A Marketing Quick Guide is a document that can help Microsoft partners understand their full customer journey. It can help put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Microsoft teamed up with IDC Research to create three guides directed towards partners. If you are a Microsoft partner, read below to learn the value that each of the guides can provide to you.
Quick Guide 1: From Stranger to Prospect – Break the Ice
The first guide will teach you how to befriend and built trust with your customers. It provides tips on how to share educational information about your company and solutions offered to your audience. It is vital for Microsoft partners to solve their customer’s problems, and this guide will help you do just that. It is also your job to build and maintain a relationship that will be mutually beneficial to you and your clientele. Trust matters!
Here are the steps you must achieve in order to “break the ice”:
1. Get noticed. Become familiar and memorable.
2. Build interest and curiosity for your audience.
3. Establish your credentials. Show your customers who you are.
4. Cultivate consent to engage in demand conversations.
Be able to answer these questions for future customers:
– Who is your ideal buyer?
– Why will the buyer buy?
– What will you say?
– Where will you have the conversation?
– How do you put your campaign together?
– How will you measure results?
How to measure success:
Success can be measured by tracking your analytics. If you are just getting started in analyzing this data, here are the areas you should focus on at first:
– Conversions and Outcomes: Data that shows if your audience is increasing interest and engagement
- Click-throughs from social media to your website
- Quality time with your company representatives at an event
– Relevance: You can find which topics and times are most valuable to your audience
– Top keywords from a search
– Bounce rates
– Time spent
– Content shares and retweets
– Mentions by experts and key partners
Why is this important?
– You will be able to find new customers: By running with your strong points and improving where you are weakest, you will be able to attract new clients to open new markets, replace churn, and beat competitors’ growth rates.
– Gain an unfair advantage: Most of the time, buyers have already made up their mind when making a purchase. Beat your competitors and show your audience that you are available before they are.
– Impress your partners: Microsoft relies on its partners to naturally grow its network. By producing unique and powerful content, you will be able to make an impact.
View the entire Quick Guide 1, here.
Quick Guide 2: From Prospect to Customer – Earn the Right to Sell
Once you have captured your audience’s attention, the second guide will help you organize the data you need, so you can learn more about your prospects. Customer relationships will either flourish into strong friendships or die from a lack of proper care. Attracting potential clients is just the first step in the process while facilitating the buying motion is the most important.
The buyer’s role versus your role:
– Buyers: Trade insight for expertise
– Your role: Plan content to support value exchanges
– Buyers: Start and stop, and start again
– Your role: Enable self-paced paths that reveal intent
– Buyers: Have a tipping point
– Your role: Identify the key purchase indicators
– Buyers: Take a risk
– Your role: Build trust in your products and people
Here are the steps to earn the right to sell:
1. Assess: What do you know about each other?
2. Plan: What else do you need to know about each other?
3. Engage: Trade content for insight
4. Enable: Does your customer data keep up with your customer?
5. Metrics: Measure and manage success
How to map your customer data needs:
Are they a buyer or a bot?
– Bot traffic can be a huge waste of marketing and sales resources. You can use Captcha, IP databases, and drip campaigns to reduce bot traffic and increase organic traffic.
Are they a qualified buyer?
– Are you looking for buyers from large corporations or small businesses? Are you finding that they are engaging at the same time on similar topics?
What are the next best steps?
– Once you are familiar with your customer’s starting point, you can help guide them on their journey. You will need to aim to stay as relevant as possible.
Where are they in their journey?
– Are they engaging with an intensity that suggests intent based on others like them? How familiar are they with your offerings?
Why is all of this important?
– Improved customer experience: You can assist your team in providing top-notch service so that your customers become lifelong clients.
– Better leads and higher conversion rates: You will be able to find leads quicker, and your customers will appreciate that you can accelerate their buying journey. It’s a win-win.
– Improved ability to measure marketing: By mapping out important data, you can measure specific areas of where you need to improve as a Microsoft partner, and you can predict your customer’s buying patterns.
View the entire Quick Guide 2, here.
The customer journey should be a loop, not a line. Your Marketing and Sales team may celebrate when the sale is complete, but they should understand that their job does not stop there. As a Microsoft partner, you are responsible for promising that you will support your clients with whatever they need. By connecting customer data from across the entire journey, you have the potential to build deeper, more authentic connections and increase lifetime value.
– Gain insight into what the customer wants: Collect insights so you can figure out how to build stronger relationships that last.
– Increase value with account-based marketing: Account-based marketing is the practice of organizing marketing efforts around a single account or opportunity. Implement this type of marketing into your daily efforts.
– Leverage community programs: Your customers will engage more if they know they are dealing with real people, rather than a company. Bring customers together to form a community sense.
– Invest in the full journey: Marketing plays a role in every step of the way. Make sure you are producing content that is tailored to your specific audience.
– Develop your champions: Take advice from your customers and run with it. There is always room for improvement in your work.
– Evaluate your progress: You should always keep track of your statistics. By measuring your progress, you can see what works and what doesn’t.
– Go beyond selling: Stop the selling and start educating. Be a resource for your customers so that they will lean on you when they need business or career advice.
- All marketing can be tailored: You can implement microsites, executive events, product roadmap alignment, pricing guarantees, and on-site development resources.
- Selectively apply: Only a handful of your accounts will receive white-glove service. Just because that may be the case does not mean that all of your accounts are equally as important.
– Don’t do it alone: The strongest teams have executive support and participation from everyone in the group.
– Become an account wizard: Marketers should learn about all accounts so that they can prioritize content.
– Metrics for Account-Based Marketing: Important metrics for ABM marketing include revenue, new logo acquisition, account penetration, advocacy, retention, and upselling rates.
Start with simple metrics:
– Active contacts
– Engagement by channel
– Conversion rate through the advocacy pipeline
– Additional revenue (building to lifetime value)
– Improved close rates: The probability of wins from your current customers is higher than new business from new customers. Referrals can bring you loyal clients.
– Positive word of mouth: More references, means more referrals! The word about your business will spread.
– Higher ROI: If you can get revenue from a current customer, you will save money rather than recruiting for a new one.
View the entire Quick Guide 3, here.
“In theory, we measure everything. But it’s difficult because of brand exposure and a lot of what we’ve done…has been creating awareness. And that’s difficult to measure, but it’s critical. Visits, leads, engagement – we try to measure everything. Can we all the time? Not really to be honest.” – Quorus
As Quorus says, the road to successful marketing is never easy. However, it is always necessary! By using these three Quick Guides from Microsoft, you will be able to increase your skill as a partner. The better Microsoft partner you are, the more you can genuinely help your customers, which means more revenue that you will bring in for your company.
Genna is a Partner Content Creator with a creative eye and strong attention to detail. Genna has a business-related bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and a total of four years of experience in Marketing. Her daily responsibilities include content creation across all Social Media platforms, blog publishing, and studying engagement analytics. Genna is drawn to Social Media because she loves helping businesses grow and truly believes that Digital Marketing is the new Sales.