Microsoft has carved up its UK channel to drill into the diverse needs of partners in each region.
The software giant has taken on five partner territory managers to draw on partners’ contrasting vertical expertise in each region.
Clare Barclay, director of partner strategy and programmes for Microsoft UK, said: “There are different requirements in different regions. We are ensuring we have better communication with about 500 of our traditional VARs to see what communities are adopting in each region.
“This allows us to troubleshoot areas and tailor our investment in the right
Barclay referred to Microsoft’s Scottish channel, where the vendor plans to support partners in the expanding oil and gas market.
“The investments will be tailored for VARs to target growing verticals in their local communities,” she said.
Shaune Parsons, managing director of Microsoft VAR Computer World Wales, said it is time the vendor focused on its smaller partners.
“Microsoft has previously focused on its LARs instead of the firms that are doing all the leg work,” he said. “LARs tend to take the contracts that traditional resellers have found.
“Public sector contracts are very popular in Wales, so if Microsoft is willing to put the effort into training in specific areas, we will gladly take advantage of that.”
Simon Aldous, partner group manager at Microsoft UK, estimated that partners are taking eight or nine weeks to close an average deal, compared with four before the recession.
Aldous said the recent snow day was a great example of how Microsoft partnerscan be more effective with their customers with solutions such as web casts and communications technology.
“Many of our partners lost business that day due to closures. We want our partners to fully understand Microsoft’s technology, so it does not happen again and to be able to communicate that message as a selling point to customers,” added Aldous.
Earlier this month the vendor held its Rev It Up training event, which attracted 100 VARs.
Partners spent half of the day learning about sales training and half learning where Microsoft’s technology fits into a sale.
“The event’s aim was to make partners sound more professional in the questions they ask,” said Barclay. “Microsoft is making sure partners are having the right conversations with their customers. In this climate your sales staff have to be sharp.”
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