We've all been there: the dreaded "Talk". When you hear your partner ask if you have time for one, what happens? Head-to-toe chills? Does your stomach drop? No matter your reaction, when someone utters those words, you know you're about to update your relationship status on Facebook, but...breakups aren't all bad news, right?
In this blog, we won't be talking about the "It's not you, it's me" breakup. We'll be talking about the "It's not me, it's YOU" breakups, the ones that need to happen. If your romantic partner wasn't treating you with the respect you deserve or improving your life in some way, you'd have "The Talk", right? So, why are you putting up with a sub-par Microsoft Partner every day? Let's jump in and find out: have you outgrown your partner and if so, is it time for a new one?
5 signs it's time to break up with your Microsoft Certified Partner
Quick disclaimer: this post, like all of our posts, is meant to educate you to make the best choice for your company. Sure, we think we are a pretty fetching Partner, but that doesn't mean we are your perfect Partner. Read on to find out who is:
#1: If the shoe doesn't fit...
If you went shopping for a pair of sneakers but the salesperson kept trying to sell you sandals, you'd probably skedaddle, yes? Yet when you're shopping for something less well-known, the differences become more opaque. What's an MSP vs. a CSP? What is an Indirect CSP vs. an Indirect Distributor? If you get Microsoft through GoDaddy, are you really getting everything you need out of the Suite?
There's a perfect arrangement for every company, but when it's unclear from the beginning what you're getting and from whom, you can end up with the wrong fit. You wouldn't walk out of the store in flip-flops when you're headed for your next 5K. Don't buy from a provider that doesn't fit your needs.
#2: If you're wondering "What have you done for me lately?"
Do you find yourself asking "What does my Partner even do for me anyway?!" If so, we get it. Even just the idea of a Microsoft Partner was foreign to our non-Ex-Microsoft hires at BEMO. Maybe you remember the (good?) old days where you bump on down to Best Buy and pick up the latest and greatest Office offering and...voila! A few CD ROMs later and you were up and running. No middle man, no rigmarole. Just dial up and get dialed in, right?
So, if you can purchase from Microsoft directly, why bother with a Partner? Microsoft is huge. Huge enough that even enterprise companies still buy from Partners. Why? If you want to go to dinner when you're on vacation, who is typically able to get you a better table: you or the hotel concierge? A Partner knows the ins-and-outs of the vacation locale that is Microsoft-land and can guide you through the many rings of corporate confusion to the front of the line. Need support? Calling yourself will result in a lonnnnnnng hold time and less than stellar offerings. With a Partner, we wait in line for you and in a fraction of the time, plus we have access to the best service.
BUT what if your partner isn't offering you these perks? What if your partner is simply hoping you'll be satisfied with sub-par service because, well frankly, you don't know to expect more? We are your best guy or girlfriend in this situation telling you that, friend, you should be singing your Partner's praises. If not, if your Partner hasn't made it clear what they do for you in addition to purchasing licenses (which yes, you could do solo), then maybe it's time to turn them in for a pony with a few more tricks up its sleeve.
#3: Do you have a Partner with a capital "P"?
If you’re familiar with Microsoft, you know that pockets of knowledge go deep. Some MCPs carry a wide breadth of information and others provide more specialized help, but all know Microsoft inside and out. Microsoft Certified Partners are a part of the Microsoft Partner Network (or MPN), giving them access to the most up-to-date resources around Microsoft technologies, support, and training directly from Microsoft. Still, just because your Partner has access to these assets, doesn't mean they employ them or provide them to you to the best of their ability.
If your romantic partner didn't lift you up and improve your life somehow, would you stay?
With Partners all across the globe, there are many, many fish in the sea (there are over 90,000 Microsoft Certified Partner organizations worldwide) and you should be matched with someone who truly has both the expertise in your business-specific needs and who puts in the effort to communicate that expertise to you. With a wealth of information at their fingertips, a Microsoft Partner should be more than just a title. Your Partner should have a vision for your business, be it how to move to the cloud, how to protect your remote workforce or how to avoid getting hacked. Simply put, your Partner should elevate your business. If not, maybe it's time for a change.
#4: S/he's just not that into you
We've all had to tell a friend the hard truth: S/he's just not that into you. Ouch, but...wouldn't you rather know? If a significant other was dodging your calls, snoozing your emails, or ignoring your cries for help, you would say "out with the old, in with the new", right? We've heard some seriously horrific Partner stories from our customers, but your relationship doesn't have to be tragic for it to be time to move on.
No tragic fails necessary
The truth is, some Partners have different motives than others. Some serve solely small businesses, but most serve solely large businesses, and if you're small and found yourself with an all-big-business partner, chances are you're not going to get the attention you deserve. If you feel like you reach out and your Partner leaves you hanging, maybe it's time for a change.
#5: They're the peanut butter to your tuna sandwich
Wait...what?! Eww, right? If you and your Partner just don't mesh (like peanut butter and tuna - we haven't tried it but would venture a guess that even the almighty peanut butter wouldn't be an added asset to a tuna sandwich), that's OK. Like we said, there are MANY fish in the sea. Take your pick! Is your business more casual and your Partner a bit more corporate? Do you feel misaligned when it comes to company values? If you don't feel your Partner complements you and your business, it's easy to see them as simply "the place where we get licenses". We can't tell you how many times we've heard this but...it doesn't have to be the case. Find the jelly to your peanut butter, the bread to your butter.
Finding a new Partner after a breakup
There you have it: the advice your best friend would give you if he or she knew the ins and outs of (Microsoft) Partnership. Is your stomach grumbling at the thought of having "The Talk" or are your eyes rolling at having to find a new Partner? We get it. No one likes to start over, but here's some sage advice a friend once gave us:
"When you quit anything, a job, a relationship, a house, you are actually making the space for the right person to fill your spot and for you to find the right spot for you."
So, what's your perfect fit? And how do you find your new Partner? You can reach out to Microsoft directly. They will provide you with three different Partner options, depending on your needs and you can choose the one that works best for you. You can also see what Partners are movers and shakers according to Fifty Five and Five, an awesome company that ranks Partners based on what they can bring to your table (can you spot the BEMO team shoutout?). Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't remind you that we are a Partner as well and are always happy to talk. Schedule some time with Josh to see if we are what you're looking for (no hard feelings either way).
The Wrap Up
Maybe it sounds cheesy, but we truly believe that with the right Partner, your business will flourish. Find the Partner who takes the time to understand your business, is forward-thinking in how they can better serve you as you grow and is aligned with your values. Don't waste your time being pushed to the end of the queue simply because you're smaller or not a top priority. Your business is your top priority, right? It should also be your Partner's. We wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day, from all of us at BEMO. A day to cherish those we love and to make room for what's to come next.
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