Finding “The Right Person”

Photo via Detective Gadget

(In Stack Ranking Hurts Partners Too, I explained why “the right person” – the individual or team of people at MS whose objectives align with your needs – keeps themself hard to find, intentionally, and promised guidance on how you can find them anyway.)

A discussion on LinkedIn, “Getting run around – NO answers from Microsoft – any suggestions?”, is about trying to add a client company to the list of partners on a web page affiliated with the Microsoft Health Solutions Group. Situations like this come up frequently when dealing with MS, so I’ll use it as an example for finding “the right person”.

A MS participant in the discussion provided some insights specific to that thread – a change in strategy yielding Caradigm, a joint venture by the MS Health Solutions Group with GE Healthcare – then offered, “If you are still stuck, let me know and I’ll help you personally.”

Who made this offer? A “partner engagement manager” from SMS&P, the organization that runs MS’ local sales offices around the world.

TODO: Contact your local MS sales office and ask to talk to the Developer Evangelist or Partner Account Manager who works with ISVs in your area. Ask about upcoming partner briefings and other local events for ISVs.

Another participant identified two MS people on LinkedIn who worked in relevant MS organizations, and suggested contacting them. LinkedIn is a great tool for finding that kind of information.

Let’s step back a moment and imagine your company already participates in the MS program in question, and is already included in that program’s list of partners. Many partners are keen to publicize that kind of affiliation with MS, typically with a press release that includes a quote from some MS person in a relevant role. So let’s explore the companies already on that list of partners, and see if we can find press releases with MS contacts.

Aristos has a notice of a joint webinar with MS in June 2011, with the “Senior Cloud Director for Microsoft’s Health and Life Sciences Division” participating. LinkedIn shows this person is still with MS, and possibly in that same role.

BioClinica’s press release from June 2012 notes they were co-winners of the 2012 Microsoft Life Science Innovation Award, with a quote from the “national managing director, Life Sciences, Microsoft Corporation”, and LinkedIn shows this person is still in that role.

There are two solid leads, MS people in the right roles to work with the right kind of partners.

Returning to the list of partners, at the bottom of the page I noticed a “Community” heading with links to a couple blogs, Microsoft in Health and HealthBlog. The MS people writing those posts are must have at least a passing interest in the community, and therefore partners, or they wouldn’t be blogging; so each is another solid lead.

One more angle – MS evangelists are about the most valuable people in the world for an ISV to know, because evangelists know everyone and everything that’s going on within MS in their field.

TODO: Identify the evangelists focused on the same products and technologies you are, and get connected.

Let’s search for “evangelist health microsoft”. One of Bing’s first hits is “Evangelist Profiles”. Holy camoley, this page is a gold mine! There are several evangelists with “health” in their titles or write-ups. (Note: this page appears to be somewhat out-of-date, as several evangelistswere blogging about different topics than indicated by their profiles here.)

That’s five different ways to identify MS people in relevant roles (in no particular order):

  1. Start a discussion in a relevant forum
  2. Search LinkedIn for current Microsoft employees using appropriate keywords, in this case, “health”
  3. Find press releases by partners like you with quotes from MS people in relevant roles
  4. Read MS blogs on relevant topics and see who from MS is writing the blog posts
  5. Find and connect with the MS evangelist focused on the same things you are

The MS people you identify may not be themselves “the right person”, but they probably know who “the right person” is, or who would know for sure, and can put you in touch with them.

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