Earlier this week, we officially launched a brand new customer facing partner page on our microsoft.com/exchange site!!
As you may recall, this site was previously a mishmash of a static list of ISV partners we stood up around the Exchange 2010 launch in November 2009, and a link off to the Solution Finder for locating SI partners. Since the Solution Finder and Solution Profiler have now been retired (officially on June 30, 2011), I spent a bunch of time with our Exchange digital marketing guru to see if we could use this moment to do a complete makeover of the page.
After a few weeks working with our partners over in Pinpoint, the aforementioned Exchange digital marketing guru, and a few others, I am thrilled to announce that we have completely overhauled the site and moved to the Microsoft Pinpoint platform.
“Why Pinpoint?” you may be asking.
It’s fairly simple: building this customer facing partner locator page on Pinpoint means we can deliver a way more dynamic (and frankly cooler) experience for both our customers and you, our Exchange ecosystem partners.
I particularly like the fact you have the power to maintain your own profiles (and their associated applications or professional services offers) to keep them current, strong marketing tools for you to reach new customers. We also benefit from improved search, customer reviews and ratings, and (of course!) the ability to flaunt your investments in the MPN competencies you are attaining (like the new Messaging competency later this calendar year).
Now, we didn’t just slap a Pinpoint box on the Exchange Partners page. What you see there is a scoped view into Pinpoint with just those partners who have solutions (applications or services) for Microsoft Exchange. This slims down the list of 10s of thousands of Pinpoint company profiles to a healthy handful of Exchange ecosystem members.
To make this possible, we asked the Microsoft Pinpoint team to do some backend changes to the Pinpoint database. Specifically, there is now a new “Works With” super category called “Microsoft Exchange”, and we’ve scoped our view into Pinpoint for Application or Professional Service listings that include one of its children, i.e., “Microsoft Exchange Server 2010” or “Microsoft Exchange Server 2007”.
So, your call to action is to go into Pinpoint and either create or update a new Profile and set your “Microsoft ‘Works With’ Products and Technologies” to “Microsoft Exchange Server 2010” (see screenshot below) for your solutions for Exchange:
“Wait! What if I also do neat things for Exchange Online?”
Not a problem!
In these cases, especially if you offer an application, I recommend you first set your “Listing Type” to reflect whether your solution is on-prem, online, or both.
And, since you can choose up to a maximum of 3 “Works With” products/technologies, I’d suggest selecting “Microsoft Exchange Server 2010” (assuming your product is working with the latest versions of both the server and service) and then chose either “Microsoft Exchange Online” or “Microsoft Office 365” underneath the “Microsoft Online Services” category.
Here’s what that would look like for my “Contoso’s Awesome App!”:
It’s important that you invest the time to build out a complete profile and associated App/Services description. This really is an opportunity for you to place a digital marketing brochure--with screenshots, links to more details, white papers, et al—in front of a group of hungry customers seeking to benefit from the large partner ecosystem of system integrators and ISVs who have developed professional services and value-add applications that can help them maximize the return on their investment in Microsoft Exchange.
“Okay, so what’s next?”
Getting your customers to summit ratings and feedback is another important tip for gaining great visibility in this new Pinpoint view on microsoft.com/exchange. You’ll likely note that the default sorting for our Pinpoint page is ”Rating”, so get your customers out there telling others the great things you have helped them do with Exchange!
Finally, one of the many benefits you unlock when you attain a MPN competency, is the chance to feature these brands on your Pinpoint profile. Your competency details will show up on the search results page, as well as in your Company Overview tab (see screenshot to the right).
Let your prospective customers know that you’ve invested to become technology experts, from the Microsoft Partner Network, who can deliver innovative, proven solutions built on Microsoft Exchange that will support their businesses and give them a competitive advantage.
Again, this is huge advancement to what we had previously, and I really hope you’ll take the time to invest in creating and maintaining a profile on Pinpoint.
As always, I would love to hear your feedback on this approach and how your experiences have been with Pinpoint as I am fully vested in making this a great sales and marketing tool for our partners.
Want to know more? Just stop by and ask while we’re at WPC in a just a few short days!!
See you in LA!
Ian Group Product Manager Exchange Partner Marketing