[Distribution] Drilling Down

For Peter Boit of the Microsoft Enterprise and Partner Group, success with partners in 2008 depends on transparency and two-way communication.

Peter Boit, Microsoft's vice president of enterprise partner sales, says a new planning process should help partners meet key goals this year.

For a $51-billion-a-year company like Microsoft that enjoys at least some presence in nearly every business in the world, growth must come primarily from existing customers. When it comes to figuring out how to generate additional revenues from profitable enterprise customers, Microsoft is betting that the way to do so is to become more involved in the business planning of the enterprise partners that target that market.

The main engine for that joint planning is a document called the Partner Solution Plan. Introduced in a pilot program two years ago and expanded last year, the document is part of business planning for all 8,000 of Microsoft's managed partners in the enterprise this year, says Peter Boit, vice president of enterprise partner sales in Microsoft's enterprise and partner group.

"Our PAMs are busy," Boit says with a laugh, describing the workload for the Microsoft partner account managers who meet with partners to generate the documents.

"The most important thing is to have the dialogue with the partner around where we mutually see the business opportunity and then [figure out] what's the roadmap to that opportunity. The document falls out of that," Boit says, adding: "The important thing is the process."

The resulting document is a time-bound, specific set of investments tied to key goals such as revenues or customer wins. "We review that on a quarterly basis with the partner to see if we actually are doing what we said we'd do," Boit explains. "At the end of the day, it obviously means product or services revenues for our partners."

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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