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  • Luke Debono

Building Your Network to Accelerate Your Growth

This short guide offers my top five tips to help you focus on making sure you effectively leverage the networking opportunities at Microsoft Inspire to accelerate your growth


One of the most appealing aspects of Microsoft Inspire has always been the ability to make connections that could lead to profitable new partnership opportunities. With this year’s conference set to host 40,000 people thanks to the incorporation of Microsoft Ready, partners and employees have more opportunities than ever before to network together – and win together. As exciting as the scale of the new conference is, it presents a couple of challenges: deciding who you want to speak to, then figuring out how you’re going to find them!


This short guide offers my top five tips to help you focus on making sure you effectively leverage the networking opportunities at Microsoft Inspire to accelerate your growth


1. We all know that time really is money

Whether its Microsoft Inspire or another industry event, the first thing to remember is that your time is incredibly valuable - you can only spend it once! Having personally attended many Microsoft Worldwide conferences, I know first-hand how easy it is to be awe-struck by the scale and side-tracked by meeting requests. Meanwhile, your opportunity is irreversibly being diluted.


A meeting with the GM will give you a fantastic sense of achievement but a meeting with an Azure sales specialist could accelerate the profitability of your cloud practice.

If you’re attending alone, then be extremely choosey about who you want to meet – and don’t just go for the obvious targets. A meeting with the GM will give you a fantastic sense of achievement but a meeting with an Azure sales specialist could accelerate the profitability of your cloud practice.


If more than one person from your business is attending, resist the urge to meet en masse. Instead, think about how you can ‘divide and conquer’ in spreading your message.


For meetings with other partners, consider prioritising the guys that are in other states / countries. You can see the local folks at the celebration events or when you return.


2. Treat the conference as a sales opportunity

You wouldn’t go in to a customer unprepared, so put in the work before you go. Here’s five things you should do in advance:

  • Identify any gaps you have in your growth plan and decide what kind of partner or Microsoft employee connection could help you (i.e.: do you need a strategic partnership in another territory or to connect with a Microsoft licensing specialist?)

  • Leverage the networking tool

  • Be clear on what you must achieve and what topics / partnerships you’d just like to explore

  • Set up meetings before you go

  • Do your research and have a list of questions or at least one talking point ready

3. Give yourself a break!

I don’t need to remind any Australian about wide open spaces but bear in mind that Vegas is a big place with little signage, no windows and confusing entrances / exits. Anyone that’s visited Vegas will know a lot of the buildings are built with the sole purpose of encouraging people to stay put – not traverse between meeting rooms. Make sure you allow lots of time to get between locations and don’t book yourself in back to back meetings.


And when you do really need a break, the best place to head for will be the Australian Lounge – there you’ll find other Australian partners, Microsoft employees who are ready to help and the incredibleresults drop in area. It’s the perfect place to take stock, ask questions and make plans.


4. There’s still a place for business cards

You might think with a networking tool for meetings, a conference app and LinkedIn there’s no need to take cards. However, I’ve found the opposite to be true – business cards work great if you’ve bumped into someone unexpectedly or only have a few moments to talk. They’re also brilliant for writing a couple of lines on the back of to prompt you on follow up actions or the topics you discussed. And whilst I’m sure we’ll all pack the right travel adaptor, it’s comforting to carry something useful that never runs out of charge.


5. Plan your follow up

It’s very tempting when you’ve returned from a conference like Inspire to take your foot off the gas and give yourself a week to catch up on business (and life in general). It’s also tempting to fire a generic email to everyone that you’ve met so that you can cross it off your ‘to-do’ list. My recommendation instead is to use the journey home to go through the cards, contacts and connections and segment them into:

  • Strategic opportunity

  • Tactical opportunity

  • Handy to know

From there you can prioritise who to contact personally, who in the team can follow up on your behalf, and how soon you need to get in touch.

Come and find us!

Want to check-in with incredibleresults on how well you’re leveraging the conference to accelerate your growth while you’re there? We’ll be proudly hosting the Australian Pre-Day as well as a drop-in area in the Australian Lounge. If you’d rather not leave our meeting to chance, get in touch.

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