Bull's Eye Awards: Americas Channel Executives of the Year
Training hundreds of thousands of partners on Microsoft Windows 7 in time for the October launch was no small task. But Cynthia "Cindy" Bates, vice president of Microsoft’s U.S. partner strategy, marketing and programs group, rose to the challenge.
A nine-year channel veteran at Microsoft, Bates and her team trained more than 150,000 individual partners from July through October this year, positioning them to best sell and implement Windows 7 solutions and lock in trusted advisor status with their customers. Along the way and in typical fashion, Bates listened and reacted to partner feedback. When partners told her that delivering customer demos of the OS was too complex, for example, Bates and her team developed an online demo site with live hosted virtual machine images, self-running streaming videos and click-through demos for partners to take directly to their customers.
It’s that kind of responsiveness and effective follow-through that has earned Bates accolades among Microsoft’s U.S.-based partners and a Bull’s Eye Award as Contender for Americas Channel Chief of the Year.
Bates has taken a holistic approach to enabling partners, arming them with the appropriate technical training and tools to go to market, then supporting their efforts with appropriate marketing air cover. She launched the BizSpark and WebsiteSpark programs, an on-ramping initiative that provides free software, support and marketing exposure to startup ISVs and Web agencies. She also conceived the Front Runner program, which provides ISVs with free technical tools and support to build on or upgrade their applications to Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and the Windows Azure Platform, and then marketing support to help them drive customer leads.
She is a major proponent of P2P networking and has championed the Microsoft Community Connections initiative whereby partners can leverage Microsoft contacts nationwide to team with both other partners plus industry and business associations. Four thousand partners availed themselves of this networking opportunity last year.
Partner-readiness was a major goal for Bates this year, as Microsoft got set to release an onslaught of new products. Partners will tell you she’s succeeded.