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Dating in Dynamics: Finding Your Perfect Partner in the World of Dynamics ISVs

In an ecosystem full of Dynamics ISVs that can promote an attractive profile, how can you find the perfect match that will serve as your companion in closing Dynamics deals? I’ve participated in a couple of “speed dating” type events hosted by Dynamics Communities, and they are valuable opportunities to meet many new ISVs and VARs (and they’re loads of fun too). But let’s face it, we can date around the ISV world, but at the end of the day, aren’t we all looking for that secure, reliable and mutually beneficial long term relationship?

If you take a step back and start from the beginning, there are two types of ISVs: those focused on selling their solution and those focused on supporting their partners in closing new business. On paper, the first type of ISV makes total sense and for dating purposes, they’ll probably provide you with that immediate feeling of butterflies and the honeymoon period will seem blissful. But you’ll find that as your dating relationship progresses, that your ISV partner is only interested in what’s in it for them, caring only about your world as long as it’s relative to benefiting them. And once that honeymoon period is over, what’s left for you other than the opportunity to return to an undesirable dating scene?

On the flip side, you have the marrying type – those ISVs that are less focused on selling their solution and more focused on supporting their reselling partners. If you can find these types of ISVs, I suggest that you hold on tight and don’t let go as these are the partners that will bring you continued success over and over again, helping you close more Dynamics business than what could have been won without them.

So what qualities do you need to look for in the marrying type? This past week one of Data Masons’ Microsoft Gold Certified partners took the opportunity to describe his perfect mate, which in this case is an EDI solution provider (yes, we’re happily married), but the criteria can be applied across the board to find the right ISV partner:

1. Commitment Ready
We all heard the message loud and clear at Convergence – Microsoft is committed to growing Dynamics. And so now’s not the time to get involved with a commitment-phobe. With Microsoft’s declaration, it’s just as important to look for that same level of dedication from your ISV partners. Look to see if they are active participants within the community – do they attend Convergence, are they members of the Dynamic Communities user groups, do they contribute educational content to the channel, etc.?

2. Risk-free and Reliable:
An ISV partner should give you 100% confidence in any of your sales cycle that their expertise and solution can remove the relative stumbling blocks that could potentially delay or derail the sale. If you can’t be 100% confident, is this really the right relationship for you to be in?

3. Service-oriented:
A true ISV partner’s focus is to support the VAR’s goal of closing more Dynamics business, not selling their own solution. At the end of the day, an ISV’s consultant sales approach that wins the Dynamics deal will still hold opportunities for the future.

4. Two-fold Expertise
In a community where ISV’s are a dime a dozen, it’s even more critical to rely on an ISV that only has expertise in their space (i.e. EDI), but also in supporting, managing, consulting, etc. with the ERP.

5. Flexible Solution
ERPs are constantly evolving and Dynamics is no different. Therefore your ISV partners should be able to offer you a solution that not only works with what your clients are using today, but what your clients will be using in the future as they upgrade to later versions.

As we are all preparing to support the inevitable upgrades to GP 2010 R2, AX 2012 and NAV 2010, if you’re able to pinpoint a true ISV partner out of the crowd of eager suitors, I think you’ll find a long-lasting relationship that you can trust to help you sell more Dynamics.

What are your successful dating in Dynamics tips?

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