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Will your customers help expand your business in 2018?

If Microsoft's Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster has her way they will.

This week she was featured in an article in Forbes. The focus is on revenue for Microsoft employees ... with a very specific call to action to engage customers (thru partners) to seek revenue generating scenarios.

I think this model has merit. It will shape the Partner of the Future. And, in the process will also reshape the customer engagement model ... creating what I'm calling The Customer of the Future.

It’s true … the Partner of The Future (POTF) will be closely aligned with the Customer of The Future(COTF).

So much so that in some cases you won’t be able to tell them apart.

This is a smart strategy and one that will closely bind the partner to the customer and the customer to Microsoft. This is a Microsoft Big Bet.

Clever, eh?

As Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster recently noted in an article in Forbes there is a strong incentive for Microsoft sales people to work with customers to identify intellectual property that may have commercial value outside of the organization.
The digital transformation wave is upon us.

A $20 trillion—that's trillion, not billion—
total digital-transformation opportunity by 2023.
 
via IDC report (soon to be released)

This is where both Microsoft and Partner’s can work together to commercialize Intellectual Property (IP) that may otherwise not have seen the light of day.

  • Is this a viable business model? I think the answer is yes.
  • Are there going to be challenges with IP protection? I think the answer is yes
  • Is there momentum to help address this? Again, I think the answer is yes

The math is simple. The execution will take work (as it should) to bring everyone into alignment. When it works … it will be wise for a Microsoft sales rep to work closely with their partner so that they can get close to their customer.

“So, if a Microsoft salesperson does a co-sell with a partner who has an app or a set of service using Azure or built around Azure, we will give that salesperson 10% of the total value of the deal that partner sells" via Gavriella Schuster in Forbes

Three questions to ask your customer (in conjunction with a partner):

  • What will you build?
  • What have you built?
  • Are you willing to investigate it’s commercial viability?

It’s already working …

"I live this daily... $40M in co-sell with MSFT in FY17. It requires a very different approach to prospecting, managing leads, and selling.” via Kurt Springman, Microsoft Global Alliance at PROS
This is a good way for Microsoft to breakout beyond the traditional IT department sales engagements. It also allows Microsoft to engage current partners to help make this possible. And, perhaps most exciting (at least to me), is that this will enable a whole new class of partner engagement. 
"The only way to scale this huge opportunity is to help create and foster cottage industries and boutique specialists and niche markets via our partners."
via Gavriella Shuster in Forbes
As Gavriella noted in the article this is not completely an altruistic effort. I give her credit for being transparent. I also give her and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, credit for realizing this is the wave of the future. Where Partners become so interconnected and intertwined with the customer that they can hardly be distinguished. 

I’m optimistic that this is going to be a good path for customers and partners for the next wave of engagement. This is a Microsoft Big Bet.

The Partner of The Future (POTF) is intertwined with the Customer of The Future (COTF).

Additional Reading:
Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts in the comments. I’d be happy to get a dialogue going with you. This partner thing is important. It's channel altering.

Also, I will be monitoring this effort as it will have a direct impact on how I work today and how I work with the IAMCP. I'm sure many other partners are paying attention too. It's go time!
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Jeff is business advisor, mentor and community engagement expert. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and K2.
Connect with me on Twitter @jshuey
Or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+
He is a contributing author to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to
the Personal Branding Blog with over 250 articles published.



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Community Manager

Re: Will your customers help expand your business in 2018?

Thanks for posting @jshuey. For those interested, Gavriella also just wrote this blog on the Microsoft Partner Network. Please go ahead, check it out and let us know your thoughts.


All Replies
Community Manager

Re: Will your customers help expand your business in 2018?

Thanks for posting @jshuey. For those interested, Gavriella also just wrote this blog on the Microsoft Partner Network. Please go ahead, check it out and let us know your thoughts.