Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Last month at Microsoft Inspire we had the chance to chat with Bailey Cahill. She leads Global Cloud Alliances at Ensono, “the largest Microsoft partner you’ve probably never heard of.”
She came on the latest episode of the Alliance Aces podcast to talk about what it’s like to work with Microsoft and to share her tips for successfully managing that alliance.
Here’s what she had to say.
All about the Ensono-Microsoft alliance
First things first — you’ve may have never heard of Ensono. But they’re actually a key partner to Microsoft.
Ensono is a 50-year-old mainframe company. They started with a company called AxiumIT and through acquisitions became who they are today. They have a unique value prop with Microsoft:
Ensono has about 200 large enterprise customers who’ve traditionally had mainframe contracts with them. But with digital transformation, these customers want to move to the cloud. So, Ensono developed and enhanced its capabilities and now has one of the best Azure teams.
So today they talk with those enterprise customers, and focus on understanding their pain points and what they need, and help them evolve and digitally transform to Azure.
Bailey’s unique background
So, Bailey has an interesting background because she actually used to work in the inside sales organization at Microsoft.
She started as an account executive selling to state and local government customers in 5 states. And after about 2 years, a partner development manager position opened up. So, she learned a lot about the OCP organization, about the tools, how to use them, the programs, and incentives. Luckily enough, she got to manage GSPs, which is where Ensono comes in.
Later, Ensono was looking for an alliance manager on the US side, so she took the leap.
And as you can imagine, knowing the ins and outs of the Microsoft internal organization for one commercial partner helped her transition into that role a lot faster.
And sure, Microsoft does a great job of trying to make things easy for their partners, but there's still a lot to learn. So, because of her background, Bailey was able to help Ensono just really move quickly as a great partner for Microsoft.
Bailey’s 5 tips for managing alliances well
Alliance managers deserve a round of applause. It’s a difficult role that is all-encompassing and requires that you wear a lot of different hats.
So, what are Bailey’s tips for alliance managers?
Tip #1: Stay organized.
Keep a focus, make a plan, stick to it, and track it month to month.
Tip #2: Be agile. And flexible.
You must be ready to wear any one of those many hats that comes your way. You can’t do everything at once, but you can prioritize to determine the order of tasks.
Tip #3: Use your partner development team — if you have one.
In regards to Microsoft, Bailey uses her partner development team — a lot. She has daily, almost weekly, and monthly cadences with them, checking in, and making sure they're passing along any updates, changes, or new programs that she needs to take advantage of.
If you have a team like this, work closely with them.
Tip #4: Don’t silo yourself.
You don’t need to be the only keeper of the castle. Share what you know with your internal teams. Create webinars or do training. Basically, do whatever you need to do to make your internal teams feel like they're a part of this alliance world, as well.
Tip #5: Be passionate about your partners.
It's really important for your partnership status to show that you're passionate about your partners. You want them to know that you want to keep building on their platform and evolving when they evolve.
We know that managing alliances can be tough. But hopefully, these tips will give you some ideas to make your role a bit easier.