Introducing John Mighell, this week's Microsoft expert. John is the Global Breadth Partner Enablement Lead at Microsoft where he drives programs that enable partners to connect, gain expertise, and grow their business. John is also the author of the MPC Partnership 101 discussion board, a forum full of useful information for partners who are new to the Microsoft Partner Network or who are considering joining.
Please ask John any questions on this thread from November 21-29 and he will respond on the 29th; the top kudoed questions will be answered first.
This AMA is live November 29th 7-11am PST.
To ensure you do not forget, please download the calendar invite below!
Q - What is the best way for a startup to get engaged with Microsoft?
Q - As ISV looking to build apps for Dynamics 365
•Should I be looking at AppSource as more of a platform to Marketing my solution and tease the audience on what I can offer or should I be offering a complete solution to solve the needs of the client?
•Is there any guidance Microsoft has to offer on areas the Microsoft would like to see gaps filled with apps?
•Does Microsoft assist with any Marketing efforts once the app is listed on AppSource or should the ISV still be running it's own Marketing campaigns to drive traffic to AppSource?
Q - Similiar to Q1 but a little different?
Q - What resources are available to non-managed partners?
This parallels my initial question about how Microsoft is engaging with startups. It also parallels David's question about small businesses that NEVER want to be big. By definition these small businesses will never be what Microsoft considers a "managed" partner. Yet, because these smaller businesses can impact Azure consumption, customer engagement, and partner perceptions there is a need to make it as easy as possible for a Potential Partner to make a Microsoft platform decision.
What this really comes down to is ... Why partner with Microsoft instead of with the competition?
1. What is your advice for how partners can build a great realationship with Microsoft's sales people on the field?
2. How do I utilize my MPN membership in order to build P2P relations with other partners?
3. What is, in your opinion, the most under-utilized benefit in MPN?
Hi Jon! I hope the below answers your questions: [Q - As ISV looking to build apps for Dynamics 365]
AppSource is Microsoft’s marketplace for commercial, line-of-business SaaS applications. So to answer your question, you should be offering complete solutions there. Dynamics 365, Office 365, Azure, Power BI are all accepted in AppSource. We plan to commerce-enable AppSource in our fiscal year 2019 so that customers would be able to purchase the app directly from the marketplace. As of now, they can access trials or demos from AppSource but have to contact the ISV directly to purchase.
Regarding app gap guidance - at this time, there is no breadth listing of industry, vertical specific app gaps. Your local microsoft contact or Partner Development Manager (PDM) might be able to provide this guidance.
The AppSource marketing team does demand generation marketing for the App Source marketplace as a whole to customers. It is still essential that you develop your own marketing assets and demand generation strategy for your app. The Smart Partner Marketing site provides resources to help you develop your strategy and tips on creating marketing assets to help you reach and convert customers. You can start by taking a short assessment to determine your marketing maturity level. The assessment will offer recommendations on next steps based on your level.
How do partners find out who their Microsoft contact is? Let alone what or who a PDM is (or does)?
re: Your local microsoft contact or Partner Development Manager (PDM) might be able to provide this guidance.
While I appreciate the direct response ... there are new (and existing) partners that don't know who to contact at Microsoft.
This is a challenge for all partners across all products and geos.
The IAMCP stands ready to help. The IAMCP can be a first line of engagement and can help provide education, guidance, and a local connection / gathering / rallying point.
Great questions Per.
I asked a similar one to your first Q. The first challenge is ... finding the MSFT contact.
I think you and I know the answer to #2. I look forward to the response from John, et al for #3.
There's been a couple questions regarding resources available to smaller/non-managed partners, so let me lay out a few items that I think are the best and most relevant. Everything below links to free content available to all MPN partners.
Learning Portal – Find the newest courses and build your own learning path to help plan your training trajectory. You can explore learning paths by role, difficulty level, products, partner type, and more. Be sure to check out the new releases for fresh content.
Microsoft events portal: Allows you to search through all Microsoft events. For partner specific events, simply mark the “partners” box in the filter on the left-hand side. You can also filter by category (in-person or online), products, language, and country.
Microsoft Partner Marketing Center: Offers customizable marketing, sales and readiness content and materials such as customer pitch decks, copys blocks for wesites/social, pre-written emails, solution training videos, and more.
Smart Partner Marketing: Dedicated to helping Microsoft partners transform their growth with digital marketing. You can access a guided digital growth plan, utilize marketing planning tools, receive digital marketing training, and hear advice from other partners.
Azure CSP site: Learn about Azure with CSP, how to integrate your business, and where to go to get started.
Partnership 101 forum: I would also highly recommend you check out the Partnership 101 forum here on MPC. It's a great place to learn more about the foundations of partnering with Microsoft, and provides the opportunity to network with other partners and ask questions from subject experts.
What if you are NOT an MPN partner?
PS - I know the answers to these because I answer them all the time with my partners, clients and customers. But, I think it would be great to see if addressed on this AMA.
If you are not an MPN partner you can sign up here: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/membership. The process is really simple (just click 'Enroll') and takes about 5 minutes. To learn more about MPN as a whole and the different levels of membership, the What is the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN)? post on the Partnership 101 forum is a great place to start.
Welcome @Anonymous! Please feel free to ask any question you have about partnering with Microsoft. You can also click the "Start a Topic" button in the purple blade above.
If a partner is managed, they will have an assigned PDM who is on point to help "build with" that organization. If a partner is non-managed, we provide the "build with" motion through a guided experience which is facilitated by cloud program specialists through the Cloud Enablement Desk.
As this is a new process, we are adding additional services and expertise to this team constantly. There are a number of services the Cloud Enablement Desk currently delivers.
This is a new and fantastic resource team specifically for supporting non-managed partners as they navigate MPN and build a practice. To sign up for engagement simply go to aka.ms/CEDnominate and fill out the form. A specialist will contact you within 48 hours.
Q - What guidance can Microsoft provide to determine underserved markets?
Microsoft has access to a lot more information about markets. Please share with us, the partners and potential partners, the areas where Microsoft sees opportunities (for partners).
With this guidance I know more than a few current partners and quite a few potential partners that want to start building solutions.
Again, the IAMCP is ready and willing to help communicate this out. The IAMCP already has P2P efforts in place to identify, secure, and win business together. We want to do more. Help us with Guidance on the Gaps.
Hey @Patrick ... this is a good start.
Next ... what questions do you have for John, et al, on this Ask Me Anything (AMA).
PS - Zones is getting it done and you are doing it right. We want to see more Zones engagement with the IAMCP. Laurie Mix is very active with the board of the IAMCPWIT Seattle efforts. We LUV that and want to see more.
ping me for details if you are interested - Jeff.Shuey@iamcp.org
There are a lot of different ways to build a great relationship with Microsoft field sales personnel. Consulting field sales when working on deals, requesting prep help for upcoming sales calls (or even attending calls together), attending Microsoft led training sessions, following local guidance, being transparent about pipeline opportunities, etc. However (as Jeff pointed out) it does comes down to knowing who these people are. Getting involved with the Cloud Enablement Desk (see my previous reply) is one way to get connected in with local sales and enablement efforts. Attending local events or webinars is another great way to get your foot in the door.
In my opinion, the Technical Pre-sales and Deployment Services (AKA partner advisory hours) are the most under utilized benefit. Action Pack partners get 5 hours, Silver competency partners get 20, and Gold competency gets you 50. Especially at the Action Pack level, I don't think this benefit is being used enough - the technical consultation you receive by using your hours can be invaluable, and can really kickstart a practice you building. Go here to learn more about the Partner Advisory Hours benefit: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/support/partner-advisory-hours
Per and Jeff, I would love to hear your best practices around P2P engagement - I think you two are probably the subject matter experts on this!
Thanks John! A great reply!
I had a hunch that you were going to mention the Tech-Pre sales and Deployment Services as that is also my opinion a great resource for partners to use! Especially for the ones with less of these unbillable resources of their own.
P2P engagement is a journey that starts when you're motivated and their is no end of that journey as you can constantly improve. The P2P Maturity Model (www.p2pmaturitymodel) is a proven de-facto standard, endorsed by IDC and Microsoft, for how to increase your maturity in P2P. In the P2P Maturity Model we look at four stages of maturity over ten business functions. The rewards are huge when you embark on the journey of building P2P engagement as that will help you specialize your own practice(s) and to build additional revenue through partnering. It's also important to never forget that great P2P should be profitable for all parties involved - when everyone earns money on P2P you have success!
Hi Jeff, regarding your question about startups, the best place to go is www.microsoftforstartups.com. Bizspark is definitely still an option and from that link you can access the Bizspark portal. This site and related content serve both developed and emerging markets today. For next steps once a solution is created, the startup should promote their solution on a marketplace (AppSource or Azure Marketplace).
To be transparent, the site I linked to (and entire startup program for that matter) is in the process of being revamped and will be updated in January. There is a "Connect Locally" tile on the site that will be refreshed and should allow you to identify people who can help new ventures get engaged with Microsoft and other partners.
Yes, P2P is getting more attention these days. It's not new, but it has become a lot easier to partner with other partners.
As Per has mentioned the P2P Maturity Model he developed is a great starting point.
It's a longer conversation than we might be able to have here. I know Per and I would both be willing to continue this and perhaps even create an eBook on the topic. We have the content and we have the experience.
As a primer ... The reason P2P is flourishing is because customers demand a broad set of talent that is often delivered from a coalition of partners.
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