Looking for my guest post to the East Region blog about WPC 2010 attendance options? http://bit.ly/9hhjeH
The topic for this blog post came to me through an e-mail sent to partnerQ@microsoft.com last week. “We are new Partners in the Network…What is the best way to get started? There is so much information it’s hard to know where to start!”
First, a warm welcome to this partner and other readers who are new to the Microsoft Partner Network!
I spoke with my teammate, Lakshmi Karanth, and asked her if she had some recommendations for companies new to the Microsoft Partner Network. Lakshmi is our subject-matter expert for the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (affectionately called “MAPS”) and since the Action Pack is specifically for Registered Members, she has been thinking about how we can make it easier for new partners to take advantage of the myriad opportunities we offer. Here are her top five picks:
- Purchase an Action Pack Subscription. Your annual subscription provides you with internal-use, full-version Microsoft software, plus access to phone-based support for business critical technical issues. More information about the benefits for subscribers is on the partner portal. (Tip: you can always find MAPS on the partner portal by typing “maps” or “action pack” in the search—it’s one of our Editor’s Choice selections).
- Take advantage of no-cost and low-cost training. Did you know that most of our training is offered to MPN members at no charge? We offer training recommendations by product, role, exam, and competency on the U.S. Learning Plan Tool site. Using this tool, you can create a custom plan for yourself or your organization, and even chart a path to achieving Microsoft Certifications. The U.S. partner learning team also writes a blog with plenty of useful guidance about our training opportunities.
- Consider becoming a Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC) member. If your company serves customers in the small business space, the SBSC offers recognition and benefits that can help you differentiate your offerings, help customers find you, and get marketing, sales, and technical support. This is also an Editor’s Choice selection—type SBSC into the portal search to easily find this page.
- Showcase and market your services and solutions to customers.
- Connect with your local Microsoft team. The Microsoft U.S. subsidiary comprises three Regions, each with multiple Areas (there are 10 total Areas in the U.S.). A good way to learn more about the local efforts is to participate in the monthly/weekly partner calls that each Region hosts, and you’ll also see local information in the U.S. partner newsletter delivered to you the first Monday of each month.
- Explore whether and how to become Certified or Gold Certified by contacting our MPN Experts offer competency consultation. Contact them by phone at 877.254.6825 or by e-mail at email@example.com. An online overview of the current competencies is at https://partner.microsoft.com/us/40011230.
- There is more guidance specifically for ISVs, VARs, and System Builders in the “Make the Most of Your Membership” tab on the Registered Member page: https://partner.microsoft.com/us/40011561.
- VARs will find information about our SKU-based promotions for Microsoft products on the Reseller Promotions page (check out the Big Easy Offer!) and knowledge about customer financing options through Microsoft Financing may be helpful in discussions with customers.
- As a benefit of MPN membership, you receive an e-newsletter each Monday that offers product, program, and training information, specifically for your membership level and geography. These newsletters are also where you will see information about opportunities if you are considering adding a practice.
I hope this helps provide a bit more guidance for those of you who have recently joined the Microsoft Partner Network, and that some of our more seasoned members found something new or useful.
Have feedback about this post or looking for other recommendations? Have a topic you’d like us to cover next? Leave a comment on this blog, send us an e-mail at partnerQ@microsoft.com, or Tweet us @msuspartner.
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
Learn more about what I do at Microsoft