Guest post by Sharon Collins, Microsoft Partner Network Manager and Competency Lead, U.S. Partner Team. 

SharonCollinsEach month in the U.S. partner newsletter, Sharon Collins, U.S. Microsoft Partner Network Manager and Competency Lead, delivers a message to silver and gold competency partners about maintaining and maximizing their competency investment. Our new Competency blog series continues that conversation, and will also help those partners working to achieve their first competency.
imageThe “Competency Attainment” view on Virtual Partner Concierge links you directly to the latest competency-specific information and resources.
Your company may have just attained a Microsoft competency or be renewing a Microsoft Partner Network membership that includes one more competencies (to see your company’s membership status, check out our three-step guidance). As the Microsoft Partner Network Manager and Competencies Lead for the U.S., here are three excellent benefits that I recommend partners dive into and start using as quickly as possible.
#1: Internal-Use Software. This benefit gives you access to a wide variety of Microsoft software to use within your company to run your business and gain hands-on experience with the latest technologies, so you can sell what you know. For each competency your company attains, you get additional software licenses to add to your core set of software license benefits.
#2: Customized Logo. Display the Microsoft partner logo paired with the Microsoft competencies you have achieved, so you can promote your skills to customers and generate demand for your solutions. Use your customized logo on marketing and sales materials and across your online properties.
  • Use Partner Logo Builder to create and download your most current logo to showcase your expertise.
  • Watch this video featuring the CEO of BlueGranite, a Microsoft partner with gold competencies in Business Intelligence and Data Platform, to see how they use their competencies to best advantage with customers and prospects.
  • Evaluate your existing marketing and sales materials and online presence to ensure you are using the correct, current Microsoft Partner Network branding—“Gold Certified Partner” and “Certified Partner” no longer exist. The Resources tab in Partner Logo Builder contains a downloadable MPN Brand Logo Guidelines document.
#3: Technical Subscriptions. Activate your MSDN subscription and your TechNet subscription for access to Microsoft software development tools, the ability to download and evaluate the latest full-version software and beta releases, and participation in technical communities for developers, testers, and IT professionals.
These are just a few of the resources that add value to the investment you’ve made in your Microsoft Partner Network membership and competency achievement. Learn more about your benefits on the partner portal or in the Value of Earning a Competency Guide. To access the resources mentioned here and your other benefits, you will need to sign in with your Windows Live ID that is associated to your Microsoft Partner Network membership. For assistance accessing your benefits or otherwise managing your membership, contact the Regional Service Center.​