Unpacking Microsoft Sales Plays: Why it’s important to understand

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Working with the most current cohort of Microsoft Partners in the Partner Elevate program, we realised that we often ask Partners about their Microsoft Sales Plays, and how are they're taking that to market. The more Partners we spoke to, we realised that their understanding of Microsoft Sales Plays is varied. 

Why is a Sales Play important for Microsoft, and Microsoft Partners? And equally, why it’s important for Partners to understand and unpack their Sales Play to drive growth in their business?

In this blog series, we will be talking about:

  • the challenges Partners face when they can’t unpack both Microsoft’s and their own Sales Plays
  • the opportunity they open up with an aligned SalesPlay, and,
  • our proven and repeatable process to get going – the SalesPlay Un-Packer™.

The 4 challenges 

We believe that if Partners can’t find a way to unpack Microsoft Sales Plays they will be frustrated. This is because you will keep seeing that Microsoft's priorities are really not aligned to your business priorities. And we know that if you want to be ‘seen’ in the eyes of Microsoft – that you need that alignment. This is the key to becoming an Investible Partner.

Let’s break it down. Here are the four key challenges you face by not understanding your Sales Play.

1. These are not my priorities

Each year when Microsoft decides their priorities for the next financial year, you’re thinking - that's their priorities, not my priorities.

What this does is locks out the opportunity of investments that you can take advantage of. Why? Because behind those particular priorities that Microsoft has announced is a series of investments. So if we don't open ourselves up to how we can interpret these priorities for our business, we're going to continue to be a left out of investment opportunities.

2. Deciding where to focus 

It’s no secret that the Microsoft Partner ecosystem is a crowded one. There are plenty of partners around selling the same or similar products and services. So, when a new Sales Play is presented to you – and usually it’s not just one – you’ll start questioning whether you should navigate towards their new focus.

Back inside the business, you’re already trying to focus where you want to apply your skills, attention and energy, and now being presented with a whole list of new Sales Plays is distracting you.

3. Constant change 

Just as the seasons change, you can bet yourself Microsoft’s priorities are going to change. Microsoft will make these decisions based on fiscal year, half or quarterly focus areas at that particular time. If you try to keep up, it’s going to feel as though you’re chasing your tail and not moving forward. 

4. No guarantee

With all the above combined, you now start to feel that even if you put time, energy and resources into understanding what the Sales Plays are, there's no real guarantee that that things will change for you and your business. There's no real guarantee that if you get behind what the Sales Plays are, and focus on them, that there is a guaranteed of business growth.

Now, that's the bad news. And it's not all bad news. Because we if we get this right, we can turn this frustration into an opportunity that Microsoft partners can leverage.

Why it’s important to unpack your Sales Plays

Not that we’ve been through the challenges you’ll face when addressing Microsoft Sales Plays, it’s time to understand how Partners benefit from the ability to unpack Microsoft Sales Plays, and understand them in detail.

Unlock more opportunity

If you unpack the Sales Plays in the right way, it will unlock a lot of opportunity for your business. How? The investments from Microsoft are aligned to where the Sales Play priorities are, and so these investment priorities now become another opportunity that you can leverage to grow your business.

Align with skills and capability

Once unpacked, you will have the insight to align the skills and capability you have today, and identify any gaps you might need to fill. So, it's about looking for where those immediate short-term opportunities are. Once you have them, you can think about where to invest time, energy, resources, skills and capability, and build a plan towards that.

It's not about aligning to where you don't have skills and capability today, it’s about looking to align today and then were to build that capability and skill set for the future as well.

Analyze & decide quickly

With opportunities unpacked and an idea about where to align skills and capability, you now have the ability to analyze and decide quickly.

So, if you have a repeatable process to unpack Sales Plays in your business, you then have a very simple way to analyze which ones are relevant and right for you, your business and your target market. Then it’s about deciding quickly, where you want to spend your time, energy and attention.

If you get this right, you then have alignment that will help your business grow. You don't want to be distracted, you want alignment to the Sales Play that will actually benefit you, and help your business grow.

If you feel as though the above rings true, keep an eye out for our next article 'The four keys to Sales Play Clarity' to understand the things you can do in your business today that will help you unpack your Sales Play and take advantage of your partnership with Microsoft.

Interested to know more about us? Check out our Sales Play On-Ramp(TM) program

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