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Guest post by Tina Hanson, Partner-to-Partner Lead for the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team.
I hope you enjoyed your summer! It was a real scorcher here in Dallas, TX with several weeks of temperatures in the triple digits, and while I am a fan of hot weather, I have welcomed the “cooler” temps in the upper 80’s and 90’s recently. After a U.S. Partner Team meeting last week in Chicago where we shared our plans for the coming 12 months, I’m excited to kick off my “Pinpoint Pointers” blog series that I announced here last month.
This Pinpoint Pointers blog series is about the customer-to-partner (C2P) connection: helping partners effectively use Microsoft Pinpoint, our technology marketplace and directory of Microsoft technology IT providers offering professional services and software, so customers can find their solutions and connect with them. But before I get to our first installment of Pinpoint Pointers, I want to mention a couple of upcoming “P2P” (partner-to-partner) activities, since partners collaborating to deliver customer solutions is a critical component of success for both partners and Microsoft. Jenni Flinders, the Microsoft U.S. Vice President for Partner Strategy and Programs, recently devoted a post in her “Partnering with Precision” blog series to The Power of Partner Collaboration.
Q & A About Customer Prospects Now, back to our regularly scheduled program! In today’s post, we’ll tackle two common partner questions about customer prospects.
Question 1: I have a Microsoft Pinpoint profile, but I have not received any customer prospects through Pinpoint. What does this mean? Do I need to change my profile? Answer: If your existing Pinpoint profile is not generating customer traffic, it could mean a few different things. To determine the culprit in your company’s situation, the first thing I recommend is to carefully and objectively review your company’s existing Pinpoint profile to determine how well it represents your company. Some potential tweaks to consider:
This in-depth review and refresh of your profile may take some time to accomplish, but I think your investment will help you stand out to customers using Pinpoint and differentiate yourself from the competition. For more tips like those above, the Microsoft Pinpoint team has a very helpful guidelines page online at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/Guidelines.
Question 2: I’m not receiving customer prospects from Pinpoint, so is it really working? Answer: This is an interesting question because most partners think the only way to measure customer interest is through Pinpoint’s “Request for Information” through which a customer can contact a partner. However, there are 14 different customer interaction activities that Microsoft tracks and measures to gauge our success helping customers find you on Pinpoint:
Consider every element of your Pinpoint profile to be an opportunity to help a customer easily reach you to learn more about your company and your solutions that meet their needs. Offer various customer activities that will best represent your company’s capabilities, and make sure to update your Pinpoint profile when you make additions or changes to your site—and vice versa.
I hope these tips will start you on your way to attracting more customer prospects and helping you to increase your profile’s success. If you have a question you’d like me to address in a future Pinpoint Pointers post, email me at partnerQ@microsoft.com.