Helping you build a strong lead-to-revenue engine through marketing.
If you're a newly recruited Microsoft Dynamics partner, your Partner Account Manager would have provided you with more tools and resources than you can shake a stick at.
But when it comes to making those first two new customer sales, where should you start?
In this blog, I'll be covering my Top Tips for New Microsoft Dynamics Partners and providing a list of resources that you might find useful in your first 12 months of being a Microsoft Dynamics Partner.
Let's start with the foundations, before we get into the detail. My first three tips are:
Credibility=Trust=Faster Sales Cycles
People by from people they trust and one of the fastest ways to establish credibility in business is to illustrate that other people trust you. This is easily achieved through effective use of case studies and testimonials. The trust and credibility you build with customers and prospects will become two of your most valuable assets.
Most newly recruited partners have an existing ERP or CRM practice (perhaps with a competing or legacy product). However, don't make the mistake of thinking that your existing case studies or reference sites for other products aren't valuable. They are! With some minor rewriting, you can shift them to focus more directly on the value or the overall solution and that your people and organization overall.
Credibility is a part of your value proposition
When defining your company in marketing terms and preparing for promotion, establishing credibility quickly is an important part of differentiation and creating your value proposition. Think about how you can reference your strengths such as:
For more details, refer to my three-part blog series "Defining your Company in Marketing Terms".
93% of business decision makers will conduct online research before they make a buying decision (iMEDIA CONNECTION). Your online presence should reflect your professionalism and quality solutions.
Before attempting outbound lead generation campaigns, we recommend you develop a strong online presence to make it easy for people to find you, make it clear what you offer and create ways to capture contact information so you can build relationships.
Good marketing is about explaining why you are better, different and valuable. It is about inviting people to start a relationship with you by illustrating that you have solutions for their challenges. Your website is a great, cost effective way to do this.
Your website is one of your most valuable sales and marketing tools:
TIP: Think of your website as one of your company's most important sales people. Because it is often the first point of contact, your website has the opportunity to influence the actions of prospects and customers, making it essential for you to provide it with everything necessary to earn new business. This means you should include information about your products, services, and expertise - everything necessary to get customers and prospects to work with you.
A word on Social Media
Today, Social Media is an important part of any marketing strategy. However, to be most effective, you need a high-quality website along with a strong social media strategy.
Prior to including social media as a part of your marketing mix, we recommend you take the On-demand Social Media
Training available via the Microsoft Dynamics Partner Academy.
TIP: Your first priority should be to ensure the high quality of your website, as this should be the central hub for all of your online activity. Everything that you do online should lead back to a high quality website - one that is easy to navigate, with a great value proposition and a simple way to engage with you.
A common misconception of social media is that it is free and easy. Neither of these is accurate. Social media requires a time investment, which carries an opportunity cost. Think of social media as a supplement to other activities. When used correctly, social media can tie all your digital marketing efforts together, help you build credibility and drive quality traffic to your website.
One of the greatest returns offered by social media is driving relevant and quality traffic to your website. This is because search engines track fresh content as well as links from your site to others and vice-versa. This helps drive search engine rankings. The more regularly you update content on your website, the more regularly search engines will crawl your site and adjust your natural search position.
People buy from those they trust, and the fastest way to build trust is through credibility. By establishing yourself and other employees as experts in online communities or forums, you can help build your credibility with customers. All it takes is a couple of hours a week to offer your expertise and help some people online.
Joining a forum or community will help you broaden your business circle. Think of it like joining any other peer group for networking. By being an active member who offers information to others without considering any rewards, you and your business will benefit. You will get closer to your customers and prospects and build credibility. Additionally, you may identify sales leads and drive increased traffic to your website.
Start by joining the Microsoft Dynamics Community. Sign up and start listening to the product specific forums. Respond to questions or join discussions and start establishing yourself as an expert.
A blog is a great tool for keeping the content on your website fresh and helping to establish credibility with your target audience. A good blog will help improve your natural search rankings and drive an increase of relevant traffic to your site. One best practice is to write industry specific blog posts to show expertise in key areas. Regular blog posts are recognized by search engines as new content and are indexed quickly, so post in your blog at least once a week.
Many businesses often make the mistake of using social media only as a tool for broadcasting messages. The most successful companies use it for two-way communication. Start by listening-you may be surprised by what you discover. Start by building or updating your profile on LinkedIn & Twitter and adding or following your customers. This will help you understand what is important to them.
Build a lead-to-revenue Engine before any outbound activities
The effectiveness of your marketing relies on how prepared you are to capture enquiries and manage relationships with contacts, as well as the ongoing quality of the contact list you maintain. Your contact list may contain, for example, people who find you via the internet and visit your website, attendees at tradeshows, or individuals who call your office.
Before you consider executing an outbound marketing campaign, I recommend determining how you will build and maintain a contact database. Knowing who your customers and prospects are, how to contact them and documenting previous engagements is fundamental to successful marketing. Building and maintaining your database should be one of your highest priorities.
TIP: Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a Customer Relationship Management solution that is available either on premise or online. It can help you get the most out of marketing by helping you to attract prospects, amplify sales and delight customers. It is flexible, easy to use and as a Microsoft Partner, you get internal-use licenses!
Internal-use software licenses are one of the many core benefits available to members of the Microsoft Partner Network. Refer to the Microsoft Partner Network benefits page for more information on how to download your software. Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM by visiting http://crm.dynamics.com.
Refer to my previous blog for a list of key tools and resources for Microsoft Dynamics Partners.
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