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Marketing is built on alliances.
Alliances internally with every single part of the company.
And externally — both upstream and downstream.
While I was at Microsoft Inspire in Las Vegas, I got to interview Angela Jajko, Microsoft Partner Alliance Lead, and Rachel Beckler, Director of Marketing — both at Taos, a Microsoft MSP partner.
First, we admired the conference itself — 30,000 people all in one place (and 10,000 partners).
It was Angela and Rachel’s first time at the conference, and they found it educational and engaging.
“I feel like I'm meeting new partners every minute,” Angela said.
There were amazing conversations everywhere because the Microsoft ecosystem is just that huge.
How Their Roles Fit in the Ecosystem
Angela manages the Microsoft relationship for Taos and makes sure that everybody on her team at Taos has the information that they need.
Which is a lot of information? “It is an impressive amount,” Angela said. “The most important thing for my role is to distill all that information out.”
She verifies that her director of alliances has everything that she needs without having to be on every single call and read every single email that comes through.
Rachel manages the corporate marketing group, all of the demand and the growth element of our business as well as the alliance.
“I have a large view of what happens and what I call the Front of the House — everything from marketing to presales all the way through the customer experience and journey,” Rachel said
“What I love about what Microsoft brings to the table is the amount of resources that we have from a partnership perspective to know the right people to engage at different organizations so that we can help them operate,” she added
Angela observed that Rachel doesn’t sleep. And Rachel called Angela the team’s quarterback who keeps everyone in line.
Their roles obviously rely on having a strong trust-based relationship, which enables them to navigate the ins and outs of alliances.
The Mix of Alliances in Marketing
“What it does is create a synergy right from the very moment that we start engaging with our partnership. One cannot function without the other,” Rachel said.
“Angela has the challenge of wearing both a marketing sales and administrator hat all in one. And it allows me to be able to come in right from that very moment and build out the strategy from the beginning,” she explained.
Not just from messaging but all of the internal operations that go into being a successful partner, and then from there, bringing it through the rest of the sales pipeline.
Angela’s job is to work jointly with the sales organization to connect both Microsoft, our customers, and the Taos sales executives all together.
Then, Rachel gets to have full visibility and transparency over to what our customer's engagement looks like from the very first moment.
“It's just a match made in heaven to have alliances and the corporate marketing group all in one team rather than coming at it from two separate instances,” Rachel said.
The great thing about marketing is being in charge of what happens at the very beginning of that funnel and that engagement, but at the same time being a partner with every single subset of the business.
Alliance and sales, yes, but also HR and recruiting and finance. Marketing collaborates across the entire organization.
“I've also managed the certifications process to make sure that our employees are getting all of the Microsoft certifications and that our companies are learning the competencies that we can,” Angela said.
This alliance and this internal pursuit of excellence? Golden.
Becoming a Better Alliance
In overseeing the information flow, Angela makes sure that their consultants and team are adding as many certifications to their belt as possible.
It’s part of the marketing strategy, to be able to say that they have a ton of certified Microsoft professionals on board.
“They have all of these skills, and it's proven. So that's something that we can offer to our clients as well,” Angela said.
Not to mention the retention and growth opportunity for consultants and technical teams
“We run certification challenges with prizes, and we make it fun,” Angela said. “It supports the growth of what we can do within Microsoft and for our customers at the same time, and it builds long-lasting relationships with our employees as well.”
Taos has been a Microsoft partner for about two years.
“We've had some really fabulous clients, and we've done some amazing things,” Angela said
The alliance has generated a lot of opportunities within Taos.
Her team’s Microsoft experts have a depth of knowledge that allows them to execute all kinds of opportunities for clients. “The things that we've been able to do, we want to get out to market and show more clients,” she said.
The Future of the Alliance
As far as the conference itself, Rachel and Angela were excited to participate in more meetings with Microsoft folks and on the partnership side.
“We continue to build those relationships. I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can all do together,” Angela said.
“This conference really symbolizes the moment of momentum,” Rachel said. “We've been very technology-first, Microsoft-first to our customers, and now it's time for us to tell the world all about it.”
Taking all the information they can about what they can learn and how they can improve is Angela and Rachel’s next goal.
Getting everything on Azure, building focused software groups, and becoming the comprehensive partner is next.
“I'm excited to see where it all goes with the Azure side of our world in the next three to six months,” Rachel said.