5 things I learned about digital networking from attending Microsoft Inspire


Using these simple tips will guarantee more leads than face-to-face experiences.

The inaugural 40,000 partner and employee conference, Microsoft Inspire & Ready, is a flagship networking event on every channel partner’s calendar. We count on this event to make new connections, build our Microsoft network, and get quality time with existing clients and stakeholders. With the announcement of an all-virtual event, sure, the content is similar, the core-notes are still happening…but what about the networking?

While our team at Transcends was skeptical at first, we were actually blown away with the results that a focused and deliberate approach can deliver.

So what is this approach? Here are our hard won tips that guarantee to get you ample leads for your efforts:

  • Act like it’s the real deal. Block the virtual conference time in your calendar and do not schedule other meetings. Be fully present, build your schedule in advance, and have goals set for what you want to achieve. Okay, I know…this one is pretty basic.
  • Your dating business profile. Make it public, add a professional & inviting photo, and have a keyword rich bio that details what you do and who you’re looking to connect with. Be clear. Remember – most people will discover you by searching words related to what you do. For us, these keywords include “marketing”, “Go-To-Market” and “Microsoft partnerships”. With over 65,000 public profiles on Microsoft Inspire this year, it’s important to stand out.  
  • Maximize your reach. The Connection Zone ‘attendee networking’ portal on the Microsoft Inspire website allows you to send 20 messages every 24 hours. Warning – your 20 messages including both new reach outs AND responses in running chats. Hopefully, Microsoft addresses this shortcoming for future events. Send your full number of messages each day …BUT ensure you also follow the next tip.
  • Personalize every message. Don’t focus on selling your product or service, but rather a genuine connection to learn and do more together. “Ask for money, get advice. Ask for advice, get money twice.” Look at their LinkedIn profile, understand something unique about their business, etc. Show that you care. You wouldn’t spam someone face-to-face, so don’t do it online.  
  • Participate on social. Join the conference hashtag, in this case, #MSInspire. When someone responds to you in the Connection Zone, transition the conversation to LinkedIn.
Ashleigh Vogstad – CEO, Transcends
 We have also extensively covered our virtual Inspire experience here and here.

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