A Microsoft Silver Partner competency is one of the ways you can certify your company to differentiate yourself from competition, and to let potential clients know that you meet a high-standard of technical performance, service quality & customer care, so much so that it was acknowledged by Microsoft.
So, whether you are already a Microsoft silver partner, or you seek to obtain a silver competency for your firm, or you just saw the certification displayed on a service provider’s website and you want to know more about it, then keep on reading, I’ll be answering the most common questions people ask about the MS Silver Partnership.
What is a Microsoft Silver Partner?
A Microsoft Silver Partner is a firm that provides Microsoft-related products or services while taking part in the Microsoft Partners Network, and who was awarded the Silver Certification on one of the Microsoft competencies after achieving a few requirements and milestones in terms of training, performance, quality of service & customer care.
It is one of the ways Microsoft acknowledges distinguished firms among their partners’ network, along with the gold certification that is the highest competency-level achievable for MS partners. They both come with a slew of benefits and advantages exclusive to the partners that achieved their requirements.
The hierarchy of Microsoft Partner levels goes like this: regular MPN member, then Silver Partners (~ top 5%), then Gold Partners (~ top 1%).
Please note that regular members have the options to purchase the Action Pack subscription to get some of the benefits before they even qualify for a certification, but Action Pack isn’t a competency-level, nor is it a certification for your firm, it’s just a package of Microsoft software, cloud credits, and resources worth thousand of dollars annually, that MPN regular members can get for just 475$ a year.
Microsoft Silver Partner Benefits & Advantages – Are They Worth the Cost / Fee?
For an annual fee of $1,670 USD, Microsoft Silver Partners receive the following advantages and benefits (after they fulfill the silver requirements on a competency of course):
- Software benefits in the form of IUR (Internal-Use-Rights) licenses of Microsoft products (for internal use, demos and POCs)
- MS Azure Cloud Benefits, in addition to Visual Studio subscriptions and other Microsoft cloud services (Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, …and more) depending on your firms competencies
- Direct connection & business opportunities with Microsoft
- Ability to guarantee an always up to date workforce to your customers (because of annual Microsoft audits, before any renewal of silver competencies)
- Continuous Microsoft customer support, news & updates
- Stronger partner network connections (multiple networking opportunities)
- Smarter training tools & programs
- Exclusive access to silver partner resources (training and Go-To-Market services, sales & marketing materials)
- Silver Certification logos to differentiate your firm from competition, and signal that you are among the best 5% of Microsoft Partners
As for whether these benefits are worth the cost / price, that is really up to each individual company to decide, just know that the majority of Microsoft Silver Partners renew their certification each year, so it’s clearly beneficial in most cases, otherwise the renewal percentage would be very low.
Microsoft Silver Partner Competency Requirements
The requirements for becoming a Microsoft Certified Silver Partner are:
- Being a member of the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN)
- Your firm must meet training & performance requirements depending on the competency you wish to get silver-certified on
- At least Two Microsoft Certified Professionals in your firm – the specific certifications vary from competency to another
- A licensing overview assessment
- A sales & marketing competency assessment
- Paying an annual fee of $1,670 (additional taxes and fees may apply)
To check the list of available Microsoft Competencies, and the specific requirement to get certified on each one of them, you can visit Microsoft Competencies page.
How To Become a Microsoft Silver Partner?
Here are the steps for becoming a Microsoft Silver Partner:
- Sign up for MPN (Microsoft Partners Network) -if you haven’t already-, it’s free
- (Optional) if you need software licenses & cloud benefits for internal use (demos/PoCs), before you even fulfill the requirements in the next step, you can purchase the Action Pack Subscription (thousands of USD worth of benefits for just $475/year)
- Achieve the silver requirements for your specific competencies as mentioned above (you can find them here as well)
- Pass the licenses assessment, and the sales & marketing assessments
- Pay the silver certification fee ($1670 USD, additional fees & taxes may apply)
Microsoft Partners Silver vs Gold – What Are The Differences?
The main differences between Microsoft Silver Partner and Gold Partners:
- The Gold certification is more exclusive, only the top 1% of all Microsoft Partners get it, compared to the top 5% for the silver competencies
- The number of required Microsoft-certified professionals in your firm: gold requires 4, while silver only 2
- Gold competencies require higher performance, training and sales KPIs and references
- The fee: Gold is $4.730 vs Silver is $1.670
Microsoft Partner Silver To Gold Upgrade – Going up the MPN Ladder
Here are the rules for upgrading from Microsoft Silver Partner to gold: when you attain a gold competency for the first time during the membership year, you are upgraded (following payment of required program fees) to receive gold core benefits and gold competency-specific benefits for the upgraded competency.
If you attain a gold competency after first attaining a silver competency within the same year, then Microsoft offers you -25% of the gold fee for you to upgrade from silver to gold. But if you take this offer, then Microsoft won’t refund you on the silver fee even if you paid it only a few weeks prior to you taking the upgrade offer.
Although some members have reported that they achieved gold competencies shortly after achieving the silver ones, and they still had to pay the full gold fee, in this case you have to ask Microsoft for a refund, but keep in mind that refunds are only for people who meet the following requirements:
- The payment of the gold fee was made within the last 30 days, and at least 90 days before your annual renewal period, and you didn’t use the -25% offer on the gold fee
- All gold benefits must not be activated / used and the keys must not be viewed (even if they are not activated); otherwise the request will be denied
- Tax refund for tax exempt partners
How To Find Microsoft Silver Partners Near Me / In My Area?
To find a Microsoft Silver partner near you in your country , city or area, you need to apply the following steps:
2- Fill out that information in the search forms (your location, size of your organization, MS product or service you are looking for): in the screenshot above, I selected (New York, US ; 51 – 250 employees ; Microsoft 365)
3- Once you get the results, you can apply additional filters, such as -in our case- filter by partners with competencies only
4- you’ll get the Microsoft certified partners (both silver and gold) in your area who specialize in that product or service **, the silver ones have the white badge, and the gold ones have a copper / gold badge.
** Please keep in mind that there are Microsoft Partners out there who are not listed on that page, since each partner has the ability to disable their listing, and many do, for various reasons: some don’t want to be spammed, and some have enough work to keep them busy, they are not interested in getting new clients in the short term…etc.
Well, I hope this answer most of you questions about the Microsoft Silver Partnership, for more information on MPN offers, you can check my article on the Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions, and the Microsoft Gold Partners. You can also check the other articles on this site about Microsoft in general and its solutions & services.