Guiding successful sales conversations across the Microsoft cloud portfolio

Woman standing in front of a whiteboard and gesturing with her hands

Today’s blog is from guest contributors Tyne Dutzer, Sales Enablement Lead, Business Applications Global Partner Enablement, and Ben Ellgass, Global Partner Sales Enablement Lead for Azure, Modern Work, and Security.

Termed the “moments that matter,” there are six critical points in an audience’s journey from the time they start thinking about making a purchase to signing the final contract. These moments are critical not just because they’re part of the buyer journey process, but also because they are specific conversations your sales team needs to be prepared for and trained on how to successfully navigate. Here at Microsoft, our sellers are trained on these moments and how to approach selling from an emotional perspective. It’s been found this can create stronger business cases and help close deals earlier in the sales cycle.

As we evolve our thinking around the sales cycle and what a successful customer engagement looks like, it can be challenging to know the right questions to ask, how to navigate objections, and ultimately guide a customer to saying yes. Enter the Microsoft Partner Sales Acceleration Program (PSAP). This collection of sales tools and video guidance is used to train Microsoft sellers and can help your teams better sell business outcomes to enterprise and/or SMB customers. Below we discuss the six moments that matter, as well as share sales resources to help you and your team better close deals.

Defining the six moments that matter for sales

The buyer journey can be long and complex. Especially in today’s digital world where sales conversations are often starting after an individual has done their own research and narrowed down options. As a result, there are a few key moments that can be truly impactful in engaging with the customer and helping guide their purchasing decision. They are: research and preparation, opportunity profiling, project discovery, CIO/TDM project review, BDM project impact summary, and the proposal review.

  1. Research and prepare: This initial discovery phase is essential for a potential customer as they look to not only understand the available options, but also who they can rely on as a clear, trusted expert to help solve their specific needs and challenges. 
  2. Opportunity profiling: Taking place while still in the prospect phase, this moment is focused on gauging and understanding the needs and intent of the potential customer. Asking the right questions here is critical for how you shape future sales conversations.
  3. Project discovery: Project discovery is about understanding the scope of the project and what they’re looking to do. This conversation is taking place as they’re moving from the prospect to inspire stage of the buying journey, so is important for shaping future insights and suggestions shared. PSAP resources offer best practices for how to approach project discovery whiteboarding.
  4. CIO/TDM project review: Ease of implementation and platform flexibility matters for CIOs—and you should expect to meet objections during the sales engagement process. The project review is a chance to socialize your solution with decision makers and uncover their specific objections. During this conversation, you can use the pitch deck to identify technology and business risks, as well as clarify the value the decision maker expects to get from a Microsoft solution.
  5. BDM project impact summary: The next moment builds on the project insights discovered and centers around meeting with the executive responsible for business outcomes. As you prepare for this conversation, remember they will need to defend this project investment. Plan to create a strategic tipping-point experience by focusing on what matters most for business decision makers (BDM): money, risk, and control. Plan to bring something new and unexpected to the conversation that helps validate why the BDM should choose your company.
  6. Proposal review: The final moment that matters also takes place before your meeting with the executive BDM. For this proposal review you will want to ensure your proposal aligns with leadership-level needs and brings decision makers along on the journey of how your proposal provides a safe choice. Prepare to paint a picture of what the future would look like with your solution in place.

How you can benefit from PSAP sales resources

Designed with our partners in mind, the different PSAP collections feature sales assets and corresponding how-to video guidance to help you stand out in a crowded market and enable your business and sales teams to “get to yes” with potential customers.

You can use these tools to capitalize on the “moments that matter” with decision makers and better sell your solutions built on Microsoft Azure, Business Applications, Modern Work, or Security technology. Choose from a PSAP collection that best meets your specific customer type and solution area needs. Each collection walks you through four key areas of sales conversations: a high-level introduction, the what, the how, the why.

The introduction starts with the psychology behind sales conversations and how to architect your why. The what covers different Microsoft sales plays for customer solutions as well as an introduction and how-to guidance for sales battlecards. The how features a guide to engaging with prospects and understanding how solutions can meet customer needs. It also offers how-to videos for project discovery whiteboarding and scoping the project. The why offers guidance on how to answer why this solution is the right one as well as navigate different objections that might come up. You will also receive guidance on CIO pitch decks, project impact summaries, and proposal business reviews.

Once you’ve gone through the PSAP training, you can take an assessment to validate your learnings and demonstrate the new sales skills you’ve gained.

Start building sales confidence today

There’s no better time to gain the skills that can help you increase sales, better differentiate your solutions and services, and ultimately win big with enterprise and SMB sales engagements. Get started with the following PSAP collections.

Azure: These products and services can provide integral solutions to a wide variety of customer needs. This program offers education on the products and best practices for Azure in business. Programs include:

Modern Work: With remote work being a higher priority than ever, the Microsoft 365 suite and Microsoft Teams are an integral part of many customer solutions. This program offers presentation resources and best practices for a focus on Modern Work solutions. Programs include:

Business Applications: Whether customers want to improve their end-to-end digital buying experience or shift from transactional financial management to predictive and proactive operations, Microsoft offers robust Business Application solutions. Programs include:

Security: The Microsoft Zero Trust strategy is embedded in its products and services, making it a compelling choice for enterprise customers. This program offers resources for a focus on Security in business. Programs include: