Microsoft has unveiled a series of sales and marketing promotions aimed at strengthening its channel sales in the small business market.
"When we came into this financial year, we aimed to invest a lot more money and time into the broad group of resellers that sell to small businesses," said John Ball, Microsoft Australia's group manager, small business partners.
Such investments include a commitment of $1 million in marketing development and sales support funds, $2 million in performance-based rebates, $800,000 in skills development schemes and an eight-fold staff increase in the vendor's SMB channel team.
Ball said the team is looking for feedback from its reseller base on licensing and support issues in a bid to improve channel sales.
The software vendor announced several new sales and marketing promotions at a partner briefing in Sydney last week. One of those is an incentive for open licence sales of Office XP. If a reseller sells 10 per cent more volume of the product in the quarter starting February 25 when compared to the previous quarter, Microsoft will dish out a 10 per cent rebate.
"Some resellers have said that there are not enough margins in Office, so we needed a new scheme that would encourage resellers to market and sell it," Ball said. "The best way to do that is to put money in their pockets."
While it is keen to improve open licence sales with such schemes, Microsoft has not forgotten its OEM partners, who generally receive better prices to work with than resellers selling through open licence. Until March 31, Microsoft will give $20 cash to any salesperson selling Windows XP Pro with a new PC, and a further $20 for adding Office XP to the bundle.
Microsoft has also joined Hewlett-Packard in offering an aggressive price promotion on HP small business servers loaded with Microsoft product. Any sale of the HP tc2100 server with Windows 2000 Server software installed will earn resellers a $300 rebate while any of the servers sold with Microsoft's Small Business Server software will earn a $500 rebate.