Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 report

Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 – Report released today

  • The 2019/2020 Top 50 Microsoft Partners have been announced!
  • Come by stand #616 at Inspire in Las Vegas for your free copy or keep reading to download it now

The highly anticipated date is upon us. The fifth edition of the Microsoft Partner Digital Marketing Excellence Top 50 Report is here! Would you like to know how your company fared? Are you interested in discovering who has come out on top of this year’s highly competitive rankings?

If the resounding answer is yes, then you’ll need to get a copy of the report!

Now, there are two ways to do this. You can either download a free copy of the report here, or you can pick up a hard copy at the Microsoft Inspire event in Las Vegas, NV.

If you are attending Microsoft Inspire this year, why not swing by stand #616 and say hello? The Fifty Five and Five team will be there, handing out the report and letting you know the latest marketing insights from across the Microsoft Partner Network.

We’re more than happy to chat with you about our key findings, the method behind our rankings and why we believe digital marketing is so key for today’s business success.

 

What is the Top 50 Digital Marketing Excellence Report – and who won it this year?

Each year we rank the digital marketing efforts of Microsoft Partners and publish an extensive report that celebrates the best marketing in the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

As the only report of its kind, the Top 50 Microsoft Partners 2019/2020 analyses and ranks thousands of Microsoft Partners based on their blogging output, website quality and social media engagement.

Here at Fifty Five and Five, we’ve been super busy crunching the data of 24,000 partners. The content team have been profiling the Top 50 partners, outlining how certain companies achieved their spot and noting new entries in the report. Meanwhile, the design team have been working hard on a brand-new look for the report, and the SEO team have been ensuring that content (just like this post!) is being found by readers like you.

For the third year running, Gavriella Schuster (Corporate Vice-President of the One Commercial Partner Organization at Microsoft) has written the foreword to the report. Gavriella cites it as a great resource for partners looking for examples, case studies and marketing best practices from their peers:

“By comparing websites, blogs and social media practices, partners can see how their marketing efforts compare to benchmarks set by the best in the Microsoft Partner Network; how companies like theirs are succeeding and making the most of inbound marketing practices.”

The Top 50 Digital Marketing Excellence Report is much more than a simple ranking list. We encourage Microsoft Partners to use the report as a benchmarking guide; the websites, blogs and social channels of the Top 50 being great examples to follow.

Even better: the report is positively brimming with insights, analysis and interviews to give a full picture of exactly what is required to achieve marketing excellence.

The winner this year?

It’s none other than Sharegate!

Sharegate is a leading provider of cloud managed and migration services. Their place on our list is largely down to their impressive blog score, which was the single highest of any partner surveyed.

“Hitting the top spot in the Top 50 report isn’t new for Sharegate; in fact, they’ve been here before. But after an impressive rebrand and an entirely new website, launched just a few months ago – their return to the top spot will no doubt be even more satisfying.”

Pick up the Top 50 at Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire takes place from the 14th-18th July in Las Vegas. We’ll be there all week at stand #616. Feel free to swing by to say hello to our team and discuss the latest announcements from Microsoft, alongside the latest in digital marketing and – of course – the Top 50 Report.

We highly recommend attending the panel discussion in which our founder Chris Wright will be discussing the secrets to content marketing for Microsoft partners, alongside Jennifer Tomlinson (Sr Manager at Channel Marketing Microsoft), Marc-Andre Fontaine (VP Sales and Marketing at SherWeb) and Paul Hsu (Marketing Director at Nintex).

We are also going to be providing masterclasses at our stand this year. We’ll cover a range of interesting topics, including tips for building landing pages for sign ups and methods for improving your ranking in Google in 2019.

I’m not in the report, what gives?

For the first time, we have used a single platform (the Partner Benchmarking Tool) for testing digital channels. The Digital Marketing Excellence Report lists the top 250 Microsoft Partners based on their website, social, and blogging – which are each weighted to create an overall score. The top 50 get a special mention in the report, as it’s undoubtedly a remarkable achievement.

It’s worth noting, however, that we ranked 24,000 partners this year. This means that any company in the top 250 positions can consider themselves in the top 1% of the Microsoft Partner Network when it comes to marketing!

It also means that if you didn’t feature in the report this year (or even if you dropped out) then you shouldn’t be disheartened. There are only so many places available, and it’s been a hugely competitive year.

If you’d like to see your company appear in next year’s Top 50, now is the time to put in place a great marketing strategy. This year’s report has lots of tips and ideas that you can start using today. Chris Wright, Founder of Fifty Five and Five, says:

“Microsoft partners are improving their digital marketing efforts year on year – to be among the best, you need to take it to the next level. If you’re not in this edition of the Top 50, hopefully we’ll see you in next year’s.”


digital marketing at microsoft inspire

Master the art of Digital Marketing at Microsoft Inspire 2019

  • Come and join our team's masterclasses at Microsoft Inspire.
  • The team will be sharing their expertise on SEO, great marketing tools, building successful landing pages, and more.

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There’s no sector quite as competitive as the IT industry is today. That’s why as a Microsoft Partner you need to find ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd. This is where we believe cutting-edge digital marketing is essential.

With Microsoft Inspire 2019 fast approaching, the team here at Fifty Five and Five have been hard at work preparing research, building presentations and gathering data from the front lines of the marketing world to knock your socks off. And we can’t wait to show you.

Our masterclasses cover a series of subjects that will give your teams the inspiration and know how to up your marketing game.

Over the course of the week, we will be presenting on a series of essential marketing subjects that are very much in line with themes explored within our Top 50 Report (which you can download for free)!

Our masterclasses will take place at our stand (#616) multiple times throughout the week of Inspire—drop by to find out the schedule. Topics include:

Masterclass one: How to rank in Google in 2019

Towards the end of 2018, Google rolled out an important change to their core algorithm. Whilst this update did not impact all websites or content creators, the algorithm changes certainly reflected a shift in the direction that SEO is heading. Whatever your industry, it is now vital that you pay attention if you want to enjoy high website rankings when such changes occur.

With each passing year, the state of play for the SEO industry shifts. In 2019, these changes have become more fundamental than ever, which is why this masterclass will cover the top-ranking factors to consider at present.

Throughout the presentation, our Digital Marketing Executive Enrika will share (and elaborate on!) her 6 best tips for improving your ranking on Google:

  • Creating high quality content
  • Excellent on-page optimisation
  • Creating a secure website
  • Improving user experience
  • Improving website speed
  • Earning high-quality backlinks

Masterclass two: Top marketing tools and why you should use them

Very much in line with our Top 50 Microsoft Partners Digital Marketing Excellence Report, this masterclass will delve into top marketing tools and why you should be using them for your business.

The session will also be delivered by the super knowledgeable Enrika, who will take you through the very tools that we use at Fifty Five and Five to improve our:

  • Social media management
  • Paid media
  • SEO
  • Emails
  • Reporting

Enrika will cover 1 or 2 tools for each element of our digital marketing strategy – highlighting key features along the way.

Masterclass three: The importance of backlinks

A backlink refers to any link from one website to another. There’s often a little confusion around the exact function of backlinks, alongside the distinction between outbound links and backlinks. For this reason, our Account Manager, Mischa, has crafted a masterclass designed to provide clarity and get you up to speed with:

  • What backlinks are
  • Why you need backlinks
  • Where to get backlinks

This masterclass will guide you through actionable steps for improving your backlink usage and show you exactly why their importance should not be underestimated within your digital marketing efforts!

Masterclass four: How to build a landing page for sign-ups

You’re probably already aware that free software trials are a great way of converting leads into customers. In order to maximise sign-ups for a free trial of your product, you will need a killer landing page that engages visitors. Your landing page – in a nutshell – is a form-enabled webpage where prospective customers can sign up for your product or services.

This masterclass will show you exactly how to create a landing page that will encourage visitors to sign up. The session will also take you through what to include on your page and how it should look overall.

Throughout this class, you will learn:

  • Why you need a landing page
  • Why landing pages are tricky to get right
  • What you should include
  • What your landing page should look like
  • How to get started with building your page

Getting your landing page right requires time and effort. In this masterclass, Mischa will endeavour to show you the ropes and help you to create a landing page that converts!


Get the most from your Microsoft Inspire experience with our team’s top tips

  • The Fifty Five and Five team share their Microsoft Inspire experiences and expertise
  • How to prepare for the conference and what to pack
  • Tips for first time attendees and what to look out for

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The long wait for Microsoft Inspire 2019 is almost over. You’ve probably turned your attention to people you want to see, what to cram in your suitcase and figuring out whether you can squeeze a Boyz II Men show into your jam-packed schedule.

Like many of you, this is my first time flying to Microsoft Inspire and I’m diving headfirst into making sure that I’m prepared to make the most out of the experience.

I sat down with some of the ‘Inspire experienced’ members of the Fifty Five and Five team to bring you (and me) some much-needed advice. Read on to hear their favourite bits and top tips to get the most value from this year’s Microsoft Inspire.

Microsoft Inspire is just around the corner. You’ve all been before, so you have an idea of what to expect. But what’s really getting you excited about this year?

Laura: It’s tough to narrow it down to just one thing! I can’t wait to see what new technologies Microsoft and the partners unveil this year. Last year they demonstrated how VR is set to change the way businesses interact with one another and it blew me away. I can’t wait to see what tricks they have hidden up their sleeves this year.

Chris: This year is especially exciting for Fifty Five and Five. We’ve released the highly anticipated fifth edition of our Microsoft Partner Digital Marketing Excellence report. It’s been a busy year and the hard work has paid off. It’s filled with the latest marketing analysis and insights across the entire Microsoft Partner Network, and I’m looking forward to meeting the companies that made it into top 250.

People reading this blog may not have been before. What can they expect?

Paulina: If you can keep your eyes open and don’t have an aching jaw by the end of Microsoft Inspire then you probably haven’t done it right. You get to meet so many people from all over the world and you gain a real holistic view of the Microsoft community.

Laura: Meeting so many people from the community really gives you a chance to feel involved and to make the most out of it you have to really immerse yourself in the experience. 

Chris: On a literal level, be prepared for blistering heat, the welcoming but sometimes overwhelming blast of air con, and the copious amounts of coffee you’ll be drinking. The days are long but incredibly fulfilling.

Stephen and Danny talking about Inspire 2019
Me talking to our Head of Content, Stephen, who will be attending Microsoft Inspire in a few weeks.

Pretend this is your first time attending Microsoft Inspire. What advice would you give yourself?

Stephen: Stock up on sleep before you get there. As much as you can. You’ll be spending so much time networking, checking out conferences and just hanging out on your feet. Forgetting to sleep is a real possibility.

Paulina: Bring a notepad to take notes about the people you meet, it helps to remember who you talked to and what was interesting about that person. And don’t forget to wear comfy shoes since you’ll most likely be on your feet all day. Save the heels for the evenings. 

Chris: I’m doubling down on both of your suggestions. Get plenty of sleep and wear comfy shoes. Stephen and I will save the heels for the evenings.

What should people remember to take with them to Microsoft Inspire?

Laura: Don’t forget to plan ahead with a to-do list. Set reminders for the sessions you think are most relevant to you. So much is going on that it can be easy to lose yourself and miss out. I’ve planned for this year, but I’ve left some time for surprises! There really is so much to do.

Chris: Comfy shoes. I cannot stress how much hard work it is

Stephen: Get your hands on a schedule and a map of the expo hall and read up on the partners and people you’re interested in seeing. Make sure to organise a meeting with them or if they’re exhibiting, find out where their stand is so you can introduce yourself.

We know every year is a massive learning experience. What lessons did you take away from last year’s Microsoft Inspire?

Chris: The biggest thing I learn every year is how massive Microsoft Inspire really is… spatially. It always surprises me just how easy it is to wander around endlessly and getting lost is an absolute certainty. But I’ll agree with everything you’ve all said. Preparation is key. So, plan the sessions you want to visit in advance, figure out which clients you want to meet, and arrange the work you need to get done. Once you arrive, you blink, and it’s over.

Paulina: I’d say turn your introductions into an elevator pitch. Learn how to introduce yourself in 10-20 seconds. It’s really useful to have a concise answer for when you get asked what you do or where you’re from. You can guarantee you’ll repeat your name so much that you’ll get bored of hearing it.

Laura: On a personal level, I really learned to get out of my comfort zone and to get more involved and familiar with Microsoft and the partners. As a marketing expert, my job is to master the best possible ways of marketing our clients' services. That’s not possible without an in-depth knowledge of the technology. Microsoft Inspire is 100% the best place to do that. It’s why I’ve crammed more technical sessions into my plan.

Finally, what are the absolute packing essentials?

Laura: I consider myself a coffee addict, so I’ll be taking coffee, and lots of it. They had great coffee last year but I’m risking nothing and taking my favourite brand. Come and find me at stand #616 if you need a top-quality cup of joe!

Paulina: Take comfortable shoes, a notepad and pen and a copy of the Microsoft Top 50 report!

Stephen: Take a nice big water bottle and some lip balm. Your lips crack like dry sand in all that air conditioning combined with the talking you’re going to do!

Chris: I think you all know what I’m going to say. Comfy shoes!

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The fifth edition of our Microsoft Partners Digital Excellence Top 50 Report will be released at Microsoft Inspire on July 14th. Come and say hello and pick up your hard copy at Microsoft Inspire. You can find us at stand #616. We’d love to meet you.

At Fifty Five and Five, we’re experts in creating professional-level marketing materials for your B2B technology business, including video marketing, animations, blogs and much more. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help your business.


Fifty Five and Five is expanding to the United States

When I set up Fifty Five and Five, I’d love to say I had a plan. I want to tell you I had a business case, a set of objectives and solid targets. In reality, I had none of those things. But I did have an idea. The idea was that, as a writer, I could help tech companies better tell their stories.  

That idea, and some great clients (many of whom are still with us today), got us going. We quickly become a business – a content agency in fact. We hired writers to craft perfect prose, allowing our clients to communicate more effectively with their customers. We did pretty well and started to grow.  

In those early days I still didn’t really know were Fifty Five and Five was heading. I didn’t know we would quickly add complementary social, paid media and SEO services. I didn’t know we’d soon have our own digital designers, that we would build websites and produce awesome animations and videos.  

I also didn’t know we would change office four times (soon to be five), to house our growing team. A bit of pre-planning on that front would certainly have been helpful, for a whole bunch of reasons now filed as ‘slightly painful and expensive lessons learned’. 

full-service agency  

As we set out becoming a more fully defined digital agency, the idea of a fully formed strategy behind who we would hire, or when, was fanciful. We did it on gut instinct and by meeting great people.  

Weve hired all sorts of employees over the past five years, and I learn something new from them every day. Our staff turnover is also incredibly low, and even those who have left are still friends of the business – something that makes me very proud. We have people of all age ranges, levels of experience, nationality, skills and personalities. The mix works, for us and our clients. 

Fifty Five and Five team

It is only in the last few years that I started to define exactly the areas of the business that I wanted to grow, and how I wanted to grow them. Finally, a plan was forming. Right now, one month into our new financial year, I can tell you our revenue targets, how many people we’re looking to hire, and a whole bunch of metrics that I track and measure.  

It is only as you mature as a business that you can really begin to focus on these kinds of things. You need to build a layer of support around you (people like my PA, our accountants and law firm, the great mentors I’ve been able to work with) that gives you the space to breathe and plan a bit more. The early days are just too busy for all that.  

Finding our path  

I don’t think the lack of a clear plan has held us back. Like I say, we had an idea of what we were, and how we wanted to do things. And we ran with it.  I suspect most early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs have a similar way, when theyre building a new company, of finding the best path. 

But back to the present day. Now we do have a plan, a strategy, and we think seriously about how to better serve our current and future clients. One thing that has been on my wish list for a couple of years was to open an office in the US. For a while now 50% of our revenue has come from outside the UK, the majority of this from the US and Canada. So, in many ways an office outside of London was inevitable.  

It formally became part of our business plan last year, where it fell by the wayside for a bit. Other things got in the way, not least launching our marketing assessment tool with Microsoft (oh and doubling our headcount here in the UK!).  

A truly global step  

I am really proud to announce today that our US office opens on the 28th of May 2019. We have the bricks and mortar sorted – in sunny Bellevue, Seattle. Fifty Five and Five Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fifty Five and Five Ltd, incorporated in Washington State by our lovely new US financial services team, and our various trademarks now apply in the States. 

Fifty Five and Five Bellevue, Seattle

But most important of allwe have the beginnings of a great team of employees ready to start work in Seattle. I’ll update over the next weeks and months as the team falls into place, and I can announce names. We are also hiring so if youre looking to join a leading digital agency in the Seattle region, get in touch. 

This is a big deal for Fifty Five and Five. The agency started in a basement five years ago with not much of a plan (we covered that remember?). Now were fulfilling our vision of becoming a truly global digital agency for the modern world. I look forward to sharing the rest of the journey with you 

Oh, and if you want to come and see us in Seattle for a coffee or some digital marketing expertise, please let me know. 

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