Regional resellers will receive a unique opportunity to turn Microsoft's marketing machine into Windows XP-related sales when the software vendor's national regional roadshow kicks off this month.
Thirty events in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales are scheduled for November and December, stage one of the new initiative to generate demand and take sales training directly to regional centres across Australia. A second round of 23 events will commence in February and will include South Australia and Western Australia.
Mark Linton, Microsoft's marketing manager, small business division, said the events are broken into two 90-minute sessions - one for resellers and one for end customers.
"[The roadshow] is designed around the needs of small business and helping identify opportunities around the desktop and server," Linton said. "City resellers get plenty of opportunities to get along to these sorts of events.
"It is difficult for resellers in regional areas, so by getting out there amongst them, and hopefully we can make a difference."
Microsoft's channel partners will be able to take in product demonstrations, sales training and briefings on recent changes to licensing arrangements. An opportunity to ask questions directly to Microsoft staff about products and partnering is part of the agenda, while all the new Windows XP marketing materials, case studies and sales tools will be on hand.
End customers brought along by resellers or Microsoft's other awareness efforts are then catered for in the second session.
Compaq has jumped in on the act and is coming to the party with special desktop and server offers designed around small business needs and sold through channels.
"It is all about trying to close the loop between Microsoft, its partners and its customers," Linton said. "We want to demonstrate the value that Windows and Small Business Server can bring as a platform to the small business environment."
Microsoft's INsights Road Show annual tour of Australia's capital cities also kicks off this month. The tour is described as "Microsoft helping to fast-track your working knowledge of Microsoft Windows XP and Visual Studio.Net with practical technical presentations, and information on developing, deploying and managing Microsoft software."