Listening to Our Managed Partners
One of the reasons why relationships with managed ISVs and Microsoft have grown over time is because we listen and dynamically take in the thoughts, wisdoms and requests from independent software companies, and we use those to remain nimble and make changes. I’d like to tell you about a few of the efforts the US ISV team undertakes and the ways in which we would like to hear from you.
In the US, the US partner ISV Team drives four primary feedback vehicles to proactively listen to our ISVs:
- Monthly business reviews within Microsoft: Business Development Managers and teams have an open dialog about the topics they are hearing about through their engagements with ISVs.
- Quarterly partner community calls/live meetings: These calls are scheduled for partners on topics which they prioritize. Most managed ISVs have my email address and thankfully, they aren’t shy about sending me their feedback and ideas.
- Road Show Tours: Every year we conduct day long meetings in multiple US cities where managed ISVs are invited participate on a variety of topics.
- Bi-annual online surveys: Formal surveys Microsoft Corporation drives across the partner community.
Last quarter, I conducted an 8 city ISV roundtable tour in the US. Over 122 partners attended and provided tremendous feedback on our engagement. The number one topic partners wished to discuss surrounded joint field engagement selling. This was reflected in the fall partner survey results where Microsoft wanted to better understand how we can reduce the friction between the ISV Sales Team and Microsoft Sales Team jointly engaging in mutual opportunities. Microsoft field personnel participated directly in these roundtables and actively solicited feedback and input, while explaining how the Microsoft field was organized and compensated. These roundtables are one of the many example of the formal and informal ways that we listen to our partners.
In addition to the road show, business reviews and quarterly calls, two times each year, we survey more than one thousand ISVs formally via a 20 minute online questionnaire. We ask a variety of questions with regard to levels of satisfaction around Microsoft’s products and services like, “Are you satisfied with Microsoft’s programs and safeguards around software security?” Satisfaction is quantified into data driven metrics. As well, we carefully read and assess verbatim answers. This past fall we sent out to 1,100 questionnaires to ISVs and received a 10% return. My hope, as we release the spring survey (March ‘09), is that we will have a higher percentage of return. This is a great opportunity for ISVs to help us make necessary changes to help them be successful with their Microsoft relationship. Proactive listening to our partners through our partners providing feedback is how we can move both of our businesses forward.
Here are two examples of where our partners have offered input and Microsoft has taken action to be proactive for them:
- Managed ISVs requested more latitude to leverage marketing funds with Microsoft. In response, Microsoft streamlined the process for requests to be considered. Partner led marketing can now be used to make marketing spend more applicable to the ISV’s business.
- ISVs provided us feedback on the partner business planning process, tool & form. This resulted in the contract between Microsoft and the managed ISVs to be realigned around a rolling 12 month calendar planning cycle. The hope is that this better supports ISVs on a calendar fiscal year coupled with an smoother ongoing planning cycle to begin the planning process earlier.
We hope you’ll take this information to heart when you receive the upcoming spring survey and invitation to participate with Microsoft. We look forward to this ongoing conversation so both of us can be successful with our customers.
Best wishes for continued success,
Senior Director, US ISV Team
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