Guest post by Tina Hanson, Partner-to-Partner Lead for the Microsoft U.S. Partner Team.

Tina Hanson (Parkhouse) 2011

The 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada is just around the corner! I’m hopeful you have read the latest WPC U.S. blog post. highlighting the US Track on Thursday, July 12. WPC is the premier networking event for Microsoft partners, and really exemplifies the power of partner-to-partner (P2P) relationships. If you haven’t registered already, I encourage you to consider attending. But you don’t have to wait until July to start thinking about P2P networking and how it can change your business. There are a number of third-party communities that facilitate and support P2P relationships, formal or informal—see my short list of recommended communities.

When I’m not thinking about Microsoft Pinpoint, the online marketplace that connects customers with Microsoft partners, I spend a lot of time working with the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners – United States (IAMCP US). The IAMCP US is an independent association that fosters P2P networking as a key value pillar for its members. A significant differentiator for the IAMCP US is the diversity in the types of partners who are members, which facilitates relationships that can result in valuable partnering opportunities.

Here are a few real-world examples of how partners have used their IAMCP membership to connect with each other and deliver joint solutions to both delight customers and increase revenue.

  • Instant InfoSystems, a partner with a Gold Portals and Collaboration competency specializing in document delivery and automation, met 6th Street Consulting (6SC), a systems integrator with Microsoft SharePoint expertise and a Gold Digital Marketing competency, at their local IAMCP chapter meeting. They discovered their organizations had complementary skills and together closed a SharePoint deal that provided the client with both a three-day SharePoint Deployment Planning Session and a SharePoint-based solution that met its business needs. 
  • Webfortis, experts in CRM integration who have attained a Gold CRM competency, generated a customer lead because of an established formal partnership with Apex Computer Systems, which is a Gold ERP competency partner. They originally met at their local IAMCP chapter meeting. Apex Computer Systems brought the potential deal to Webfortis after they discovered that CRM would need to be a part of the total solution. As a result of the partnership, Webfortis and Apex Computer Systems beat out four other proposals and delivered a complete solution to the customer.
  • Technossus, which holds a Gold Web Development competency, met Technisource, an IT recruiting services company with a Silver Desktop Platform competency, at their local IAMCP chapter meeting, and discovered they could support each other in a different type of customer deal. Technisource helped Technossus create a flexible staffing model so they could win a large new account and provide high quality services to the customer without adding new full-time employees and potentially slowing the project development and implementation timeline. 

These are just a few stories partners have shared with me about how they have participated in the IAMCP US to meet partners with complementary Microsoft practices and used those relationships as a business opportunity. I hope these stories inspire you to start building those important partner-to-partner relationships that can expand your business and increase your revenues. Share yours with me through LinkedIn.