Major Changes to the Microsoft Partner Network

Microsoft recently announced changes to its partner program. Effective October 2022, Microsoft is changing the name of the partner program from “Microsoft Partner Network” to the “Microsoft Cloud Partner Program.” The Microsoft Cloud Partner Program is for all partners in the Microsoft Partner ecosystem, whether they build and sell services, software solutions, or devices.

 

They are simplifying the partner programs with solutions partner designations, anchored on the Microsoft Cloud in six solution areas aligned to how Microsoft goes to market.

 

  • Data & AI (Azure)
  • Infrastructure (Azure)
  • Digital & App Innovation (Azure)
  • Business Applications
  • Modern Work
  • Security

 

Microsoft says to help customers better understand a partner’s capabilities, they offer two qualifying levels:

  • The solutions partner level is a designation based on meeting specific requirements across what Microsoft call the partner capability score (see below) for each solution area.
  • Specializations and expert programs will give solutions partners a way to differentiate their organizations and demonstrate deep technical expertise and experience in specific technical scenarios under each solution area.

 

To measure progress toward this status, Microsoft introduces the partner capability score, a holistic framework for measuring partner performance, skill, and customer success. The partner’s capability score evaluates a partner based on its certifications, added customers, successful deployments, and growth.

 

To achieve a solution partner designation, partners must achieve a partner capability score of at least 70 points (out of an available 100 points) in the four measurement areas. Starting today, all partners can access their dashboard in the Partner Centre to see their progress towards a solution partner designation.

 

For many partners, this will be an administration and a change in logo activity, but I suspect these changes could be seen as more hurdles for a growing company.

Doogheno has signed up for the SME Climate Commitment. 

Doogheno has signed up for the SME Climate Commitment

The SME Climate Commitment

Recognising that climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society-at-large, our company commits to take action immediately in order to:

  1. Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
  2. Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
  3. Disclose our progress on a yearly basis

In doing so, we are proud to be recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, and join governments, businesses, cities, regions, and universities around the world that share the same mission.

Doogheno’s Dan Smith said “It’s important that all businesses take their responsibilities seriously. We commit to reducing our environmental impact. 

Much of our emissions come from the many hosted services we use, so we have introduced an audit of all our suppliers to understand what they are doing to minimise their emissions.”

Dan Smith Joins the RSA’s Good Work Guild

Dan Smith has joined the Good Work Guild, part of The RSA’s commitment to developing a future of work.

The Good Work Guild is a space for people from different roles and industries around the world to come together to drive positive change and shape the future of work.

It builds on their Future of Work programme. 

“I spend everyday working with the people building and deploying the technology driving changes in the workplace. This includes automation as AI – so I feel I have a responsibility to help build a future where these are an enhancement to the workplace rather than a threat.” Dan Smith

Jane Skuse becomes a Fellow of the RSA

We are pleased to announce that Jane Skuse, Creative Director of Doogheno, has been elected Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA).

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) believes in a world where everyone is able to participate in creating a better future.

The RSA has been at the forefront of social change for over 260 years. Today, its work focuses on supporting innovation in three major areas: creative learning and development, public services and communities, and economy, enterprise and manufacturing.

Current Fellows include Tim Berners-Lee, Bob Dylan and our own Dan Smith.

Previous Fellows include Benjamin Franklin, Steven Hawkins and Adam Smith.

Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded coworker?

 

This time last year if you’d been asked if you’d like to spend more time at home with your other half you probably would have said, of course, it will be wonderful. And for a lucky some it will have been, but for many others, it will have been a mixed bag as we have had to fulfil the dual roles of loving partner and workmate.

In a recent survey by ServiceTeamIT 89% of businesses said they will be working from home, far more of them in the future. Up until this year, it was commonplace for one half of a couple to work from home, but this year has thrust many of us into a situation far from ideal and with little opportunity to escape. So just how can get the balance right when your own kitchen kettle becomes the water cooler and home and work frustrations happen under one roof.

I am going to start by sharing my experience of working with my wife at home. My desk is upstairs in one of the bedrooms, my wife works from the kitchen table. For most of the time, this is fine but if I decide to chop some vegetables for lunch while she is struggling to finish a report, it allows her to demonstrate your command of colourful but less commonly used words for genitals. I now know to WhatsApp her before entering her place of work uninvited and that being called a Venus honeypot is not a term of endearment.

As your living space starts to take on new roles, establishing physical boundaries during set times can help, however, rooms serving multiple purposes, especially bedrooms, can cause other problems but more of that later.

During the 9-5, we all strive to put work first and focus, as much as possible, on the task at hand. But what happens when both of you have a video call simultaneously, is one person is very loud, do you have enough bandwidth, and if you add children into the mix, who gets priority to have the call in peace and quiet.

David, a director of a 200 site retail business, explains more. “We got three teenage kids at home, all of them well-behaved and lovely, but there are times when both myself and my wife need to do video calls. This can mean asking the kids to stop streaming Netflix or chatting to friends online. And then dealing with the fallout of this needs to be dealt with by one person who should be on a call. My wife works in public health so ultimately her calls are more important than mine, so she gets priority every time even if that is frustrating.”

And that leads nicely onto the subsequent point, how do you successfully create a buffer between your work and your home? Yes, it’s wonderful to stick in a load of washing between Zoom calls but it’s hard to rant about your unreasonable co-worker when that co-worker is your husband. Don’t moan to your real work colleagues, they don’t want to become marriage councillors.

For many, the commute home was time to unwind and clear the head, some personal time between work and home to reset. Alex, a management consultant, has created her own buffer. “At 5.30 I down tools put on my coat and take the dog out. Barney must hear about all the ups and downs of my day, but he never seems to mind much and by the time we get home I am ready to be the person who my partner chose to be with, and not Alex the boss. Get a dog!”

Balancing being a husband/wife, a good employee and a good parent has proven exhausting for many. Those of us who are used to giving 100% to work and to our families will naturally be tough on ourselves. Carl, a director at a large advertising agency, sums it up well. “I constantly feel like I am letting everyone down. I can’t be an outstanding employee while looking after my kids, I can’t be an awesome dad when I have to keep checking my phone, and being a superb husband has slipped down the priorities, and I still need to carve some time out to be myself”

And before we end a though from the bedroom office of a friend who will remain nameless, “lunch breaks have become a time to reconnect with my wife, wonderful hours of un children interrupting intimacy… I just have to make sure I have ended my last video call…”

But we will all find a way through it, we’ll take lunch together, we’ll find our rhythms, and remember our loved ones will be sharing our lives with us far longer than our jobs will so working out who should take priority should be simple.

Doogheno selected as one on 17 global Lemlist partners

Doogheno has been selected as one of just 17 companies globally to become a partner of Lemlist.

Lemlist is the first email outreach platform that allows you to automatically generate personalized images and videos. 

Doogheno has been successfully using Lemlist for client campaigns for a number of years.

As well as high levels of innovative customisation, Lemlist also enables exceptional delivery for targeted email campaigns.

ICO Registration

Every business or sole trader that processes personal data – emails and the like – need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office ICO.
The cost starts at £40 per year and goes up depending on the size of the business.
Some businesses are exempt from assigning a Data Protection Officer but it’s good practice to do so.
Here is a link https://ico.org.uk/ESDWebPages/Entry/ZA792395 to our registration.

Prospecting in Uncertain Times – what we learned in the credit crunch that we can apply now

COVID-19 coronavirus, finance and crisis concept, US president Franklin`s eyes and face mask on 100 dollar money bill. Corona virus affects global stock market. World economy hit by pandemic fears.

Business hasn’t stopped, it never does but we are all exposed to the disruption to business as a result of Covid-19. 

The question which has come up the most in conversations I’ve had over the last two weeks is “should be marketing or prospecting at all during this time?”. To answer that I’m gonna draw parallels to the disruption in 2008 was the start of the credit crunch as this was the last major disruption to businesses.

And this will be where we will be in the coming next 3 to 6 months. Take a look at what you can do to change your sales and marketing during this time to ensure that the exit this crisis in the best possible position.

You have to accept that the deals in your pipeline at the beginning of March may never bear fruit when this crisis is over. And it will be over. Do not let yourself find yourself in a position of zero when the rest of your sector has maintained activity and have a healthy pipeline.

What Should We Do?

I will start by recognising that many businesses are not only surviving during this time but thriving. These industries include logistics, e-commerce and IT. Using IT is an example, companies need new connectivity, unified communications tools such as video conferencing, remote working solutions, devices and security to cover the new homeworkers. For IT companies now is the time that they can help their customers and speed up digital transformation programs. But even they will need to adjust how they market and sell.

Outbound 

Outbound marketing and sales prospecting will be harder and your expectations of outcomes should be tempered. It’s unlikely that people will be ready to make decisions as fast as before, going in for a quick close is likely to result in disappointment. People are worried about their own jobs and the jobs of their team, for many of them this is a number one priority and an unsolicited cold approach will be ignored. 

If you are continuing cold calling the remember a lot of your target will be at home and even if I have the phone redirected to them they may not be in the position to welcome the call as they possibly juggling childcare and work. Your call could well be a real imposition on their work/home balance so expect to get the cold shoulder. A better approach would be to use other methods such as email and connecting over social media to arrange a more convenient time to call. 

If you are using email then you should be aware of the current situation and again not looking for a hard sell. Anything that you do should be tied into some high-value content that will help your prospect. Don’t try to present your sales pitch as help, offering an extra 14 days on a trial isn’t helping anyone. Either offer real help or talk about what will be at the end of this. And at this time when we’re all thinking about our family and friends make sure that your emails are highly personalised and showing a human side to your business, don’t ever send out non targeted spammy emails this is a waste of your time and can ruin the reputation of you and your company.

Digital Marketing

It is time to embrace and expand your digital marketing strategies. These will be essential for growing your pipeline during this time. If you haven’t ever focused on these then now is the time to start doing so. Many companies are panicking and cutting back spending, so this means less competition, we are seeing the cost of acquisition dropping by 75% in some industries, which makes it an ideal time to be prospecting even if you have a lower budget. It is a good way to repurpose the budget that had been put-aside for trade shows and physical events. This is an area which when done well can produce a low-cost lead but when done badly can burn cash. Don’t rush into this if you are not experienced without speaking to someone who can help you plan and execute this properly

That is my only sales pitch in this article! 

Inbound Marketing 

People who are continuing to work with often have more time as they are not travelling or in as many meetings. Many are using this time to educate themselves and research products and services for when their businesses are back running at full speed.

Your marketing strategy should be aligned to this increased awareness phase. If you are not using inbound marketing techniques then you really should be adopting them immediately. They take a while to bear fruit but this is the time to be doubling down on your content, working on relevant keywords to boost you SEO, in the knowledge that acting during this time will give you a lead over your competitors. 

Provide your future prospects with high-quality content that is relevant for the awareness stage of the buyers’ journey. This isn’t about selling your product at this stage, it’s about building authority and trust. During this time you should be attracting a lot of interest in your content. This will result in an increased pipeline but because of companies being risk-averse you will not be able to progress the sales at the rate that you are used to. So, it is more important than ever to make sure you have set up a lead nurturing sequence to move these sales through your pipeline. Don’t leave it to the sales guys who will jump on the lead and try to close it there and then – you will lose good opportunities gained during this time by overeagerness and only for them to be forgotten over the coming months. Create a lead nurturing sequences with relevant content and use marketing automation to take care of this and never lose an opportunity through the inevitable forgetting distant prospects. 

Think about what stage in the buyers’ journey your prospect is at and expect them to spend longer in the awareness and consideration phase than they normally would. 

You need to directly address the prospects in your existing pipeline. Aim for pipeline clarity even if this means removing unrealistic opportunities that were looking great a month ago. Pipeline vanity will not result in sales, it will just hide the problem. Be there to answer difficult questions for your prospects; the initial problems you may have been helping your customers with might have changed. Don’t be frightened of hearing projects are being pulled because right now you’re better to know where you stand than to falsely think you’re in a good position.

Decision making will be put on hold. People are going to be incredibly risk-averse. Now is not the time to go in for a hard close. Be sensitive to the situation, there is a lot of uncertainty, people maybe have family members who are under threat of losing their job or unwell.

It Will End So Be Ready

The landscape will change over the coming months, people are planning about what they’re doing when they come out of the other side and when we do come out it will happen quickly. We can’t ignore the situation but we must not get caught up in it and end up doing nothing. If a business is to survive it we need to continue prospecting and build a pipeline. How we do that needs to change. The results that we are expecting need to be more realistic. But to stop prospecting and marking right now is a surefire way to damage the longer-term success of your business. Your marketing mix will need to change and it needs to reflect the environment we are operating but now it’s time to increase your efforts in the right areas to ensure your business survives or even thrives during this period. 

Busy busy busy

It’s been a busy time here at Doogheno, so busy that we have found ourselves almost at the end of August, how did that happen?

We have been working with some more new customers. One is a biopharma start-up that is looking to raise £25 million for expansion into the Americas. We have produced their pitch material including a detailed Information Memorandum.

We are working with another start-up that is looking to raise £350k and we are working on their pitch deck at the moment.

And we have started working with a cloud service provider, which is right up my street and we are creating content for them.

Also we have just completed the third annual survey of UK technology adoption for ServiceteamIT and the results of that will be published shortly.

Update

The biopharma company is now getting their first factory into production and are in discussions about raising funds and licencing their product across the globe. We are very pleased to have been able to get them to them to this stage. As a side project we also created their branding.

The startup looking to raise got into to an incubator and is going great guns. we are still working with them and look forward to providing them with more services going forward. We support their business and probably do a little too much without charging them but we are nice people and so are they!

The new cloud service provider is based in Ghana and targeting the UK market. Ghana has a fantastic untapped talent pool. They are now providing data engineers working on UK projects. They can provide two for the price of one UK based data engineers and they have access to candidates who will go on to work for the likes of Facebook and Google.

And we have been engaged again this year for the fourth annual survey for ServiceTeam IT. This year the focus is around the impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation for UK business.

 

Doogheno growth marketing combines digital marketing best practice, content driven inbound marketing to inform and shape the conversation across all platforms, growth hacking to increase your close rate and solid sales principles updated for the way your customers buy today.
Doogheno has experience across the board of working with technology companies. Set up to bridge the gap between sales and marketing so that you win more business and keep more customers. Many of our team have carried their own sales targets so know the value of great creative marketing. Doogheno isn’t just about making things look good, it’s about filling the sales funnel and driving sales through to a close. We are passionate about growing your business so we don’t mince words, we don’t bluff and guess, we work with you to achieve your strategic business goal. We have opened up opportunities in EMC, Lidl, Legal and General, GSK, Ticketmaster and Vodafone amongst many others for our clients in the past 12 months. 

More Customer Wins

In the last month or so we have started working with some exciting new customers.

They include:

Resilience Energy – a solar energy company that just went through a successful CrowdCube fund raising.

Resilience Energy are releasing and AI platform that helps consumers make the most of their green energy generation services. The innovative platform connects their storage device (battery) and allows them to charge it efficiently and to sell excess power back top the grid.

Reslience Energy are not the first energy company we have worked with but their focus on the renewable energy sector fits firmly with our own ethos.

The Difference Engine – a recruitment company for the tech sector, run by people who have been there and done it themselves.

Their clients are looking for highly specialist skills from their candidates. Machine learning and AI feature high on their list of requirements. Doogheno will be building their audience with these clients by providing highly relevant social media engagement. It might stretch our understanding of Python but we are always up for a challenge.

Woodalls – they supply appliances to the trade.

Woodalls are a long established white goods supplier to the trade and are looking to increase their order volume and win new customers. To us this is a classic B2B sale, where its about the relationship and service but ulimately the commercials have to work.

we are leading with an email campaign to get the opportunity to do the first quote for each customer. Early indcations show a 55% email open rate from cold so we are certain that this will deliver results for them.

SCC – a two billion Euro MSP who has flown under the radar for far too long.

We have been engaged to run a number of campaigns including one for HPE and Veritas. The focus in new logo sales and focuses on social selling. This includes ghost writing LinkedIn articles, social media engagement and a LinkedIn outreach campaign.

Doogheno growth marketing combines digital marketing best practice, content driven inbound marketing to inform and shape the conversation across all platforms, growth hacking to increase your close rate and solid sales principles updated for the way your customers buy today.
Doogheno has experience across the board of working with technology companies. Set up to bridge the gap between sales and marketing so that you win more business and keep more customers. Many of our team have carried their own sales targets so know the value of great creative marketing. Doogheno isn’t just about making things look good, it’s about filling the sales funnel and driving sales through to a close. We are passionate about growing your business so we don’t mince words, we don’t bluff and guess, we work with you to achieve your strategic business goal. We have opened up opportunities in EMC, Lidl, Legal and General, GSK, Ticketmaster and Vodafone amongst many others for our clients in the past 12 months.