering with each other just makes sense for your business.
So, how do you find the right partner?
The path to effective partnerships
Partners are able to achieve these things when they find an ally whose plans complement their own business goals. That said, partnering is a skill, and an intimidating one to learn when you’re first starting out. Here are a few resources to help with the learning curve:
The P2P maturity playbook and training program. This is your practical “how-to” guide on mastering the skills and discipline you need to develop and sustain successful partnerships that was developed for and by partners. The program offers resources like a playbook that provides a quick assessment to help you determine your priorities for building a partner program, resources for partnering, and action lists to achieve your goals.
USE THIS IF: you aren’t sure how to start partnering or what type of partner would be a good fit for your business goals.
Dynasource dynamic sourcing platform. Turning down a lucrative deal due to a missing puzzle piece is something you should never have to experience. Dynasource makes it simple for partners across technologies to discover each other and collaborate on projects. So you can do even more together, the first 1,250 partners who sign on between now and December 31, 2015 register for free.
USE THIS IF: you are ready to connect with another partner or individual resource to offer your customers a more complete solution, or you have capacity to fulfill a need for another partner.
The International Association of Microsoft Partners (IAMCP). Choosing someone to partner with is a big deal, and we know that many of you would prefer to build a personal connection with another partner before making that commitment. That’s where the IAMCP comes in. This is a non-profit organization run by partners and is the preeminent networking venue for Microsoft partners around the world. It brings together partners to leverage their joint strengths in delivering world-class solutions to their clients while enhancing their ties to Microsoft.
USE THIS IF: You want to meet other partners in your area who have complementary offerings and it is important to you to create in-person connections.
Pinpoint search tool. This tool is a great way for customers to find the right partner that meets their needs, but it is also a great resource for partners to find other partners in specific regions or who specialize in complementary areas of business. You can search for specific partners, or by services or apps, and can narrow it down by location as well. See ratings, descriptions of services, applications, reviews and locations that will help you find the right partner for you.
USE THIS IF: This is great if you have a specific idea of the type of partner you are looking for, but don’t have someone specific in mind. TIP – Make sure your profile is up to date so that other partners can find you and so they can see everything your company has to offer.
Finding and creating powerful partnerships isn’t the easiest task on your to-do list, we know. But with these tools, we’re here to help you discover the power of working with your fellow Microsoft partners—and exactly how to make those partnerships work for you.