AMI has extensive coverage in studying SMB cloud needs and purchasing behavior across 25 countries. A universal theme we have seen is the desire for integrated solutions to be delivered in a highly consumable manner. One vendor that clearly understands this is Microsoft. Earlier this month, I was at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto and I had the opportunity to sit in on a number of breakout sessions. One of the discussions that really caught my attention was regarding the top resources that Microsoft offers its partners to help drive SMB sales of Office365.
Elaine Sher, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Office365 outlined 5 key resources that Microsoft has developed:
- Telesales Discussion Guides – Essentially, these are simple scenario based pitches to target SMB end users. The script outlines various scenarios that may occur when partners are making pitches to customers and they can be used to train internal sales teams as well.
- Webinar-in-a-Box – In order to take advantage of the increasing popularity of online demos and webinars, Microsoft has created an entire series of webinars for partners to present to prospective customers. Each webinar targets one of five industries–Real Estate, Professional Services, Construction, Legal, and Healthcare.
- Web Syndication Content - These are a variety of banners that partners can post on their websites, which provide direct links to a micro-site hosted by Microsoft. The site contains the most up-to-date content and information regarding Office365. This way, partners will not have to worry about constantly updating their websites.
- Case Study/Compete Messaging – These are quick, two-page summaries providing examples of satisfied customers to include wins over other integrated productivity suites (Read: Google). Again, the content within these case study documents are regularly updated with the most relevant information.
- CRM Online & Office365 Bundle – Microsoft is offering a bundle to sell both Dynamics CRM and Office365 together. Additionally, they have created specific messaging frameworks to target either TDMs or BDMs–generally the key decision makers within SMBs.
Microsoft refers to the 5 key resources above as the Office365 BEST Campaign. BEST stands for Below the line, End-to-end guidance, SMB focused, and Through partner execution. All of the materials can be accessed online through Microsoft’s ready-to-go site. The materials are currently only available in English, but Microsoft plans to add more languages soon.
Overall, I think the BEST Campaign is a great way for partners to take advantage of the sizable opportunity that SMBs present within the productivity space. AMI estimates there are about 3 million SMBs who are interested in procuring software as a service and unified communication solutions. Futhermore, I think the most attractive aspect of the campaign is the bundling of Dynamics with Office365. Again, our research suggests that one of the most popular cloud bundles among SMBs include unified communication and customer relationship management software. Another thing to note, is that the specific targeted messaging that partners have to sell these bundles are for business decision makers (BDM) and technical decision makers (TDM) within SMBs. However, most SMBs lack full time IT staff or TDMs, so perhaps it would be a wise strategy for partners to devote extra resources to targeting the BDMs instead.
- Rohan Bose, Associate