After only one year in business, SharkPro Software was a Microsoft Project & Portfolio Management Partner of the Year Finalist. Being smart about building partner-to-partner relationships was a key to our success. Here are some ideas for building your partner program, drawn from our experience.
 
Complete Your Solution
 
We wanted to offer our customers a complete solution that included our software product, services, training, and support. While we had the product and services expertise, we did not want to invest in developing courseware. By partnering with MSProject Experts, we are able to offer world-class training for Microsoft Project and Project Server, while remaining focused on growing our core business.
 
Build Street Cred
 
We sought a few well-established Microsoft partners to extend our offering and to give us credibility by association. We limited ourselves to just a few who are leaders in their field that we could integrate into our solution and effectively support. We are fortunate to have world-class partners like UMT, RAS, and TPG on our website. Doing joint press releases, presenting together to customers, and writing case studies helped us build credibility—and win more business.
 
Partners for Infrastructure
 
As a Microsoft partner, we use the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), Office, Dynamics CRM, Project Server, Visio and other products. We also selected Microsoft partners’ products—such as hosting by ProjectHosts and BeMo—to build our infrastructure and to resell. If you are selling a partner product, you should be using it.
 
Leverage Joint Marketing
 
Joint webcasts, sharing a booth at a tradeshow, coordinated web ads, and offering a discount off on the combined solution are all effective ways to increase your presence and stretch your marketing budget.
 
Add-on to Sales
 
We found easy add-on products—such as ProjectWidgets—to boost our sales. We remain alert to referring or reselling when the opportunity arises. These partner add-on items and referrals give sales an extra boost.
 
Broaden your Customer Base
 
We’ve grown our business in the U.S. through direct sales, but we rely on our consulting and reseller partners in some regions, certain verticals, and for international sales. We took advantage of the Microsoft Partner Network and WPC11 to find and meet with regional and international partners to resell our products and support customers worldwide.
 
SharkPro has carefully cultivated partner relationships to grow our business and ensure customer satisfaction. The Microsoft Partner Network is the first place we turn to when finding partners and promoting our company to other partners.