Last week I was in Denver for the Microsoft Dynamics US Field & Partner FY14 Kick Off, which was jam-packed with information (tip: you can find some informative tidbits on Twitter using the event hashtag #USDYNFY14.) Impressive attendance at this event (approx. 800 attendees), including what I feel was one of the biggest concentrations of the Microsoft Dynamics team at one event. Combining that accessibility with the partners on-hand, the week was full of opportunities to connect face-to-face and get some truly valuable conversations underway.
Following on the heels of WPC 2013, the event continued the momentum and messaging delivered earlier in the summer. David Willis, Vice President for Microsoft's US Dynamics business, announced performance results for FY13, including:
- 40% growth for AX Licenses (69% new deals)
- New license growth is 92%
- 58% win rate against Oracle
- CRM saw 55% growth with measurable growth for online version
Some big name Microsoft Dynamics wins mentioned included: Raymond James, JP Morgan Chase, AFAC Delta, DOW HNTB, Ashley Furniture, Russell Investments, Bill & Melinda Gates, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Science, Department of Air Force, United States Secret Service, Department of Correction Michigan and the State of New York.
As we’ve seen in the past year, there was also a tremendous amount on emphasis put on how much investment Microsoft is making into growing the Dynamics business. For instance, Microsoft disclosed that they have invested another $15 million into Microsoft Dynamics advertisements, especially within the digital space.
For the upcoming year, the US FY14 priorities highlighted included:
- Drive industry solutions, win the enterprise, connect with BDM, lead with devices and services, grow the volume business
- Compete to win, sales excellence, power of one MS, scale through the channel, develop people & teams
- Think nationally but act regionally
- Partnership - Key to our success
Jeremy Thies, Sr. Director, US Dynamics Partners at Microsoft, energized the audience when he hit the stage. One of the topics he honed in on was the “Key Drivers of Customer Loyalty,” which he broke down as follows:
- 19% Company & Brand Impact
- 19% Product & Service Delivery
- 9% Value to Price Ratio
- 53% Sales Experience! WOW!
53%!?!? That’s right. Thies reminded us sales-minded folks the key things only we can do during the buying process:- Offer unique, valuable perspectives on the market
- Offer unique, valuable perspectives on the market
- Help buyer navigate alternatives
- Steer buyer away from potential land mines
- Educate buyer on new issues and outcome
Piggy-backing on the key role of sales, guest speaker Scott Collin joined the stage to discuss the "Challenger Sale" and share his expertise in working with sales executives and teams across a variety of industries. Collin dove deep into the profiles of different sales rep patterns, which being in a sales role, was very interesting. I listened to figure out whether I was the “Hard Worker,” “Challenger,” “Relationship Builder,” “Lone Wolf,” or “Problem Solver” as Collin described each profile. As it turns out, the “Challenger” comes out at 39% and tops all the others.
The “Challenger” profile is one who excels in complex sales and is successful in building constructive tension between the supplier and perspective buyer. How does the “Challenger” do this successfully? According to Collin the Challenger teaches for differentiation (offers a unique perspective and facilitates 2-way communication), tailors for resonance (knows customer value drives and can ID economic drivers) and takes control (can discuss money and put pressure on the customer).
Great presentation and I walked away wanting to hone in on my “Challenger” skills. Thanks to Collin and all the speakers, along with the Microsoft Dynamics team, who delivered another valuable event for the partner community to help us accelerate our momentum as we move into FY14. Looking forward to meeting up again at the AX Technical Conference, which has been moved from November 2013 to February 3-5, 2014.