4-page Partner Case Study
Posted: 8/20/2012
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SBS Group Desert Mountain Phoenix Partner Gains National Presence Through Master VAR Affiliation

With more than 23 years in the ERP consulting business, Sara Silver had built a strong Microsoft Dynamics NAV practice in the Phoenix area. But the ability to compete and win in other large markets proved difficult, and to do it right would require massive investments of capital, human resources, and time.

“As a 12-person shop, we would gain a bit here, then lose a little there. We needed to do something different to gain that national presence,” said Silver. “We didn’t want to look like a small office out of Phoenix.”

Silver’s group had the necessary certifications to maintain its Microsoft Partner Network ERP competency, but she saw the Microsoft Dynamics Master VAR program as a way to tap into SBS Group’s deep team and resources to help her achieve her ultimate business goals.

In March 2012, Silver entered into an agreement with the SBS Group, a Microsoft Dynamics Master VAR, giving her group access to a powerful marketing engine, lead-sharing, and national presence.

“We recently won a deal where the competitor tried to position us as a ‘small shop’ out of Phoenix. But, because of our affiliation with the SBS Group, we were able to show that we were much bigger.”
Sara Silver
General Manager, SBS Group Desert Mountain 

FEATURES                BENEFITS
Sharing Leads Although it’s only been a few months since Silver joined the SBS Group as an affiliate, she is already seeing some significant benefits to the relationship. For example, the sharing of leads between the SBS affiliates has already resulted in increased opportunities for her group.

“We’re seeing a lot of intra-network activity. For example, an SBS partner in California had a lead, it wasn’t a fit for him, so he turned it over and we could go after it. And from our side, we recently came across a Microsoft Dynamics GP deal in town; we couldn’t participate, but we shared it into the SBS network and a Microsoft Dynamics GP partner is going after that deal.”
Maintenance Renewals Silver appreciates the SBS Group’s fantastic workflow for managing the maintenance plan renewal process. Because SBS works across a customer base that is several orders of magnitude larger than Silver’s, they are able to spend the energy, time, and focus needed to build a strong maintenance renewal engine, which would have been difficult for Silver to replicate as a single practice partner.

“Our customers will be much better informed when their renewal is coming due, and I think we’ll have a much higher renewal rate as a result.”
Access to New Markets The most immediate benefit to Silver and her group has been the increased access to new markets outside her region, as well as the ability to compete with larger partner organizations. The SBS group regularly shares leads that fit Silver’s capabilities, even when those leads aren’t in her traditional territory. Silver says she can definitely point to one deal, a 16-seat SPLA hosted implementation, that she can directly attribute to her affiliation with the SBS Group’s national brand recognition. And her group recently won a deal against a competitor who tried to position Silver’s group as a “small shop out of Phoenix. But, because of our affiliation with the SBS Group, we were able to show that we were much bigger.”
Marketing Engine
The SBS Group has the size and sophistication to be able to mount a full-court marketing effort, and Silver says she looks forward to being able to focus on following up on qualified leads. “It’s really nice having someone else managing the marketing process. We’re developing webinars, and we’re receiving leads to follow up on.”

Silver also appreciates being able to free up her sales team to focus on nurturing leads, instead of spending time developing and executing marketing campaigns. “Before, we didn’t have a marketing person, we only had a sales person.”

“It’s really nice to be part of something bigger, to take advantage of best practices, to learn how others are doing things in a non-threatening way.”
Sara Silver
General Manager, SBS Group Desert Mountain

Silver’s group is already seeing increased opportunities across a range of metrics: deals that have come directly as a result of the affiliation with SBS Group, wins in regions outside her traditional market, leads coming from other affiliated partners, and the ability to help other affiliates chase leads and land deals that in the past Silver would have simply missed out on.
One intangible result Silver notes is the increased access to business acumen that she has gained as a result of her affiliation with a larger partner organization. “I’ve run my company for 23 years, and I have to say, I never really knew what other partners were doing. It’s really nice to be part of something bigger, to take advantage of best practices, to learn how others are doing things in a non-threatening way. I was really looking to be a part of something bigger.”

Key Takeaways
Silver says she’s happy to caution other partners considering Master VAR affiliation that “you have to be willing to leave your ego behind.” Changing the name of your business is an emotionally hard decision to make. But she says that the advantages are clearly worth it.

“Don’t be hesitant. You still get to make all the decisions, but you’re part of a larger group that will raise your image.”
Sara Silver
General Manager, SBS Group Desert Mountain

Solution Overview

Partner Profile
SBS Group is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Master VAR providing consulting and IT services to organizations across the nation.

Business Situation
Silverware had a strong regional presence in the Phoenix area, but found it difficult to compete consistently in other regions.

In March 2012, Silverware joined forces with SBS Group through the Microsoft Dynamics Master VAR program, increasing their reach and aligning them with a marketing and organizational powerhouse.

  • Gained a national-scale marketing engine.
  • Wins deals outside the Phoenix region.
  • Receives and shares leads with other network affiliates.
  • Leverages SBS Group’s maintenance renewal resources.

Organization Profile
With 12 employees in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, SBS Group Desert Mountain, formerly known as Silverware, Inc., specialized in Microsoft Dynamics NAV for manufacturing and distribution customers.

Software and Services
Microsoft Dynamics

Vertical Industries
  • Manufacturing & Resources
  • Logistics

United States


SBS Group United States