A Partner’s Objection Handling Guide for Exchange 2010

In my previous post, you read about the challenges and solutions that Exchange 2003 customers value. Now, that you understand the Exchange 2003 customer challenges and the way Exchange 2010 addresses these challenges, let's look at the common objections you might hear and how to handle these objections.

Objection 1: We will wait until Exchange 2010 SP1 comes out.

One of the most common objections you might hear is that they want to wait for SP1 so that they feel the product is well tested and adopted by a broad customer base.

With Exchange 2010 there are some compelling reasons customers don't need to wait. First, Exchange 2010 is the most tested server product Microsoft has developed. Today, we are running Exchange 2010 as a service with over 10 million mailboxes deployed. This is our Outlook Live service for schools and universities under the Outlook Live name.

We have over 18 months of live customers on the Exchange product ' longer than any other beta test we've run. In addition, Exchange 2010 has 150 customers and 40 thousand customer mailboxes in production as of August 2009. Exchange 2010 is the first product that has been tested in this broad scale prior to launch and you can assure to your customers that Exchange 2010 has been tested and proven enough already at release.

Objection 2: Don't want to upgrade without Outlook 2010

Next common objection is waiting for Outlook 2010 before upgrading Exchange. Outlook 2010 will be available in spring of 2010, several months after Exchange 2010 becomes available.

In this situation, you want to shift your conversation from Outlook and talk about the overall cost savings opportunities by moving to Exchange 2010. As we reviewed earlier, you can get hard cost savings by adopting new storage option, replacing aging voicemail systems and using built-in mobility solution. None of these costs savings rely on Outlook. Another approach you can take is to encourage phased deployment. With shipment of Windows 7 and Office 2010, many organizations are likely to be upgrading their desktop applications together. Customers can start this wave by deploying Exchange first and then by the time the Exchange upgrade is done, move to upgrade the client software when Outlook 2010 is available.

Objection 3: It's hard to justify productivity benefits

Productivity improvement is one of the key benefits of Exchange 2010, yet some customers might say they don't buy productivity benefits because it's hard to quantify. In the tough economic times like now, optimizing resource utilization is as important as reducing costs and Exchange 2010 offers great new productivity tools such as conversation view, Mailtips, Ignore conversation and Outlook Mobile enhancements.

Objection 4: Email and voicemail are separate purchase decisions

Although voicemail can provide great value to Exchange organizations, the part of the organization that you talk to about Exchange might say that voicemail purchase decision is outside of their responsibility and therefore it's of less importance. The reality is that it's not less important, you just need to find the right part of the organization to bring into the conversation. Your customer can and will save money by moving to Exchange voicemail, so it is worth the time and energy to engage with the telephony or facilities department to have the voicemail conversation versus just leave it in the hands of the messaging department. We have many resources available to help you have the conversations with the customers and all of the resources are available on the UC web.

Objection 5: Exchange 2010 seems more complicated

You might also hear that Exchange 2010 seems more complicated than Exchange 2003 because for these customers server roles are new and the increased feature set is substantial.

You can respond to this objection by pointing out that:

  • The new role-based access control provides the ability to delegate administrative tasks to other roles outside IT such as compliance managers and HR, reducing burden on the messaging administrators.
  • With Exchange 2010 we introduce the Exchange Control Panel that is a web-based administration console that provides quick, easy access to the day-to-day admin tasks without having to use the Exchange Management Console.
  • Exchange 2010 provides graphical user interface for more features than Exchange 2007 and 2003, so IT pros now have the choice of a graphical or command line management. In summary, Exchange 2003 customers represent over half of the install base. These customers are ripe to upgrade to Exchange 2010 and we have a very compelling story to tell them. Whether it is addressing their key challenges or overcoming the objections, you should feel confident in the value the Exchange 2010 can provide to these customers.”

Julia White, Director of Product Management for Exchange

Based on this post and the previous one,  hopefully, you’ve gotten an overall feel for what values Microsoft pillared the Exchange 2010 release!



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