- Larry Gregory
Microsoft Co-Sell Update
This week marks the 6 year anniversary for Competegy! Highlights include 8 Microsoft Partner of the Year awards, 2 Tech Company to Watch awards, and a diverse mix of clients. Competegy was also recently accepted as a Microsoft vendor.
Partnering with Microsoft
Microsoft has taken longer than usual to get the co-sell wheels moving this fiscal year, but they are rolling now! There were significant organizational changes including restructuring the US districts into 8 regions, adding industry headcount, and implementing the One Commercial Partner model. At last partner marketing budgets are defined and people have found their seat. Let the co-selling begin!
Meanwhile, the Microsoft event machine has been at full steam. In July, we had Microsoft Inspire (formerly WPC), Microsoft Ready (formerly MGX), and the US Public Sector Kickoff (ISU). Ignite (formerly TechEd) and Envision conferences were in September, along with a series of ISV Co-Sell days throughout the US.
Last month, Microsoft held their US internal sales kickoff (Digital Transformation Academy). This replaced the individual US district kickoffs from the past. At the event, they reinforced their new Challenger Sales Model and everyone has come back, ready to drive business.
The Challenger Sales Model
It behooves partners to understand the Challenger Sales Model so you can be positioned in context of Microsoft sales messaging, particularly in context of their Solution Map scenarios. In addition, the model is good sales methodology for your own internal use.
In essence, the Challenger Sales Model is about knowing enough about the customer and their industry to relate to them at an emotional level, bringing insight that challenges their assumptions and leads them to a conclusion that aligns with your solution. The key elements are as follows:
Know the customer’s business well enough to relate to their challenges
Bring a new perspective on a problem they are likely to have
Support your position with data (e.g., the financial implications of inaction)
Personalize the impact of the issue so that the customer feels it
Paint the vision of a better way (skewed to your capabilities)
Explain how your solution is the superior match for their needs
A related sales messaging technique I find compelling is Simon Sinek’s golden circle TED talk from 2009. In it, he explains leading with “why” you offer solutions is more compelling than the traditional “what” and “how” approach most companies deliver. For example, it is more compelling for Microsoft to lead with a Digital Transformation message to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” than to explain how new features of Office 365 will make your teams more productive.
How might your own product/service positioning change if you led with “why”?
Actions for Managed Partners
If you are a Managed Co-Sell partner, you should have received marketing funding/resources by now. Put those funds to work over the next 4-5 months (Microsoft gets uncomfortable with calendar year Q2 campaigns because they need to have funds fully spent before the end of their fiscal year).
Evangelize your company to Microsoft so they know to co-sell with you. Ensure you are properly profiled in the OCP Catalog and have a productive Partner Sales Connect leads triage process. Lastly, tap into Microsoft account and industry team knowledge to shorten your sales cycle and gain visibility into new opportunities.