Thursday, December 27, 2007

Have you renewed your Microsoft partner program membership?

Many partners need to renew their membership in the Microsoft partner program during December or January. In fact, an overwhelming majority of the the partners who are part of MSPP come due during a 90 day period around the first of the year. I finally got around to doing the task this week and it wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought I remembered. It took about 10-15 minutes to review and update the profile, verify competencies and employees and get the fees paid. Not sure why I had put it off til the last minute but I did.

So why does it matter? The MSPP is a key resource for us as a partner. It is our window into the vast resources that Microsoft has available to us from marketing to training to sales information.

Here are the ways it impacts us at HTS:
1. Software for internal use and testing. We run our business on the benefits of the MSPP program. As a gold partner, we have access to 100 licenses of many products and it allows us to utilize the entire MS stack for a fraction of the cost it would otherwise be. This in itself makes the renewal an easy decision each year.
2. Differentiation. How will you differentiate yourself from the thousands of other partners that are involved in the IT space? Being a certified partner certainly narrows the crowd, but gold certification does it even more. Add to that a number of competencies and you begin to stand out in a crowd. We currently have 6 competencies and don't have many others standing beside us in our markets with that kind of resume.
3. Recognition. I admit we don't have a lot of small business customers asking what our certification level is. That changes when you sell to the mid market, but if you are strictly selling to small companies it probably won't get you many sales. It does make a huge difference with Microsoft and other vendors. When they look at our vendor certification levels and see gold across Microsoft, HP, Sonicwall etc - they know we have made the deep investments to be successful and we are more likely to be a go to partner for these vendors. It really does matter.
4. Partnering. When partners are looking for someone else to use as a partner, the certification level does matter. We would always look at Gold partners first when we need to outsource or get additional resources to help us fulfill a customer need.
5. SBSC. If you are not part of this program and you sell into the SMB space, shame on you. This is a no brainer. The value far outweighs any cost and they continue to add more things into the program over time. Get it done if you are not currently part of the program.

There are more that could be listed but bottom line - get your MSPP renewal completed, references updated and make it a goal to either move up a level or add some competencies in 2008. It will be good for your business!

1 comment:

Stuart R. Crawford said...

Thanks for the reminder Arlin, also a number of client testimonials for your competencies are up for renewal....I had to renew all five of IT Matters this time around. It is a painful process since we have to seek the client's approval and then write the client story. Budget about 15 minutes for each need 3 client testimonials per competency.

Stuart Crawford
Calgary, AB