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“Would you like fries with that?”

I have to admit that I’m a big admirer of the McDonalds fast food franchise.  But, before I go any further, let me qualify that.  In moderation there’s nothing wrong with a cheeky Big Mac and fries; however my admiration for the company stems from the fact that someone had the idea to put a burger, fries, drink and a toy in a box, and call it a “Happy Meal”.  The “Happy Meal” generates excitement to kids the world over (mine included) about a trip to the “golden arches” – dragging their reluctant parents in tow.  In my book, Ronald and his team are marketing geniuses!iStock_000015966902XSmall

If there were no limits

In my last blog post, I talked about how it’s possible to enjoy success through partners by delivering highly repeatable add-on solutions that can be sold over and over.  One of the key challenges faced by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), however is that we work within certain constraints, the key one being that our marketing budgets have quite a few digits less than giants like McDonalds or Microsoft.

Yet it’s incumbent upon us as suppliers to educate end users about how our solutions can save them money or make their business more effective.  Without the deep pockets of a Microsoft, and with the average margin per sale being substantially lower than the solution it is a bolt-on for, it’s a difficult challenge for an ISV to create mainstream customer awareness. But by working with the right partners, we don’t always have to.

When 1+1=3

Take your typical Microsoft Dynamics ERP supplier.  Fundamentally, their core business is supplying NAV licenses, but more importantly, providing the professional services necessary to turn that software into business value for their customers.  However many customers’ IT needs extend much further than ERP (and it’s also possible for ERP to be consumed by others within the business), so many Dynamics  partners have adopted Dynamics CRM and are beginning to adopt Office 365 to meet these needs.

In other words, they’ve figured out that there is business value for their customers in offering extended ERP or to increase the attractiveness of their overall proposition to new prospects.  This in turn, differentiates their offering from their competitors, but also by working with a single supplier - Microsoft in this case - there is a familiarity across the product families, the technology, the style of engagement, the culture, etc.

Our partnerships are no different.  As the supplier of Zetadocs Express, we were chosen by Microsoft to supply NAV’s document management module.  We maintain a product development roadmap that ensures we support Microsoft platforms within 90 days of their general availability.  And our products are Certified for Microsoft Dynamics (CfMD), meaning they meet Microsoft’s highest quality standards for a third party solution.

Critically, our solutions are complementary to NAV and provide a key integration piece between NAV and Microsoft Office and Office 365, giving partners the ability to offer customers innovative solutions that combine best of breed products.  I don’t see our products as third party add-ons, I see them as part of NAV – today and in the future.  The evidence is there when I look at how some of our most successful partners supply Zetadocs, such as Abecon in the Netherlands and Prodware in the UK. I don’t see them asking customers if they are interested in “document management”, I see them asking “do you want fries with that?”

In my next blog post, I’ll talk about how Equisys engages with partners to support them at each stage of the sales process, ensuring the highest standards of customer satisfaction can be achieved, effectively and cost effectively.

 

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