The start of a beautiful partnership

This case study should take about five minutes to read.


But if that’s too long, here’s the takeaway: a compelling story and a partner marketing programme that boosted sales growth for enrolled partners by more than 100%.

Microsoft Surface had the products, the story, the legacy and the vision to win over the commercial (B2B) sector. Surface was looking for a way to grow its revenue exponentially, without having to scale its sales force. Empowering the channel was the best way forward. But channel partners found it difficult to tell the story and had low motivation since Surface was seen as a premium device that was difficult to sell.

The Microsoft Surface Modern Deployment offering, however, provided an immense opportunity. This effortless new way to deploy devices created differentiation for Surface and made it easy for partners to sell and deliver for customers, fast. It also improved the financial benefit to the partner.

The Marketing Practice (TMP) first worked with Microsoft to craft a narrative of the connected, modern workplace. We then created an elite engagement and training programme to share with Microsoft Surface resellers this vision, and to train them with a very particular set of sales and marketing skills.

This programme simplified the Microsoft ecosystem for partners, and exposed partners first-hand to the “white glove” customer experience that helped them buy into everything the premium Microsoft Surface brand stands for.

Cool. So… what’s a “modern workplace” again?

A key motivator for Microsoft Surface customers was the need to move to a modern way of collaborating and working. This formed an intrinsic part of the Microsoft Surface narrative. “The ‘Modern Workplace’ story has many angles,” Creative Lead at TMP, Jade Mitchell, describes. “It’s defined by Microsoft as a combination of hardware, software, space and support. Devices that work ‘right out of the box,’ that give users uncompromising mobility and performance, and that empower IT departments with effortless deployment and flexible pricing solutions.”

“It sounds complicated,” continues Jade, “but, by focusing on the customers we were speaking to, and framing the modern workplace with relevant, industry-specific examples, the partners were able to finally have deep and meaningful conversations with their customers about their big picture digital transformation goals.”

A sales success boot camp

Introducing: The Surface Modern Deployment Programme (that’s the “SMDP” for short). We divided the programme into five steps:

1: Recruit

Conduct targeted outreach to partners, focusing on the value of selling these services

2: Onboard

Provide a white-glove onboarding experience

3: Train

Offer thoughtful, personalised training to breed confidence and reinforce the Microsoft Modern Workplace proposition

4: Validate

Use global success stories to motivate and inspire partners

5: Enable

Help partners be successful by marketing better and selling more

The team that trains together, wins together

Internal partner success specialists (dedicated members of TMP’s inside sales team) worked closely with partners, nurturing them through every step. “The partner success specialists serve as a single point of contact for nominated partners,” explains Phil Jones, Head of Inside Sales, “they coordinate between partners, distributors, our teams and Microsoft stakeholders to provide partners with everything they need to successfully tell the modern workplace story. They are, in essence, concierges.”

Regular reporting and tight integration between marketing and sales ensured that partners felt closely engaged in the process. They graduated from the programme fully bought-in to the benefits it promised to bring to their businesses.  

Instant marketing magic

 At the end of the training process, the partners were provided access to the Microsoft Surface Partner Enablement Engine an intelligent, automated system, pre-populated with customisable, best-in-class Microsoft marketing materials.

 With a few clicks, partners could select, tailor and deploy sophisticated, multi-channel marketing campaigns to drive pipeline and revenue growth for them and Microsoft Surface. Thorough analytics and partner insights continue to inform new campaigns that are added to the engine on a regular basis.


The ready-to-rumble sales partners delivered:


126%

sales growth for partners in the programme

VS

31%

growth for partners not in the programme.

The proof is in the pipeline

“I honestly believe this is the future of how technology is going to be delivered and sold. It’s transformational; you see your customers totally reinvent the way they work. It’s very rewarding, and then on top of that, it’s made us a more profitable company.

I’ve never been more excited to be a Microsoft partner. This is the perfect time to be involved in the Surface Modern Deployment Programme.”


Ingram Leedy
Chief Marketing Officer, Protected Trust (Microsoft Surface Partner)

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