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How Microsoft Surface achieves scalable campaign roll-outs to unmanaged partners

4 min read By November 29, 2021 December 2nd, 2021 No Comments
Image shows various Microsoft Surface notebooks

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High-end. Touchscreen. Always featuring the latest software innovations. Microsoft Surface is Microsoft’s hardware division, producing 2-in-1 tablets, laptops, and screens for both consumers and the B2B market.

Currently, the Microsoft Surface Netherlands B2B division has onboarded 60 partners onto the Channel Intelligence platform, helping them to spread a unified message about Surface to the market through the channel.


Partner participation at Microsoft Surface

Product awareness is key for getting Microsoft Surface to its end-users. Selling through partners by informing, exciting, and giving access to information that they can present to their customers and end-users. But getting partners to participate in campaigns, and keeping them engaged after launch can be challenging.

As an innovative, premium product, Microsoft Surface still has scope to expand in terms of market share and partner participation. In every channel, partners are essential to help shift customers and end-users towards a product by showing its added value – such as higher productivity and job satisfaction. But with one channel distributor manager for thousands of partners, where do you start?

1000s of partners. 4 distributors. 1 channel manager.

The Microsoft Surface Netherlands B2B division has one distributor channel manager for four distributors and thousand of unmanaged partners. Talking to thousands of partners is an impossible job to fulfill on your own. Microsoft Surface was searching for a scalable way to serve its partners.

Content stuck in the partner portal 

Microsoft has comprehensive partner portals that contain every kind of marketing material a partner could want or need. The challenge is that partners simply don’t have the time and resources to go looking for the best materials.

So how do you keep track of what each of your 2000 partners is posting? Going through each website, social media account, and advertising channel is an impossible task.

Before being introduced to Channext’s Channel Intelligence platform, Microsoft Surface tried various initiatives to get partners to spread the message. Most of these initiatives didn’t work out as planned, as it was difficult to get enough partners on board. No matter how good your initiative is, if your partners don’t participate, you won’t get the desired business outcomes.

Image shows 61 partners onboarded, 96% partner participation, 120K+ end-users reached

How Channel Intelligence helped transform the way partners adopt campaigns

Other software platforms had been tried and tested but did not yield the expected results. The difference with the Channel Intelligence platform? For one, there are already hundreds of partners using the platform. Meaning vendors don’t need to do all the heavy lifting of recruiting partners.

In addition, each vendor is expected to bring their own partner pool onboard. As they know which partners are the most important to their brand. Onboarding through the Channel Intelligence platform takes partners no more than 10-minutes.

Channext offers partners a marketplace – essentially an overview of other participating vendors on the Channel Intelligence Platform. By signing up to other vendors, partners can aggregate even more campaign flows and feedback within a single platform, saving time to focus on follow-ups.

The future with Channel Intelligence

In this model, Microsoft Surface uses Channext’s Channel Intelligence platform together with its distributor Ingram Micro to service 2000 partners.

At a distributor level, they are able to talk to the partners 1:1. Once a partner is onboarded into the platform and getting leads, the distributor can give them a call and help the partner through the follow-up process. We have seen that offering the Channext can be a huge factor in brand preference.

Microsoft Surface aims to scale the number of active partners on the Channel Intelligence platform from 60+ to 200. Creating and offering its content on an HQ level, another aim is to make new campaigns available to partners on a bi-weekly basis. That would give both the vendors and distributors a huge advantage.

This blog post is a shortened version of our Microsoft Surface x Channext Customer Case. Get the full story plus extra insights by downloading it here.

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