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Microsoft redrafts CRM channel focus

Microsoft redrafts CRM channel focus

Microsoft has launched a new program aimed at boosting sales of its CRM software in the SME sector.

The CRM for Small Business Program will see the software giant offer a mix of end-user discounts, reseller incentives and marketing, sales and technical collateral.

The vendor would also delve into product bundling to make the software attractive to a wider set of channel partners, its Microsoft Business Solutions lead product manager, Ross Dembecki, said.

"In more recent times, especially with the growth of Windows Small Business Server 2003, there is an opportunity to deliver a CRM application on top of it," he said.

"This could be the additional ingredient that closes a Small Business Server sale and changes the conversation from cost to investment." While the company had targeted CRM at the mid-market during the past year, the small business market was now ready to adopt it as a business strategy, Dembecki said.

As a result, sales training for partners would be a central part of the new program.

"Small business owners might think about improving sales or customer service but may not think of, or know to look at, CRM," he said. Several dozen resellers had signed up for the program so far, he said.

"With this promotion we are essentially targeting the Small Business Server channel community," Dembecki said. "They have the hardware, software and networking skills as well as the customer base."

Unlike its existing partner programs, Microsoft would not be requiring resellers to become certified before taking up the new offering, Dembecki said.


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