Getting More Leads with Microsoft Partner Referrals: A Practical Guide
As a Microsoft Partner, you have a unique opportunity to fully leverage your relationship with Microsoft. They are looking for the right partners to connect with customers who seek specific solutions and expertise. You are aiming to be that right Partner for these potential clients. But how can you strategically position your business to attract more such referrals from Microsoft? How can you showcase your company's offerings, solutions, and expertise to become a go-to Partner? This guide will take you through essential steps to enhance your chances of receiving more referrals and growing your business.
Partner Center Profile
Creating or optimizing a business profile is the first step to getting referrals. While it's important to make your Partner Center profile appealing to customers, it's just as important for Microsoft to easily find you. Your profile should clearly outline what your company is all about - its offerings, solutions, and expertise. In the Partner Expertise section, choose tags that genuinely represent what your company is best at. Focus on the industries, products, services, and solutions you know inside out. The goal here isn’t just to pull in any referrals but to bring in the ones that you are fully prepared and equipped to close.
Partner programs are focused on collaboration with Microsoft for mutual success. Simply put, it's about making you more successful, so you can do the same for your customers. Being part of these programs comes with many perks, including greater opportunities to showcase your expertise and receive referrals.
The Microsoft AI Cloud Partner Program is a great example. It provides special designations that recognize your expertise in specific Microsoft solution areas. To qualify for the Microsoft Solutions Partner Designation, you need to collect at least 70 Partner Capability Scores across three areas: Performance, Skilling, and Customer Success.
The benefits include product advantages, go-to-market services, co-sell eligibility, skilling, sales enablement resources, and customer-facing badges that partners can display on their business profiles to visually showcase their validated expertise. These designations show everyone - customers, Microsoft, and other Partners - that you meet Microsoft's strict standards for expertise. Plus, they build trust in you as a Partner, confirming that you are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge to tackle complex tech challenges and business needs. That's the deal, and it's a good one, even though it will require some effort.
Customers out there are searching for the best - Partners with extensive skills, deep industry knowledge, and a wealth of experience. And guess who they often rely on to find these experts? Microsoft.
Microsoft values partners who have a deep understanding of their solutions and can effectively implement them for customers. Therefore, it's important for your company to demonstrate its profound expertise, skills, and reliability.
As such, one of the most effective ways to showcase your depth of knowledge and skills is through Microsoft certifications. Achieving these certifications means you’re up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices, making your company trusted by Microsoft and potential customers.
Alongside your certifications, spotlight your success stories and case studies. These narratives provide concrete examples of how you've applied your expertise to solve actual customer problems and showcase your results-driven approach. Furthermore, consider featuring your case studies on the Microsoft Partner Success Stories page. This strategic move further positions your company as the go-to expert and the partner Microsoft is proud to recommend.
Microsoft & Partner Community Events
While it might not immediately come to mind as a lead-generation opportunity, it can certainly be one! Attending Microsoft & Partner community events allows Partners to engage with a diverse audience, including Microsoft representatives, fellow partners, and potential customers. Whether online or in person, these events are a great way to network, show your expertise, and build relationships that could result in valuable referrals. Moreover, active involvement in these events keeps you up-to-date on the latest industry news and Microsoft's strategies. In certain Partner community events, you might even have the opportunity to be a speaker, sharing your knowledge and further highlighting your company's expertise. It’s worth considering events like Microsoft Inspire, Microsoft Ignite, DynamicsCon, and Directions 4 Partners, as well as exploring other relevant events to enhance your visibility within the Microsoft community.
Strong Online Presence
Your company's website is your digital handshake, often being the first interaction potential customers or Microsoft representatives have with your business. To make a lasting impression, ensure that your website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and, most importantly, informative. Your website should effectively showcase your offers and expertise, leaving no room for doubt.
To enhance your chances of gaining leads, simplify how potential customers find and reach out to you. Optimizing your website for search engines is key to improving your visibility in search results, ensuring that those seeking your services can easily find your business.
Beyond your website, it's important to maintain visibility on social media channels. By sharing valuable content, interacting with your audience, and demonstrating your expertise, you can increase your credibility and attract potential referrals.
Microsoft Partners partnering up with… each other? You read that right! By leveraging each other's strengths and resources, Microsoft partners can address a wider range of customer needs, innovate faster, and deliver more comprehensive solutions to their customers.
In Partner-to-Partner referrals, a partner can invite other partners to collaborate and take on opportunities they can't handle alone. This flexibility in the referral system empowers partners to choose the best strategy for each opportunity, making the most out of every potential lead. Thus, it is important to build strong connections, as well as show what you are great at not only to your potential customers or Microsoft but also to your fellow partners, facilitating collaborations and mutual growth. Dive into networking events, partner directories, and online communities to make new connections and find collaboration opportunities with other Partners.
Co-selling opportunities enable Microsoft sales teams, Microsoft partners, or both, to come together to sell products and solutions that meet customer needs. Both you and Microsoft sales teams can identify and share customer opportunities where your solutions are a good fit.
To succeed in co-selling with Microsoft, showcase your solutions as valuable additions and complements to their offerings. Start by distinguishing your solution: what makes it special compared to others? Clearly explain its strengths and provide concrete examples of successful engagements. Building a strong connection with Microsoft's sales teams and staying in touch regularly brings valuable insights, expertise, and potential customer leads. Moreover, engaging in partner programs not only increases customer reach and co-sell eligibility but also provides you with Microsoft support in serving customers. It’s a win-win situation: both you and Microsoft benefit, and you also get the chance to connect with new customers.
As always, there are some requirements, you can read about them here.
Open Dialogue with Microsoft
The more Microsoft trusts and values your partnership, the more likely they are to refer potential clients to your business. It begins with open communication and a commitment to understanding Microsoft's solutions and strategies. Regularly communicate your company's goals, challenges, and successes to your Microsoft contacts. Stay informed about their latest offerings and updates to align your services with their vision better. By doing so, you not only gain valuable insights into their goals but also demonstrate your commitment to the partnership. So, invest the time and effort in nurturing this relationship. Microsoft values partners who actively contribute to its ecosystem, and in return, you'll receive support, guidance, and opportunities for growth.
Now that you have these strategies, it's time to implement them and become the go-to choice for Microsoft referrals. Start by choosing initiatives that align with your business objectives and capabilities, nurturing valuable relationships, and enhancing your company's expertise.
Take a look at our tailored training programs for Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE and Power Platform to empower your team and draw in new opportunities.