Unpacking Microsoft Sales Plays: Putting our taxonomy to the test

We are unpacking one of Microsoft’s Sales Plays using Desmond’s Sales Play unpacker that we talked about in our previous article. As an ex-Microsoft Partner Development Manager, Des has spent many years helping partners better harness the opportunity that Microsoft offers their ecosystem.

If you missed our previous article, make sure you go back and read through it first. Now, we're looking at one of the FY21 Sales Plays as an example and apply our approach to unpacking it.

Today we're looking at the Modern Work & Security Sales Play.

As you can see above, the blue section outlines the Modern Workplace and security Solution Area. Then the Sales Play is broken down in to Business objectives, Priorities and their relevant Sales Plays.

But, what do these mean?

  • Business objectives are the metrics that Microsoft are looking to drive by that particular sales play.
  • Priorities are the customer priorities. This is what Microsoft perceive as the customer priorities - what customers are trying to do.
  • Sales Plays are the bunch of materials packages together, and the tech that actually aligns to the solution area, its objectives and customer priorities.

So, let's look at the Modern Workplace solution area against the taxonomy.

  • Microsoft’s business objectives are to grow usage, increase premium mix and drive seats.
  • Taking the first option, the customer priority is enabling secure remote work.
  • To enable secure and remove work, we can one of the three Sales Plays. For example, Teams Meeting & Calling.

Technically, what does that really mean?

If this is your SalesPlay, you are deploying and managing meeting services, meeting rooms and large events. Those things are the technical capability you need in order to be able to align to this particular Sales Play.

So the thought would be “Do I have that capability in my business or do I have to build that capability?”. If you were covering just calling, then the top end technical skills you require would also include PSTN calling capabilities.

Our new taxonomy might look like this: 

Go-to-market bill of materials

The Microsoft website has a go to market Bill of Materials (BOM) for all of their Sales Plays. The go-to-market BOM is split between the customer segments - enterprise and SMB. Looking at the BOM, you will see a whole bunch of campaigns in the box. Pick one, download all the materials.

What really are Microsoft Business Priorities

When we think about Modern Workplace & Security, the business process priorities as above are:

Growing usage – This is about getting customers with existing products and software in the Modern Workplace mix to deploy and use more of those products.

Increase premium mix – this is the upsell conversation, it’s about moving customer from E3 to E5, or moving from business premium to E3. It’s new capabilities that you’re moving customers to.

Drive seats – In an organisation that is not O365 or M365, what is it that the Partner needs to do to make that customer one. This is new seats. Or, for a customer that doesn’t have a seat for every person in the organisation – what you need to do to grow those seats.


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