A partner who is providing a high level of service will have no risk of losing a customer that talks with other customers, in fact they are likely to pick up new customers from the recommendations. I think a partner who hides the User Group community from their customers is only going to get a negative response when the customer eventually learns how many resources are really “out there”.
IMHYDAO (In My Humble Yet Deadly Accurate Opinion), Partners have the most direct effect on the growth of GPUG membership. In Wisconsin, the number of GPUG members has increased from about 300 in 2015 to nearly 800 today… and I think that our excellent group of Partners has been instrumental in that growth.
This got me thinking: is David’s experience in Australia the rule or the exception? He mentioned something we all know: it’s nigh onto impossible to get stats on the number or names of Dynamics GP customers in a particular area. Microsoft doesn’t let us know and the Partners don’t reveal their customer lists. I understand the desire to keep that information proprietary; but for us Chapter Leaders, it makes growing our Chapters problematic.
That is, if the Partners don’t tell their customers about GPUG, then the customers can generally only find out about it through web searches for solutions to problems. Then they’ll see links to GPUG Forum discussions, and they may be curious enough to look into membership.
Our “job” as Chapter Leaders is made easier when Partners promote GPUG and the local Chapters. Yes, the customers have to shell out annual dues; but you know how inexpensive that really is. It’s the Partners who can influence their GP customers the most to join GPUG. We as Chapter Leaders are pretty much on the sidelines. We can provide regular content at our meetings, but looking for new members is mostly out of our reach.
Doing any kind of outreach takes time. But we’ve got GPUG Summit (OK, OK… the User Group Summit!) coming up, and many of our Partners will be there in the Expo Hall and making presentations. I intend to seek out every one of our local Partners to ask them how they promote GPUG and recommend that they do so if they don’t. I also intend to ask as many Wisconsinite GPUGgers as I can 1) who their Partners are, and 2) how they learned about GPUG in the first place. I would hope that the knowledge gained will help the Wisconsin Chapters continue to grow.
Maybe you could do the same with Partners and GPUG members from your state that are attending Summit! Let me know what your experience has been: is it like David Musgrave’s; or are the Partners in your area hip to GPUG?