Competition in the cloud market has heated up considerably over the last year. Partners around the world are reporting that they need to “up their game” and look for opportunities to better differentiate themselves to win new business and maintain existing clients. In our research with IDC earlier this year, we found that partners are employing several different tactics to differentiate themselves including the following: establishing expertise in key verticals or industries, positioning their technology and service expertise, building intellectual property, and building strong partnership strategies. You can learn more about these techniques by downloading the Differentiate to Stand Out ebook, Part 2 in the 5 part Modern Partner series available on MPN.
Differentiate Yourself with MPN
Another trend that came up in our research was the concept of differentiating by leveraging your Microsoft Partnership. I recently interviewed Eamon Moore, Managing Director of Dublin-based EMIT, to get his perspective on this best practice.
I started off by asking whether Eamon leverages the Microsoft partnership, competency logos, and awards to differentiate his own business in the marketplace. I also asked what the impact of this branding alignment was. Eamon responded this way, “Absolutely! Our Microsoft partnership delivers across all four business pillars that EMIT operates, namely Infrastructure, Cloud, Security and Business Productivity.”
“Our Microsoft partnership is core to our go to market strategy, our PR and marketing activities, and our overall business strategy.”
– Eamon Moore, Managing Director, EMIT
He continued by saying “Competencies have played a key part in our success to date. First, they gave our team clearly defined training plans and KPIs to deliver on. Once achieved, these competencies enable you to show your high level of expertise and performance and allow you to stand out from the competition. For example, last week we announced, over social media and other platforms, that we had become a Gold Partner in the Cloud Platform competency. As a result, this generated three new pieces of business for us in less than a week.”
“The power of the Microsoft brand can also never be underestimated. Earlier this year, we had the privilege of receiving a Global Partner of the Year award for Small & Midmarket Cloud Solutions. To say that this was a game changer for EMIT is an understatement. This has put us right up there with the top Microsoft partners around the world. We couldn’t ask for a better sales pitch!”
Leveraging the Partnership
Next, I asked Eamon what his recommendation was for how members can leverage their partnership with Microsoft to differentiate themselves in the market. He said he would keep it to a few simple steps:
- Constantly engage with the Microsoft partner ecosystem, whether it be other partners or Microsoft personnel.
- Pick a problem that is commonplace in your client base or a particular industry. Then build a solution to solve it and make a name for your business by doing so. Following this, leverage the Microsoft network to grow that solution to scale.
- Lead with digital marketing to get your message out quicker and to a wider audience. Microsoft has plenty of content and initiatives to assist with this.
- Upskill your teams on a regular basis to make you stand out with your customers but also with local Microsoft teams who can be another source of new business for you.
- Take the time to properly understand how Microsoft works – get to know the people, use the Microsoft partner portal as your business bible, know exactly how you can earn incentives and entitlements. There is a lot to understand but when you do you will reap the rewards.
Get Started Today
I think Eamon offers excellent advice for how you can leverage your partnership with Microsoft to help you differentiate your business and stand out from the competition. You can get started on this journey today by building your Microsoft badge.
Build your Microsoft badge
Build your badge and post it on your website and collateral to showcase your competencies and alignment with Microsoft. Microsoft provides partners with badges to help customers better identify their areas of expertise as well as the level of certification and awards they have earned. Review the branding guidelines and get started here.