Thursday, June 14, 2007

Is June the end of SBSC enrolment?

Today the astute eyes of James Barrett
noticed the following in the fine print on
MS's partner pages
and once shared, it raised my eyebrows too.

Small Business Specialist Community Program Enhancements

Note: To ensure your enrollment in the Small Business Specialist Community program, you must meet program requirements by June 13, 2007.

Good news is that apparently it is the end of a grace period for those that have not gone the full mile (some might criticize 20' and I tend to agree but that is for another post). Here is the wonderful Paige Boesen's clarification on this date's meaning.


This website update has to do with the non-compliance initiative – SBSC partners were previously enrolled on an "honor system" and system checks indicated that a number of companies participating in the program still needed to complete their MCP exam or sales assessment.  Additionally, based on an upgrade of the Partner Membership Center and a change to multi-location reporting for SBSC, one office might be compliant, but another might be in a situation where they need to complete these requirements to keep the entire company active in the SBSC program.


Affected partners received e-mails (sample attached) for the past few months explaining their specific situation and providing resources available to assist them with these scenarios, and as of the deadline this week – if action wasn't taken, SBSC status will be lost.  However, my team is still "at the ready" to address partners that want to take action at this stage, and we can ensure maintenance of SBSC status based on our guidance.  The best team to work with is the SBSC Experts, via e-mail or telephone (live humans are available ).  Here's their contact info – and it is also included in the e-mail:


A few blogs were posted about this initiative:





James said...

Well being James I guess it's good form to be the first comment. ;)

MS in my opinion did a very poor job of presenting the changes to Partners. Emails were sent out to Partner's notifying them they were no longer SBSC's long before any notice of change was made to ANY Partner site, Public site or Newsgroup (Public, Private or SBSC). We got one of those first emails along with others in the Yahoo SBSY2k group and of course once flooding MS with emails they sent out "whoops" emails and finally made notice of the upcoming changes.

I would also add that the post itself on the Partner website is very poorly written as it says nothing about this relating to the changes and would leave most to question if SBSC was a closed end program. Also as a side note check out the new "exclusive" group that doesn't have to meet these new requirements.

Lastly I will add as a personal note that it appears these changes and database "cleaning" has resulted in incorrect data. I say this because in the past 6 weeks I have sent at least one email a week requesting our SBSC Add On Kit from the MAPS group which most Partners got in early May. This week I was told in an email from our TPAM we do not qualify for the kit because we became SBSC after the Jan. 07 cut off yet the Partner Services groups said it was because we have not met all the qualification. So it would appear MS cannot agree on if we are or if we are not SBSC. We were in fact SBSC's in DECEMBER 2005, one of the very early on SBSC's and of course our Membership shows us as such! I have since followed up with multiple MS contacts all of which said they would get to the bottom of this however it's been two days with no answers.

Sorry I'm just not being impressed and if we are getting the short stick because I'm a bit vocal about things well guys that's not going to change.

Mark said...

Please James, how do you really feel? ;-) Actually I appreciate your feedback and am glad you are willing to be vocal about it.

You are right. It's obvious to all that the SBSC program is a work in progress and still in its early stages for defining itself, its requirements and ultimately its value to many of us and the small business we serve. While I clearly don't believe it is where it needs to be in many ways, I believe in its purpose and goals thus my decision to stand behind it. With feedback and patience from community members like you we can hopefully make this an amazingly successful program for all and not just another logo that gets us free swag.

I’ve make some folks at the top of the SBSC program aware of your situation and let’s hope they can learn from it and change what needs changing (the true test of comittement).