At the February Seattle chapter meeting of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), we were able to hear from Justin Slagle, Cloud Sales Manager for the West Region of SMB&D at Microsoft, and the former Western Regional Chair of IAMCP US. Justin has been a major factor in the growth and support of IAMCP in the Western United States for the past couple years, helping found the Los Angeles chapter, which remains (for the time being) the largest chapter in the country with over 100 participating members. While Justin has visited our chapter a couple times, this was his first visit since joining Microsoft. We were thrilled to have him join the group and share his extensive experience in growing a business with the help of IAMCP.

 
Justin’s presentation, entitled Build a Million Dollar Pipeline in 2013 with IAMCP, provided an excellent overview of the purpose and charter of IAMCP. I wanted to highlight some of what he shared, but encourage you to take a look at his slides for additional detail.
 
While we do our best to bring compelling content to our chapter, that’s not really what it’s about. The purpose of IAMCP is partner-to-partner networking, but there are also some great perks from Microsoft. As Justin outlined in his session, the value of IAMCP membership is fairly compelling, helping partners by:
Building their business
 
IAMCP members are constantly reaching out to other partners to identify or to close new revenue opportunities, or to expand their offerings to areas where they do not yet have depth. Speaking from experience, we have done, and have receive, many referrals through connections made at chapter meetings. If you are a product company, you might find partners that can provide training, internal support, customer support, or additional services for your customers.
 
Exclusive offers from Microsoft
 
Microsoft is constantly reaching out to the IAMCP partner community with special deals and offers, such as $1000 for Windows/Office referrals, free Business Transformation Workshops, free support for MPN Competencies, white glove support, and to provide executive support.
 
Developing connections within Microsoft
 
Members are always encouraged to share their feedback on products, programs, and events, but IAMCP tends to get better access to executives and teams – which can translate into a stronger voice into Microsoft. Members receive information on early pilot programs, are better able to develop relationships with local field representatives, get to know members of the product team, and make connections into the Microsoft Partner Network and Worldwide Partner Conference.
 
Building their personal and professional networks
 
Whether looking to extend a strong network, or build out a new network, at its core IAMCP membership is about finding new partners. By extending your network, you will become more knowledgeable with your customers, learning about different aspects of the Microsoft stack and the value that other partners provide to the community.
 
Giving back to the community
 
IAMCP is also a charitable organization, pooling our resources and time to benefit local communities.
 
Having fun
 
In addition to regular chapter meetings, most chapters hold regular networking events or mixers where people can get to know each other, building life-long friendships.
 
Justin has shared versions of this same content through the IAMCP leadership calls and through previous presentation, but this is a topic that deserves regular attention: being a member of the IAMCP drives tremendous value to our businesses.
 
For me, the theme that really stood out in Justin’s presentation was that being a leader in the Microsoft Community can go a long way with your customers. You will never satisfy every customer request or technical need, but through IAMCP you will be connected to a vast community, and someone in that value chain will be able to answer that question, solve that problem, or deliver that solution. By participating, you are literally wearing a badge that tells people you want to partner, you are happy to connect. At the end of the day, your customer needs their business issues resolved, and the fact that you are well-connected to partners around the world and from across the Microsoft stack can only enhance your value as a partner. So get involved.
 
You can find more information at http://www.iamcp.org