Written by: Cheryl Salazar, The Partner Marketing Group

2018 Dynamics User Group SummitMichelle Glennie and I recently spent four days networking and visiting with clients and prospects in person at the 2018 Dynamics User Group Summit. Here are some takeaways and opinions from your Dynamics channel B2B marketing experts:

Is Summit the New Convergence?

It sure felt like it? It seems to me that customers and ISVs really miss the ability to connect closely with each other. While the expo floor was not nearly as large as Convergence, it is steadily growing as ISVs seek a closer connection to what users are really looking for. Inspire hasn’t done the trick so far (there are very few Dynamics partners there and it’s more of an all-up “rah rah” session by Microsoft). Directions & Dynamics 365 combined this year (I don’t think VARs and ISVs all heard that message) so, in our view, Summit is where the community likes to go.

Nothing Replaces a Face-to-Face Meeting

While we tend to enjoy the virtual world for all it offers—no commutes, flexible hours, video meetings (okay maybe we don’t enjoy those so much)—there is nothing quite like the in-person meeting. Being able to walk the floor and see your clients face-to-face teaches you so much more about them than you can ever get on a phone call where people tend to be distracted by social media, barking dogs, the need to get off the call and onto the next one.

People who tend to avoid email or phone calls suddenly become more amenable to discussing their issues with you, a much more valuable use of your time and theirs. You get a real understanding of what your clients are frustrated about! This, of course, leads to both parties feeling much happier about the process, the end result and the decision to continue working together.

We strongly encourage our clients to put in-person meetings into practice in their own businesses. Whether it’s a user group, in-person training sessions or a happy hour spending time face-to-face with your customers—it is all part of your value add. You may uncover more opportunities with those clients IF ONLY you spent more time talking with them.

Summit Reinforces the ‘Sense of Family’

The Dynamics partner community has always brought with it a sense of family. The event kicked off with the Brooke Webb Smith Memorial award, honoring our dear friend and colleague and carrying her legacy and passion for marketing excellence forward within the Dynamics community. This year’s winner is Anya Ciecierski from CAL Business Solutions. Other nominees for the award included our own Michelle Glennie, Cara Posey (PaceJet); Kaitlyn McKendry (Vicinity), Natalie Jackson (emfluence), Steve Dwyer (WithoutWire Inventory Services) and Trish Boccuti (Fastpath).

The Channel Marketing Alliance is in its inaugural year so if you’re a marketer for any Dynamics products, make sure you join the alliance and benefit from all it has to offer.

Getting back to that sense of family. It seems this year more hugs were dished out than swag. We were welcomed in many booths with a good old hug, making us feel appreciated and missed. In subsequent calls with clients, this has really been a common theme—talking about hugs, old friends and colleagues who have stopped by, pictures shared of babies now grown up. It reminded me of a family reunion (except way more fun)!

And being a user group event, Microsoft employees, MVPs, VARs and ISVs are an integral part of making it successful. With close to 7,000 attendees and who knows how many educational tracks, these content contributors are essential to making a conference of this size not only work, but valuable for its attendees.

Continuing the Conversation

Speaking of the tight-knit Dynamics community, would you consider participating in our annual technology marketing survey to help your industry? We compile insight from a global group of marketers for software/technology partners and ISVs to create our Technology Marketing Benchmarks and Trends report and need your help to make it happen! Every year the contributions grow and, therefore, so does the value of the final report.

Thanks to all of you have participated in the past and please, if you wouldn’t mind grabbing a cup of coffee and setting aside 15 minutes, we’d be delighted if you could take the survey once again. You can learn more about the survey or just click the button below to take the survey right now.

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