Introducing Per Werngren, this week's expert. Per is a long time P2P Advocate, creator of the P2P Maturity Model and a Microsoft Partner. He served five terms as IAMCP Worldwide President and led IAMCP's expansion from four to 44 countries, with $10BN annual revenue in P2P between members. He is a serial entrepreneur in Tech, and now investor, with strong experience in Cloud and how to build recurring revenue models taking advantage of digital marketing.
He is a strong believer in diversity in all aspects and loves skiing!
The P2P Playbook can be downloaded here: http://p2pmaturitymodel.com/resources/P2P%20Maturity%20Model%20Playbook%20_FINAL.pptx
Please ask Per any questions on this thread from January 17-24 and he will respond on the 24th; the top kudoed questions will be answered first.
This AMA is live January 24th 7-11am PST.
To ensure you do not forget, please download the calendar invite here.
One day to go! I hope that we will get a great number of wonderful questions! We all want to increase profitability and growth and P2P is a great way to accomplish success!
Welcome with your questions!
Do you think their is an ideal number of partners for organizations of different sizes? My thoughts are that with too many partners, relationships cannot be properly maintained; with too few partners, business opprotunities will be limited.
Is there room for generalists in the partner community?
The basis for this question is that there seems to be a big push for specialization within the Microsoft partner community today. I personally think there is room for both deep experts and broad generalists.
I'd like to hear your thoughts.
What is the best age to create a partner led business?
We hear a lot about Millennials and we are starting to hear about Gen Z's.
What about Baby Boomers? As I have spoken and written about they have The FEM Factor.
How can Friends, Experience, and Money help get a partner led business going?
What's the best way to help a partner roll up their Intellectual Property into a viable offering?
This is based on Gavriella's most recent article in Forbes (and part of my blog post on the same topic with the intertwining of the POTF with the COTF).
Here is my post on the POTF and the COTF
Will your customers help expand your business in 2018?
Also, here is the post on this site --- the MS Partner Community
Q: Do you think their is an ideal number of partners for organizations of different sizes? My thoughts are that with too many partners, relationships cannot be properly maintained; with too few partners, business opprotunities will be limited.
If you are building a Partner Channel with a formal Partner Program then you will be able to manage and take care of a large number of partners. But if we look at classic P2P, then I would say that you should start small and work with a small group of partners because it takes lots of time and effort from both sides to make it fly. I often suggest that you have a group of partners that you work very close with - and then you should be scouting for others to work with in the future. Best way to test if the DNA is really 'Partnering Centric' is to give out business leads – the way they handle them and if they return the favor tells you if they got the right DNA. I call it 'Givers-will-gain'. So my conclusion is that ‘less is more’ but be open to date others too!
Q: Per, Great topic. I know that there are partners that have tried P2P in the past and have been burnt. What key takeaways would you say from your experience can assist make sure the P2P relationship is a more successful? Thanks Jon.
In my opinion it needs to be a two-way street. That means that business needs to flow in both directions and unfortunately that is not always the situation. If you are stuck in a relationship with little deal flow, or if you are the only one bringing in deals then you should find someone else to partner with.
It is also important to make sure that P2P relationship is respected and endorsed by the senior leadership in both organizations. Both parties should be proud and willing to tell customers about their P2P relationship.
Customers love to hear about companies being P2P friendly. It’s also important to take joint responsibility of your joint delivery and never ever make customers feel that each party is blaming the other.
Q: What are the barriers to entry to become a partner (in the Microsoft Partner Network)?
Jeff, a joint friend of us [Bob Marsh] once said that all it takes is that you should be able to fog a mirror!
It is fantastic that everyone can join the Microsoft Partner Network for free on the most basic level that is called Network Member. Many then add an Action Pack subscription so that they get access to the latest software and services from Microsoft. Next steps are to qualify for the Silver or Gold levels and in order to accomplish that you will need to demonstrate your capabilities. It is easy to become part of the MPN family and when you continue to invest you will see that Microsoft too will increase their investments in you. And in my opinion, once you are part of the MPN, you should also sign up with IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners) in order to make the most out of it! In the IAMCP you will meet fellow partners that you can do business with.
Q: Is there room for generalists in the partner community?
The basis for this question is that there seems to be a big push for specialization within the Microsoft partner community today. I personally think there is room for both deep experts and broad generalists. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
No, that train has left the platform.
If you want to become successful you will need to specialize as customers are increasingly looking for the ‘best of breed’ partners and not so much for the generalist partners.
Being ‘Jack of all trades’ used to work but it is far better to become specialized on something - and then find partners that can help you and your customers when there is a need for something outside your core specialty. As long as you pick a specialization that is in demand you shouldn’t be afraid of being too specialized!
You should also consider picking one or two verticals and make them yours! Being able to understand that challenges in a vertical is a great way to become successful – you will find that solutions that you have developed for one customer might be of interest for several others in the same vertical.
Only exception that I see, is that really small SMBs might continue to deal with generalists (and perhaps mostly in smaller cities where there are very few specialists to be found).
Q: What is the best age to create a partner led business?
We hear a lot about Millennials and we are starting to hear about Gen Z's. What about Baby Boomers? As I have spoken and written about they have The FEM Factor. How can Friends, Experience, and Money help get a partner led business going?
Great question Jeff!
Any age will do just fine! It’s never too early and never too late! Friends are always great to have – both for feedback, evangelism and funding! Friends that help you tell your story is a great asset! Experience will come over time and great teams have a mix of talent and more experienced people. Sometimes lack of money is seen as a big obstacle and it’s worth to remember than many several super-successful companies started with zero or very little funding. I personally admire and respect boot strapping!
As for Baby Boomers, they got Friends, Experience and Money. Their kids have left the nest and they have hopefully had a successful career that have given them "F, E and M" so they are great entrepreneurial material. But what I like the most are diverse teams with people from different stages of life, different backgrounds, different experiences and of course a 50/50 gender mix. Because your customers are diverse - your team should be the same! And for a Baby Boomer to work with young people - it can be a rebirth!
Q: What's the best way to help a partner roll up their Intellectual Property into a viable offering? This is based on Gavriella's most recent article in Forbes (and part of my blog post on the same topic with the intertwining of the POTF with the COTF).
First step is to identify your ‘Secret Sauce’ and then package it in a way so that you can get repeat sales out of it. Intellectual Property (IP) comes in many different forms. It can be processes for how to run projects, do migrations, do deployments etc. It can be pieces of code that gives your products a certain functionality. And it can be IP that is targeted to a certain vertical. Unless it’s a given what is your IP, you should gather your team together and have a structured workshop and discover what it is.
When your services have a decent degree of your own IP you will differentiate yourself and stand out in the crowd. This will not only help you sell more – it will also make you look far more attractive to potential buyers when you want to make an exit. It’s worth the effort as it is a way to future-proof your company!
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