ISV partners: Learn how you can help customers achieve their goals by following 5 key steps

Over the last 12 months, I’ve had the privilege of working with a significant number of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that are in various stages of partnering with Microsoft in the US. These range from industry-leading IP builders with a long-running Microsoft partnership and compatible applications to new application developers—and everything in between. The common goal of these partners is to help our mutual customers achieve their business and technical goals. This aligns perfectly with Microsoft’s mission of empowering every organization and individual to do more.

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is: “How do I stand out and accelerate co-sell actions with Microsoft’s field sellers?”

Based on my observations, I’ve listed five key steps that the most successful ISV partners seem to consistently take. Some of these may seem basic, however, consistency across these actions will go a long way towards answering the question above:

  1. Incorporate your read of market trends and insights into your offering. As subject matter experts on your offerings working closely with customers, your perspective is very valuable. Incorporating that into your offerings positions you as a thought leader with the Microsoft seller community, enabling them to better advise and support their customers.
  2. Communicate in seller language. Highlighting how your Azure solution will drive Azure cloud consumption enables our sales organization to deliver business value and help their customers transformation to the cloud. Our sales teams have a high interest how ISV solutions can be integrated in the Account Plan and helps them meet their own targets and quotas. One way to structure your message is to emphasize how your solution generates customer value, while accelerating the customer’s Azure usage. You may find this calculator of your app’s potential helpful.
  3. Incorporate documented best practices to remain cutting edge. As part of the Microsoft Partner Network, you have access to rich resources, such as practice development playbooks, to ensure you’re building both the technical and business sides of your organization based on best practices.
  4. More try = More buy. Having worked in the retail industry before business school, I personally observed how inviting customers to touch, feel, and try on a product significantly increased the likelihood of purchase. Make sure you have easily referenceable free trials, proof of concepts (POCs), or Test Drives on Azure Marketplace and AppSource and ensure that Microsoft sellers can point customers to drive the value of your solution. This strengthens your brand with the Microsoft field and customers.
  5. Become more visible. All of us operate in one of the fastest-moving industries, so ensure that Microsoft’s sellers are not only aware but also ready to bring you into joint opportunities. Start increasing awareness through the to-seller engines, such as the Spotlight on New Azure Partner Series (SNAPS), become co-sell ready with listings on AppSource and Azure Marketplace, and access Partner Sales Connect to ensure bi-directional opportunity sharing (and closing). This is in addition to the excellent Microsoft partner marketing resources at your disposal listed in this article by Sarah Broadbent.

To wrap up, thank you for reading and seeking out ways to ensure we’re providing our customers with the best solution to help them achieve their business and technical goals. Microsoft is a partner-led organization, as showcased by our continued investments in our joint selling motions—and we are so excited to jointly tackle the opportunity and challenges ahead.

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