Utilize key resources to support your partner journey

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Understanding the partner journey is fundamental to succeeding with the Microsoft Partner Network. This is the second post in a series that takes a deeper look at this journey, outlining the considerations, resources, platforms, differentiators, tools, and guidance that are available to help you meet your customers’ needs and scale your organization as a result.

We’re constantly investing to ensure you have what you need to be successful, which means you have a trove of resources available to you as our partner. Knowing where to start and what to utilize next can make all the difference as you progress through building an innovative solution, taking it to the marketplace, and selling.

Let’s explore some of the partner resources you should be aware of, as well as some of the benefits and examples you can incorporate into your own journey. Keep in mind the recommendations, access, and information available to you is often customized to your organization and individual role, so it’s important to explore what is available to you in addition to the guidance offered in this post.

Establishing your home base with Partner Center

Partner Center is a unified platform where partners can take advantage of all the opportunities in the Microsoft partner ecosystem. It enables you to:

  • Create, renew, and manage membership.
  • Earn, assign, access, and maintain benefits.
  • Publish solutions into the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace.
  • Track eligibility and payouts for incentive and investment programs.
  • Manage co-sell opportunities with Microsoft and other partners, including leads and referrals.
  • Access powerful reporting with the Partner Center Insights dashboard, which provides a unified view of data across your Microsoft Partner Network organizational hierarchy.

Partner Center plays an important role throughout the entire partner journey. You can learn more about how you can maximize Partner Center’s capabilities here. Your experience will be customized to your specific organization and role, so be sure to also explore which resources are available to you.

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Building innovative solutions with Solution Workspace

Solution Workspace is a self-service digital experience that helps your solution building team navigate the process of building a solution, taking it to market, and selling, all while simplifying and personalizing the journey as you go. During the Build phase of the partner journey Solution Workspace can guide you through:

  • Designing with confidence. Helps you understand solution architecture and connects you with the right resources to guide the design of your solution.
  • Maximizing your benefits. Assists you with leveraging Microsoft Partner Network benefits for your solution.
  • Building your team’s capabilities. Surfaces training and certification paths.
  • Telling your story. Connects your team to Microsoft support team and materials to determine your value proposition as you prepare to enter the marketplace.

Solution Workspace also plays a role during the Go-to-Market phase of the partner journey and can help you:

  • Up level your marketing. Providing smart marketing content, guides, and training, as well as access to Microsoft specialists to help you successfully build a marketing campaign for your solution.
  • Create your campaign quickly. Surfacing other guides, customizable resources, tools, and guidance to help you boost visibility for your solution and manage referrals from marketplace listings.
  • Grow referrals. Serving as the destination to fulfill Marketplace Rewards and go-to-market services.

As an example, if you were getting started with an Azure solution, there are a variety of technical resources to help you frame up your solution, and Microsoft also surfaces ways to get complimentary access to the right technology as it’s being constructed. And under the “Identify Opportunity” step, you also can find playbooks and business guidance that can help you figure out how to frame your solution into a business model.

We have curated a design reference architecture library full of resources—including technical deep dives and webinars—that highlight designing solutions. You can access developer tools to set up engineering environments and work on those solutions, and you can set up partner technical consultations as you go. Solution Workspace will now also help you land your draft offer in Partner Center to start the offer publishing process.

Unlocking new opportunities with the Microsoft commercial marketplace

Once your solution is built, you can list it in the Microsoft commercial marketplace—the largest sales ecosystem in the world, touching more than 120 countries with over 28,000 total listings. Like any sales channel, this doesn’t guarantee automatic leads, but with the right strategy and level of investment it can generate meaningful business for your organization. Publishing in the commercial marketplace can unlock:

  • Visibility to millions of Microsoft customers seeking solutions.  First and third part apps are on parody.
  • Powerful commerce capabilities that you don’t need to build or buy.
  • Access to Microsoft’s existing SMB and enterprise procurement relationships: 95% of Fortune 500 organizations use Azure, 99% of Azure’s top 200 customers buy through marketplace
  •  Operating globally in 140+ countries, 17 currencies creating a central commerce engine to connect customers and partners from every corner of the world.
  • A robust network of resellers around the world.  Microsoft is built partner-first and marketplace is central to our partner strategy
  • Go-to-market services and Marketplace Rewards (our loyalty program with benefits as your grow)

To fully realize these benefits, it’s important to make sure you’ve accounted for everything you’ll need to succeed when getting started. For example, you should ensure you know who your target audience is and how to reach them effectively, and you should determine if the commercial marketplace extends, replaces, or complements your existing channel structure. You should also set realistic expectations regarding how much you’ll invest and any potential goals or KPIs for areas including:

  • Cutting down your sales cycle and deployment times.
  • Broadening your customer pool with Microsoft’s base of enterprise customers. Microsoft owns the enterprise space and is driving the realization of modern enterprise procurement.
  • Expanding your current geography to access leads outside of your home market.
  • Pursuing a bigger reseller channel with more than 90,000 resellers.
  • Going after bigger niches and revenue streams, especially for smaller aggregators that may need assistance packaging up ISV offers.

Up leveling by engaging with the Microsoft ecosystem

The Microsoft Partner Community is a valuable resource you should be engaging with regularly. As Microsoft GM Dan Truax shared previously, “One of the greatest benefits of belonging to the Microsoft Partner Network is the opportunity to connect with other organizations within the network and form symbiotic partnerships to help you take advantage of new opportunities.” Communities include digital and partner-led groups that foster partner-to-partner engagements and business conversations. Throughout your partner journey, they can expand your access to key content, subject matter experts, events, and networking opportunities. These groups can also help with amplifying the voices and interests of under-represented communities.

In addition to partner communities, familiarize yourself with the partner website. It can help provide direction regarding your membership, solutions, training, and resources, and it offers options to connect with the rest of the Microsoft ecosystem.

There are so many powerful resources, platforms, and tools available to you as our partner. By understanding what you have access to, when to utilize it, and how to set yourself up for an optimal experience, you can arm your organization with everything you need to thrive now and in the future. And as you become more successful, your wins contribute to the overall success of the Microsoft Partner Network as a whole.

As always, thank you for your continued partnership. Please continue to check back every couple of weeks for additional posts in our partner journey series.

Read part one of our partner journey series blog here.

Read part three of our partner journey series blog here.