If you're familiar with the old process of becoming a Salesforce Partner, then you understand that it's not a rapid procedure, nor was it one that was especially clear as far as steps to take, things to do, or people to contact. Without a specialist on your side the process could be drawn out over weeks, or even months, with no clear idea what your next step was until the current step was done.
Was it worth it? Of course. Was it painless.... not so much.