We often get asked by partners how they can take advantage of their Microsoft partnership to achieve even greater business success and increase their visibility within the channel. My key recommendation would be to build an action plan to attain a gold cloud competency and join our elite tier of Microsoft partners.
There's no denying that the cloud is here and, with IDC forecasting that the greater cloud market will hit $500 billion by 2020*, there's never been a better time to take advantage of the Microsoft cloud opportunity. Attaining competency status is a key step to demonstrate your proven expertise in delivering quality solutions in a specialised area of business and position yourself as a trusted advisor to your existing, and prospective customer base.
"Becoming a Microsoft competency partner is an important step for any IT company - without it, you're missing a trick."
Andrew Penlington, Director, Microtrading
Through attaining a gold cloud competency, you gain access to a richer suite of programme benefits and resources to help you maintain competitive advantage and accelerate your cloud growth to support the changing customer demand.
7 Reasons why
- Differentiate yourself from the competition
Microsoft gold cloud competency status is an elite level in the Microsoft Partner Programme, attained by only a small percentage of the most capable and engaged Microsoft partners. Customers value the gold competency brand, with 73% of customers associating trustworthiness with the gold competency badge and 77% associating it with high quality.**
- Achieve higher margins and profitability
Gold Cloud Competency partners attract higher margins than other partners - achieving margins of 48% on average. This is 5% higher than other Microsoft Partners and 19% higher than those experienced with competitors like Google, Salesforce and Amazon.***
- Get access to the latest software
As an action pack or competency partner, you will gain access to the latest software to use within your business enabling you to develop and test on the latest technology, familiarise your workforce with the product functionality so that you can increase your credibility when talking to customers and even show them the benefits first-hand by creating a customer demo environment. When you attain a gold cloud competency, your entitlement increases significantly. For example, when attaining the gold cloud platform competency, you will receive $12k bulk Azure credit to use within your business on top of the standard partner benefit of $100 monthly credit.
Find out how your entitlement increases for just a few of the products available through your internal use rights benefit.
- Strengthen your marketing strategy
We know that our partners need marketing tools that will empower their sales teams and help them to acquire new customers. For that reason, we've created a UK-based Marketing Concierge service to help you leverage the freely available messaging, content and campaign materials available from Microsoft and reach new customers with ready to go marketing packages that are tailored to your business.
- Expand your customer base
Gold competency partners will have a prioritised listing within Microsoft Referrals, with competency designation to demonstrate your proven expertise. Microsoft Referrals is a global platform and will enable you to connect with new customers who are searching for qualified Microsoft partners, applications and services.
- Enable your workforce
Building and maintaining a profitable cloud business requires you to be agile and able to expand on your knowledge and skills, to keep up with the changing customer demand. Through MPN, we provide you with various training sessions and resources to help you build on your existing skills and stay competitive within the market.
Dependant on your business needs, you can access both in-person or on-demand resources and there is even the option for you to build out a structured learning plan which you can assign to your teams to continually invest in your business growth and their personal development.
- Get technical support and guidance
As a gold cloud competency partner, you will automatically be enrolled into the MPN Concierge service. This dedicated team will provide you with one-to-one personalised guidance, helping you maximise your partner benefits and supporting you with any membership queries that you may have. This will allow you to focus your time and energy on revenue and consumption-generating activities instead.
You will also get unlimited access to our Signature Cloud Support service, an exclusive technical benefit for cloud competency partners to gain direct access to our technical support engineers who have extensive product-specific knowledge and are accountable for driving cases from start to finish.In addition to this, you will get a higher allocation of advisory hours - the currency used to access Microsoft experts that can help you solve technical presales and deployment scenarios. You can use your hours to get remote, customised technical guidance for competing, developing and deploying cloud and hybrid solutions for your customers. Find out more.
If attaining a gold cloud competency is on your agenda, and we hope that it is, we recommend that you look at the competency options to select the one which is most relevant to your business focus. This will also give you a view of the specific benefits and requirements which are related to that competency. You can use your Partner Summary Report to see which requirements you have completed and identify any gaps you need to fill to attain the competency.
Need further support?
We have a team that is dedicated to helping you understand the appropriate route for you based on your business focus. They will work with you on a one-to-one basis to pull together an action plan for attaining a cloud competency within a defined period and help you build specific skills to support you along the way to building a profitable cloud business.
*Source: IDC eBook, sponsored by Microsoft, The Modern Microsoft Partner Series, Part 1: The Booming Cloud Opportunity, 2016
**Source: Value of Partner Messaging Summary Report - MDC Nov 2015
***Source: Channel Partner Profitability Study - AMI June 2016