Leadership News

The Partner Connections Event Speaker Highlight

By Bethany Foyt

Andy Snook, President & CEO of Fastpath, Inc. and an expert in compliance
and auditing, presents at The Partner Connections Event!

Certified in Risk and Information Systems Controls (CRISC) as well as Microsoft Dynamics®, Andy will be THE guru teaching Microsoft Dynamics Partners How to Be a Security Guru at this year’s Partner Connections event. Here’s a quick look at Andy’s take on Microsoft Partners and The Partner Connections Event…

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Bethany Foyt Joins The Partner Channel!

By Jenny Davis

We’re excited to announce the newest member of The Partner Channel team! Bethany Foyt has joined The Partner Channel to continue helping Microsoft Dynamics Partners in a whole new way.

After almost four years of helping technology Partners implement and execute their marketing plans and managing content programs, such as blog and case study writing while at The Partner Marketing Group, Bethany has developed a keen knowledge of the Microsoft community as well as in the technology industry. As a writer, she has also put herself in the shoes of prospects and customers, developing insight into industry pain points and key benefits of Microsoft solutions.

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Get Out of the Rut with The Partner Event – September 9-11 in Fargo, ND

By Jenny Davis

Whether you’re in a rut or want to stay out of it, The Partner Event is for you. Arm yourself with the sales, marketing, and leadership ideas you need to make you and your business even better, while networking with other Partners in the Microsoft Dynamics community. Registration opens next week at www.thepartnerevent.com.

Pain Free at the DMV

By Jenny Davis

Did anyone smirk after reading that?

I went to the DMV this morning to renew my license (it expires on Saturday – I like to live on the edge) and was half expecting to stand in line for 30 minutes to then find out that I didn’t bring all the necessary paperwork.

I pulled up to their office and had an immediate sense of relief to see that there were just a handful of cars in the parking lot. Excellent! Read more »

When a Message is Heard

By Jenny Davis

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

(For trivia affeciandos – his actual birthday is January 15, observed the third Monday in January each year, and one of four United States federal holidays that commemorate an individual.)

News sites are featuring tributes to Reverend King today, many including transcripts of his “I have a dream” speech.

A bit more trivia for you – did you know that his delivery of that speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was not the first time he shared those words with an audience?

However, this was the time the message was heard. 

The passionate stanzas starting with “I have a dream” were new to Reverend King’s speech that day, and that is what people remember, pass on to present generations, and will share with future generations.

Reverend King’s passion made people stop and think, and we continue to do so 47 years later.

Amazing, isn’t it.

Be passionate about what you do and you will make a difference in “the lives and business success” of others. You might not share your message with millions and have it resonate for decades, but you and your work have purpose and you too can be heard.

Be amazing.

Stuffed

By Jenny Davis

I’ve had some computer issues lately.

While on hold for technical support last week (Actually, I called, sat on hold, selected the “call me back” option, waited a while, got impatient, called back, and put myself on hold again), I used the down time opportunity to clean out my file cabinet.

I was fairly shocked to see that I didn’t have any files past 2006. Funny thing, as it shouldn’t have been that shocking to me because I can’t remember the last time I opened that drawer.

And that, my friend, is exactly the point.

Why do I hold on to all this stuff?

As I looked through the files, there were very few things that I felt compelled to keep.

Did I really need a rough draft of a San Diego venue’s reception floor plan from 2006? Or notes from a weekly team meeting two years ago?

Not so much.

So again – why do I hold on to all this stuff?

I purged and purged, till I could purge no more. Well, until the tech support guy picked up the extension, anyway.

It felt good to clean out the old files and free up space (for more stuff?) last week, but today as I went to defrag my dogging computer I realized my job was not done.

My paper files may have stopped in 2006, but they lived like wild, out-of-control animals on my computer’s hard drive. In fact, I wasn’t able to start the defrag because I only had 11% of free space and the defragmenter needs 15%.

Again – why do I hold on to all this stuff?

I grabbed my external hard drive and started the transfer (Appalled to see that my last file back up was August 1, 2008. What if something had happened to my machine in the last year and a half? What if I lost all my stuff???), moving everything except my last year of work off the computer and onto the drive.

As I write this post, my computer is 3% defragged (is that even a word?) and I’m wondering how many other web-based things I can work on so as to not upset the defragmentation process.

I’d like to say that I’m reformed and will be more astute in future file management, but that’s likely not the case. 

I will, however, enjoy the new-found speed on my computer and the extra room in my file cabinet…until a few years pass and I’m once again stuffed.

Happy New Year!

By Jenny Davis

It doesn’t seem like a new year until I write my first check.

Due to debit cards and automatic withdrawals I haven’t yet had the opportunity, so I’m still stuck in 2009. How unfashionable of me.

No worries, though, as the second mortgage daycare bill is due this week and I’ll be challenged to remember the new year as I sign the date line.

A lot of people make resolutions when a new year rolls around. Are you one of them? Last year I resolved to learn something about each country. My husband and kids bought me a globe for Christmas to help me with my goal and I was so excited to pick up where 9th grade Geography left off, thus prepping me for a future game show appearance.

I never started.

During Mass on New Year’s Day, our priest talked about resolutions and that we often give up on them because we often don’t think beyond what we resolve to do (or not do) in our lives. Instead of resolutions he said we should make revolutions, or real change.

Considering that statement, I realize now why I didn’t start my journey to global knowledge. I didn’t have a plan. Not that it had to be a fancy plan, but I never spent time thinking about how I was going to make it happen – the steps I would take, where I would document what I learned, why it mattered to me to have that knowledge, and how I could share what I had learned with others, namely my children.

To make a revolution I need to think about “the how” and then incorporate “the how” into my life.

I still have the globe. It’s a great addition to our home decor, but I want it to mean more than that. I’m ready to make that revolution.

How about you?

Tapping the Treasure

By Bonnie Robertson

What does the future hold for Partner organizations? I have been asked this question with increasing intensity over the past couple of years. The truth is, if I really knew what it takes to be hugely successful in the next several years, I would probably do it and not just talk and write about it. For me, predicting the future comes from speculation (and hopefully some insight) from my years of observing and learning about this market and from learning from many of you, successful entrepreneurs.  Read more »

Don’t Focus on the Customer; ENGAGE the Customer

By Pam McGee

Two years ago, a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) revealed that four out of five executives believed that companies were losing sales every year because of a failure to engage customers. Furthermore, 80 percent suggested that increased customer engagement would translate into improved customer loyalty, and 75 percent said it would translate into increased revenue and profits. So how do you engage a customer? Conventional methods of customer engagement include asking for their feedback on surveys, training your employees to provide good customer service, and holding a customer appreciation event. Those activities are great gestures, and customers certainly enjoy being listened to, treated well, and appreciated; however, they are not enough to sustain a customer relationship. With today’s sophisticated customers, those customer satisfaction and feedback processes are almost implied. It is customer engagement that drives loyalty and return on investment (ROI): 68 percent of the time, an engaged customer leads to increased sales; 67 percent of the time, an engaged customer will recommend a product to someone else.¹

Engaging a customer creates relationships. Engagement is the deep connection a company or brand creates with a customer, a connection that drives purchase decisions, interaction, and participation over time.² Studies also indicate that customer engagement results in higher employer satisfaction and increased competitive differentiation. How do you create a company focused on engaging the customer?  Read more »

Take it from me…

By Jenny Davis

You’ve heard it from Carol, Judy, and Giuseppe.

Now I hope you’ll take it from me…

Yesterday I celebrated my fifth anniversary with The Partner Channel.

I can’t believe it’s been five years. “Time flies” would be an understatement.

I joined the team (well duo, really, consisting of Spider and Norm) and my first project was to create an event for Partners.

I made some calls and selected October 25-27, 2004, as the dates of our inaugural edition of The Partner Event.

(Only it wasn’t called “The Partner Event” yet. We toyed around with fluffy words, action words, abstract phrases – like “The Big” – until we came up with the most logical choice.)

Delivering a brand new event 60 days or so from starting a new job was a pretty good challenge.

Trying to market to Partners who were unfamiliar with both the event and The Partner Channel itself wasn’t in the “easy” category either (the first magazine had just been shipped and prior to that The Partner Channel had been working with a small yet awesome Member base).

We were also pretty new in our relationship with Microsoft. I think it might be pretty safe to say that they weren’t totally onboard with sending Partners our way for much of anything.

Our event budget was the big old goose egg, so getting two Sponsors (Rockton Software and Diamond Municipal Solutions) and having many of our vendors donate their time/services was a huge blessing.

And then something wonderful happened.

Come October, 36 wonderful people showed up at the Radisson Hotel for The Partner Event.

New job, marketing, political, and financial worries went out the door and we had a great time hosting people while they soaked in sales, marketing, and leadership-based content from our speakers, a small yet incredibly talented group of channel experts (back in the day we had one speaker per track, so our speakers were busy for those couple of days!).

The next spring brought 38 people and eight Sponsors. This was our only spring event. It was April and it snowed, so we took it as a sign.

Fall 2005 brought 74 people (we doubled!!!) and 18 Sponsors (holy smokes!). Doug Burgum was a surprise keynote and we partied at an air museum.

We changed it up in 2006, partnering with Microsoft to host The Partner Event – BBC and bring 640 attendees and 57 Sponsors to town. Can you say ramp up?

Fall 2007 was another joint effort, with 517 attendees and 72 Sponsors. Still big, but this was the phantom year (if you were there, you know what I mean. It was weird.).

We chose to go back to our roots and a smaller audience for the 2008 event. It was a gamble, but it just felt right with 238 people and 35 Sponsors.

And now we’re getting ready to do it again. Our goal is 250 and I am so very happy to say we’re getting there. We have 20 fantastic Sponsors (and still have available spots, if you’re so inclined).

Through the years we’ve made it a point to listen to Partners, implement their ideas, and ditch the bad stuff.

We’re committed to providing the best possible learning and networking experience for Partners, and would love to see you there. (Mosey on over to The Partner Event to get registered.)

I invite you to contact me at Jenny (at) thepartnerchannel (dot) com if you have any questions or if you’d like to hear more about climbing uphilll both ways, like we did “back in the day.”

To our veterans, thanks for the memories. To our new friends, I look forward to meeting you soon.

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