Microsoft is offering solution sales training to its partner base via a third-party consultancy.
The software giant launched the new training this month, with about 300 resellers attending sessions across all states. The plan now is to run the training every month on a first come, first served basis while demand lasts.
Partners were offered a choice of two half-day sessions on 'Selling IT infrastructure solutions to CIOs' or 'Creating and selling partner services opportunities'. There was also a more generic full day offering on solution-based selling.
"It's about equipping our partners with a business value proposition as opposed to asking their customers to buy another product," Microsoft partner group director, Kerstin Baxter, said. "Everybody wants to make the transition from products to solutions but smaller resellers don't normally have access to these kind of training resources."
Baxter said Microsoft had used the training internally and developed a lot of the content locally.
The partner training sessions are delivered by Queensland-based consultancy, Carpe Diem. While the new training initiative would better equip sales teams, Baxter said Microsoft had also launched an initiative to improve partner pre-sales pitches.
"Pre-sales is all about how you present and demonstrate a product - it is important to position them in the right way technically," she said. "We have spent three months piloting some pre-sales workshops with our MBS partners and have now extended them out." Pre-sales demonstration DVDs have been made available to gold and certified partners and pre-sales telephone support is also being offered.
"Customers don't want to see a PowerPoint presentation - they want to see products in action," Baxter said. "The demonstration DVDs will help us achieve a consistency of message."
For its ISV community, Microsoft is offering advisory hours according to their level of registration - the offer ranges from 10 hours for registered partners to 20 hours for gold certified.
Since rolling out a new program 12 months ago, Baxter said the company had added 100 new partners and was concentrating on identifying resellers in terms of their market focus.
Of the 800 Baxter estimated were now at certified or gold certified levels, 43 per cent had a competency in a specialist field. She highlighted ISV, network infrastructure and MBS as the most popular.