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In today’s highly competitive market, it’s important to build profitability and success in the cloud, but as we all know, that can be much easier said than done. The good news is you don’t have to do it alone.

One of the best ways to build your market differentiation and grow your cloud practice is to pair up with a complementary ISV (Independent Software Vendor) partner to create a new offering that can provide a robust, complete solution for your customers. Adding new packaged solutions to your offerings means you can meet customer needs more effectively, especially when those offerings are complementary to your own.

Because we know how valuable partnerships with ISVs can be, we’re committed to making it easier for you to accelerate your time to market by creating new ISV-readiness tools from our resource library. Today, I’m happy to share with you a new three-part series of videos, based on Microsoft research from the ModernBiz campaign, partner profitability studies, and best practices from partners, that can help you create powerful, profitable partnerships with ISVs.

Why create partnerships with ISVs

Working with an ISV gives you the opportunity to expand your portfolio and build a unique set of offerings unmatched by competitors—and unmatchable because the IP it took to build them came from the unique combination of your and your partners’ expertise, knowledge, and experience.

We want to help you take those first steps towards partnering with an ISV that has a solution on Azure, Office 365 or Dynamics CRM Online to increase the value of your customer engagements and help you differentiate your offering. These are relationships that can help both your organizations compete and grow. The first video in the new series, “Top five benefits of ISV solutions,” takes a detailed look at the benefits of partnering for both of you:

Meet customer demand

Learn how to understand changing customer needs and engage with ISV partners to help satisfy those needs. For example, customers are looking for business-ready solutions that don’t require a lot of customization or in-depth training before they can start solving business problems. By pairing up with an ISV or two, you can aggregate the solutions to meet a specific market niche and start to specialize in a specific industry or vertical using the ISV’s solution. This path to innovation will help accelerate growth and profitability for both businesses.

Increase revenue

IDC research identifies that the greatest gross margins come from packaged IP. If development is not one of your core capabilities, a great way to innovate and create unique, new IP solutions is to aggregate complementary and related applications and bring them together for a specific industry or vertical in a new way. Partnering gives you increased opportunities to create this type of solution and to develop new subscription services which can enable you to generate recurring revenue. This is a great way to build a more secure future for your business.

Offer differentiated solutions

Are you staying ahead of your competition? Partnering with ISVs that have complementary solutions can make it easier to create tailored software packages for your target market. Not only will that combination help satisfy customers, but vertical-specific solutions are great differentiators.

Strengthen customer relationships

Having an ISV partner on your side can help you increase your trusted-advisor status with your customers. Together, you can listen to customers’ problems and offer a wider range of solutions.

Drive innovation

Finally, get some great tips on driving innovation. Talk to your customer’s Chief Marketing Officer, for example, on the experience they offer their customers. Then, work with your ISV partner to help them improve that experience.

How to engage with ISVs

You’re ready to build a new go-to-market and stand-out-in-the-market strategy by partnering with an ISV—now how do you go about it? In the second video of this series, explore the top five ways to engage with an ISV partner:

Define a clear path to success

Working together with an ISV partner is one of the best ways to create complete solutions for your customers—you can increase your productivity and decrease your time to market by having a clearly defined path for success at the outset. It’s a win for all.

Create a target market

What does your target market need? Vertical solutions are powerful differentiators, and offering the solutions your verticals need means you don’t have to compete on price alone. Learn how you can engage ISVs to build tailored solutions that speak directly to the pain points of your verticals.

Delivering the Go to Market

How do you provide value to your ISV partners? The value an ISV provides is the application or solution they have developed. The value you provide to the ISV is a route to the market. You’ve made investments in your business that are attractive to ISVs: you are established in your market and have a solid customer base, your sales force is trained and experienced, you’re using advanced digital marketing techniques. All of these are great resources your ISV partner can leverage to get their solutions to market faster, with and through you.

Develop your community

In the world of cloud services, having a unique and differentiated set of services is the only way to stand out. In order to effectively build your market specialization and still address your customers’ needs, it becomes more and more important for partners to work together to be able to provide complete solutions. Developing a community of experts means having the ability to say “yes” to more projects and more customers. Learn about resources like the Worldwide Partner-to-Partner Yammer collaboration network and the ISV and Application Builder Center that you can use to help you grow your network and increase your offerings.

Showcase your partnerships with ISVs

When you’ve had a great experience with an ISV, show it off! Whitepapers, blogs, webinars—these are all good ways to solidify your relationship with that existing partner while you attract new ISV partners and share your organization’s success.

How to sell a portfolio of applications

Working together, you and your ISV partners have created a solution that will truly answer the primary pain points within your target market. Now you’ll need to learn some great tactics to help you target your market and sell your solution. This third video in the series covers just that, with tips on how to:

Identify your target market

In this video, take a deeper dive into how identifying a target market can help you zero in on customer pain points. The technology needs of the healthcare industry are different from those in the education field; knowing the concerns specific to your market helps you and your ISV partner better address them.

Bundle solutions

Provide industry-focused, complete solutions for your customers by bundling critical products and services together. Compliance requirements or other specific needs provide great opportunities to create highly tailored, packaged solutions.

Learn from your customers

The more expertise you bring to the table, the more you’ll be able to discover new opportunities—and create new apps—to solve your customers’ problems and support their growth.

Be sure to invest a few minutes to watch these videos and get some ideas on how to expand your network and your offerings. In the meantime, we’ll be sure to continue providing new resources to support you as you build and extend your cloud business, so check back often to hear the latest.

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