Ever Felt Ignored by Your Partner?

Today, we are going to discuss one of the top reasons why clients change partners and it is somewhat embarrassing – Attention. Ever feel ignored or that your company is not important (or, as important as other customers that partner may have)? Dynamics resources are expensive and chances are, you’re paying the same amount as those other, “more important clients.”

Microsoft uses a partner led model for both selling and implementing their ERP solution, Dynamics 365 (including both Business Central and Finance & Operations). Partners certainly generate some income through selling subscriptions and add-on Azure services but most don’t rely on this income source. Instead, their services arm drives most of their income.

Partners generate their client revenue through:

  • Implementations. Flat out, these are projects that run from less than $50k to well over $1M. On the low end, these might last from three months to well over a year.
  • Project Recovery. This is dirty expression since it means that an implementation has gone off the rails and the client is attempting to re-implement. Normally, the new partner restarts from the beginning meaning that whatever has been invested to date is simply a “sunk cost” with little residual value. If a new Partner is going to be held accountable (perhaps, unlike the first partner), it stands to reason that it should be their own Discovery, Fit/Gap, Requirements and ultimately, project plan, etc.
  • Integrations. This could be a new MES system, CRM, an acquired company’s ERP, or some other external application. This could take the form of using the Power Platform with PowerApps, PowerAutomate, Dataverse and/or other Azure Services to handle the unique short and long term requirements of this integration.
  • Customizations It could be one-off functional enhancement or it is not uncommon for the ERP to be used a bit as a development platform with numerous customizations ongoing.
  • Analytics. Microsoft has and continues to invest and embed Artificial Intelligence into Dynamics 365 to help especially on predictive and prescriptive insights to more significant actions and financials. While exciting, it’s virtually impossible to create analytics solutions where one size fits all. This is where partners can help match the analytics to the specifics of the client. There’s trial and error and continuous tweaking. And, guess what, as the world changes, so must the models.
  • Technical Support. If the partner performed the implementation, then there should be great knowledge of all aspects including customizations, processes, and integrations.

I’ve seen it time and again where after the big implementation completes and the partner has a support contract in place. Over time the partner loses interest in serving their client for day-to-day cases, some of which can turn into an additional revenue stream as a “how-to” request turns into a billable project. Yet, the quality and attention of the partner wanes.

Ever Felt Ignored by Your Partner-v1For partners, the good news is most clients really don’t want to hire, train and continue to manage the D365 personnel capable of the above. It’s far easier to make sure billable work is justified and then pass it along to their Partner to complete.

Here are some of the classic symptoms that cause clients to consider another partner:

  • The partner only communicates when it is trying to sell you something. The communication might be veiled with an overdue response to something else but it becomes pretty clear that they want to talk more about convincing you to spend $$ on a new project that has iffy financial justification or something else that involves more spending.
  • When questioned about a case or work previously or now being performed, the partner becomes defensive. Many times the questions are not intended to be critical but this is how the partner reacts.
  • Ever feel like a “checklist” item? I’ve seen a “check the box” mentality where the partner is looking for the lowest common denominator value to move on from an issue, case or even customization request.  It’s not about quality or value-add but about convenience (for the partner).
  • Worst yet, for the above, I’ve seen cases where the partner blames the customer without cause. Mind you, there are times when the customer is to blame for especially a delay when the customer has to respond to legitimate questions that literally stall the project or case.
  • Last but not least… the partner talks down to you – See Theodore Roosevelt quote above. It’s not necessarily what they said but how they said it. Completely controllable and yet, some people just care about being recognized as the smartest person in the room.

Great customer service by a partner involves a trusting and service-first attitude. It’s even more than an extension of your own organization. Your money is spent as if it is their own. And, their humbleness often makes the quality of their work stand even taller…

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