Reseller News

Sales force changes will benefit channel: MS

MICROSOFT New Zealand has reorganised the management of its partner account managers and pre-sales specialists. Both teams now fall under a single technology and solutions group banner.

The company is in the process of expanding its pre-sales team and is debunking suggestions that similar moves in the US are a cause of concern for its resellers.

According to recent US news reports, Microsoft has irked resellers in that country by aggressively growing its enterprise sales and services force.

However, Microsoft New Zealand says it is merely increasing pre-sales support for its partners’ benefit.

Richard Booth, technology and solutions group manager at Microsoft New Zealand, says support has improved here since the partner account managers joined his team of pre-sales specialists in April.

The team provides direct management to Microsoft’s top 14 local partners, including Axon, Computerland, Datacom, EDS, Gen-i, Intergen and Hewlett-Packard.

The pre-sales team can now work closer with partners and can be more adaptive to their needs, says Booth.

“This gives partners more input from Microsoft at a pre-sales level. It is a benefit to partners to have Microsoft support them at this stage,” he says.

“We are keen to work with partners earlier in the sales process to help them win contracts.”

Customers often request the vendor’s involvement, especially with large or complex projects, says Booth.

Another four pre-sales specialists will be added to the team in the next financial year, which starts next month.

There are now nine people in the team, but when Booth joined five years ago there were only two.

The team has grown as Microsoft’s product offerings have become broader, he says.

“As our offerings have increased in complexity we have had to invest in technical people to help partners understand the technology,” he says.

The team can help partners with first-time implementations of new products, and in the process pass their knowledge onto partners.

“We are there to lift the readiness of our partners. We have a lot of world-class talent in our team which partners can access,” says Booth.

The goals and outcomes of the team are tied to the opportunities they create with partners, he adds.

Overall, Microsoft insists it is a partner-inclusive vendor and as such has an interest in helping its partners grow, saying its own growth is reliant on the channel.