4 key benefits of a competency and how to activate them

For your business to succeed and break through the noise of today’s technology market, it’s important to demonstrate differentiation to customers and other companies that may want to develop partnerships as a growth strategy. One way that Microsoft enables partners to differentiate is by attaining silver or gold competencies.  A competency is a designation that demonstrates to customers your technical capability to deliver a solution on a Microsoft technology or platform.

This post explores the benefits that silver and gold competencies include as well as how to get started getting credit for your investment in delivering Microsoft-based solutions.

Accelerate your growth and business transformation

When you attain a competency, you are eligible for a set of core benefits and may also receive competency-specific benefits. If you attain more than one competency, you receive one set of core benefits and the competency-specific benefits for each competency.

Here are a few of the program benefits that I like to make partners with competencies aware of:

  • Strengthen technical proficiency and capabilities using technical services and resources. Microsoft partner technical consultants can help you accelerate sales, deployments, and app development. When you attain a competency, you’re eligible for unlimited technical presales assistance on cloud deals and receive partner advisory hours that can be applied to consultations that help you design, develop, and deploy services and apps. Learn more about these technical engagements and the supported products and scenarios.
  • Expand and promote your business with go-to-market resources and services. Your silver competency includes one marketing consultation on a sales/marketing asset, your website, value proposition or digital marketing campaign kit. If you have a gold competency, you receive the marketing consultation, Partner Demand Center enablement, and access to customized, co-branded lead generation assets. Partners with a competency may purchase additional go-to-market offerings such as press release support. Learn more about your go-to-market opportunities.
  • Eligibility for investments. Investments, which include incentives and offers, reward partners for engaging with our shared customers across customer segments and Microsoft’s portfolio. Investments are mapped against the entire deal lifecycle and can help partners maximize their profit margins. Most of these programs require a competency, with the competency requirement varying depending on the program. Learn more by joining the weekly Partner Investments Office Hours and joining the Partner Incentives & Investments Yammer group.

Prioritized listing in the Microsoft partner directory. Partners that have created a business profile and that have a competency appear first in a customer’s search results in the directory and on other “find a partner” pages on the Microsoft website. The competency badge is visible on their listing. Your business profile is the first step to connecting with more customers and receiving referrals.

Below are the search results for a query for partner providing Azure Stack solutions for the retail and consumer good industry near Seattle, WA. Each of the four partners at the top of the results have a gold competency, displayed with their listing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about what’s included with silver and gold competencies, visit the benefits and requirements page on the partner website.

Taking the next step – how to begin attaining a competency

Start by understanding the competencies associated with the specific products and solutions that you sell. The benefits and requirements specific to each competency are available in detail on the Microsoft partner website.

Next, take advantage of the resources available to members of the Microsoft Partner Network that help you attain a competency. Partners that have not been assigned a Partner Development Manager can engage with a cloud program specialist at the Cloud Enablement Desk who will help you work toward your competency goals. Learn more and sign up to work with a cloud program specialist at  aka.ms/cednominate.

If the competency you are working to attain has exam requirements, visit the competencies training page on the partner website for links to learning paths that can help your technical employees prepare.

If you have questions as you’re working to meet competency requirements, contact Microsoft Partner Support. You can chat with an agent from most pages on the partner website, or you can go to the Support section of the site for top partner questions and support options.

Activate the benefits of your gold or silver competency. Log into the dashboard on partner.microsoft.com to get started.

Sarah Broadbent is a Partner Marketing Manager at Microsoft. As part of the US One Commercial Partner Go-to-Market organization, Sarah’s charter is to nurture our powerful US partner ecosystem and ensure that partners are maximizing the opportunities available to them as members of the Microsoft Partner Network.  She has an MBA with a focus in marketing and technology management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and has marketing experience spanning several industries – pharmaceuticals, automotive and now technology.

Other posts you may like

Maximize the resources included in your Microsoft Partner Network membership

4 Microsoft training offerings to empower your teams

Hot sheet training schedule