The Reseller Story – By Marcia Nita Doron, Altico Advisors
I’m the Marketing Director for Altico Advisors, a Microsoft Dynamics reseller partner, aka a VAR (Value Added Reseller). Jon Rivers is the Partner Channel Manager at Data Masons Software, a Microsoft Dynamics ISV (Independent Software Vendor) specializing in EDI solutions that integrate with Microsoft Dynamics.
I didn’t know Jon or his company and conversely, he didn’t know me or my company. But Jon started retweeting some of Altico’s tweets and sharing posts with me on Google + and LinkedIn. So I started to reciprocate by retweeting his tweets and sharing posts with Jon on Google + and LinkedIn.
It was a match made in social media heaven. Without developing a formal business relationship, we became “social” friends. And the result is that we’ve expanded each other’s reach exponentially. To be honest, it’s not a balanced relationship, because Jon has more followers than I do. Still, when he retweets Altico Advisors, my messaging goes out to Jon’s 1,741 Twitter followers, i.e. 1,741 people whom I otherwise would not have reached. And when I retweet Jon, his messaging goes out to my 680 followers, i.e. 680 people whom he otherwise would not have reached.
And we continue to do that on pretty much a daily basis.
The point is, in the social media world, a VAR and an ISV don’t need a contractual relationship to work together toward a mutual benefit. All you need is the willingness to play nice in the sandbox with other Microsoft partners. In my humble opinion, this can even be the case with VARs or ISVs that have some competitive overlap. The Internet is where buyers today do their initial research before reaching out to a Microsoft partner. The more you “socialize” the more likely your company is to be found by potential clients. And since ISVs sell through VARs, helping each other rank on Google and appear above the fold for appropriate search phrases is a win-win situation.
The ISV Story – By Jon Rivers, Data Masons
When I joined Data Masons I wanted to take a different approach to how VARs and ISVs can collaborate within the Microsoft Dynamics community. So I turned to Social Media, if that be LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs, Google+, etc., as I could see a lot of untapped potential to build a stronger community within. For me my first goal is always to help build more awareness of the Microsoft Dynamics line of products especially around their ERP solutions - GP, AX and NAV. Awareness helps the VAR community, and then as it gathers momentum, it will in turn provide more opportunities to me as an ISV.
How did I achieve this? Well I started by building out the various social media channels I was already using. Let’s take LinkedIn first (have to say this is hands down my favorite of all the tools available). I built a complete profile including a picture to give it a personal touch. Next steps were to join various interest groups and become active in them by adding and responding to discussions. I even started a few groups myself, plus I was asked to moderate on some others. After that I started to build out my connections. There are 2 ways to go about this: 1) I might have chosen to invite only people I had physically met, or 2) I could choose to invite a broader group of people who work within my domain, i.e. within the general Microsoft Community. I chose approach no. 2, but at the same time I made sure I made my invitations personal. To date I have hit over 6,400 connections within which more than 75% are part of the Dynamics Community.
On to Twitter, which Marcia has already mentioned is where we met. I took two approaches here as well by setting up an account for Data Masons (@datamasons) and retaining my personal Twitter account (@jon_rivers.) I decided that any content that was more EDI-related or EDI community-focused could be pushed out through the Data Masons account, but my personal account allowed me to push and retweet a great deal more content that was relevant to the larger Dynamics Community. The next step was to research content daily (which I still do), content that I could help distribute to my audiences. Plus, I looked for VARs and other ISVs who had Twitter accounts and retweeted their content. Thus the meeting of Marcia at Altico in the world of Social Media. I would expand a bit on Marcia’s comment vis-à-vis retweeting. Imagine that you have 250 followerson Twitter. I pick up and retweet your Twitter post to more than 1700 of my followers. Then some of my followers retweet to theirs, and so on. Your initial message to 250 followers could easily reach thousands of people in a very short time. As they say in the world of social, “Going Viral!”
Two other avenues I pursued was first, to blog about EDI using the Data Masons blog (educational and informational pieces) and what was happening in the community as a whole. (Altico Advisors and Data Masons both blog daily!) The second more recent avenue was Google+, where I share content and use the same approach that has worked for me on Twitter. This has paid off. I received this response to an article I shared on Google+: “Jon - This lead to the NetSuite information was very timely. Thank you.” Now I happen to know that the VAR in question was head-to-head selling GP against NetSuite. The article I shared, originally written by yet another GP VAR, has helped the respondent become the front runner now.
So come and join us in the world of “Social Media” and let the power of it drive stronger relationships and close more business.
Meet the authors:
Channel Partner Manager & Social Media Guru
EDI Made Simple for Dynamics AX, GP & NAV
Marcia Nita Doron
Microsoft Dynamics GP, CRM and Integration Specialists
Submitted by Altico Advisors, Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM Partner serving New Hampshire (NH) and beyond. www.AlticoAdvisors.com