The Modern Demand Center: Nine Steps to Cloud Sales Transformation (Part I)

When Microsoft first opened its doors in 1975, it had a mission to put a PC in every home. Before long, the company had set the standard for innovation in the IT industry, as its computers revolutionized home and workplace environments.

As the technology landscape advanced, mobile and Cloud technology forever changed the way we access information and communicate with each other. It also changed the way businesses buy technology and who from the business is buying it. With this seismic shift, Microsoft recognized the need to transform its selling process.

Microsoft became more focused on building stronger connections with customers and accelerating revenue growth. To achieve these objectives, the company’s marketing and sales leaders sought to revamp their demand generation approach and create a Demand Center that integrated sales and marketing activity. Instead of viewing it solely as a source for lead generation and top of the funnel activity, they began viewing the Demand Center as an engine to support opportunities through all stages of the sales cycle, more effectively aligning customers’ needs with their offerings.

N3 understands that undergoing this type of transformation can be overwhelming. Our team supported Microsoft in developing a nine-step process towards impactful Demand Center transformation that you can apply for modernizing your company’s Cloud sales process. In Part I of this three-part blog series, we’ll cover the first three steps.

Start small, even if you’re big

Ever heard the expression Rome wasn’t built in a day? The same can be said for transforming your sales process. Start by picking one product and one market, using those two as a baseline for change. Microsoft picked Microsoft Azure and the U.S. market, building a mini corporate Demand Center as a pilot program. By starting small, the company tested the waters, perfected their model and then brought the program to other markets and product teams.

Ignore legacy systems

Embracing connected demand generation and sales activity means ensuring you have the right technology in place to be successful. Microsoft recognized it had to overcome the complication of having adapted too many siloed MarTech systems over the years, which caused the business to have an incomplete picture of the buying journey. Rather than relying on existing and outdated legacy systems, Microsoft created a new, unified, modern marketing platform. By letting go of legacy systems and centralizing the marketing efforts in one hub, Microsoft aligned its sales and marketing teams around a complete picture of the customer, enabling a buyer-centric sales model.

Give your team room to explore

In sales and marketing, there is constant pressure to show immediate ROI. However, shifting your entire go-to-market strategy takes time and focus. Giving your demand generation team time to concentrate on growth and exploration allows them to ultimately be more successful. Today’s marketing is a mix of instinct, insight, and ingenuity. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to give your team space to plan and test and the right resources to support the new functions, as well as the room to fail fast and learn faster.

N3 is proud to have worked closely with Microsoft during this time, helping the team understand what processes to prioritize, assessing the company’s technology needs, and developing go-to-market strategies to test and implement. By the end of year one, Microsoft had tested and perfected its technology and sales strategy.

Stay tuned for Part II of Microsoft’s sales transformation. Can’t wait to find out what took place in year two? Check out Microsoft’s presentation on building a best-in-class Demand Center from Sirius Decisions. View Now

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About the Author

Marcel Florez

As N3 President, Marcel applies his deep experience in technology sales, marketing, and consulting, and extensive knowledge of the Cloud, to support demand and revenue generation for N3’s technology, software, and manufacturing customers. See full profile.

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