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Microsoft's ISV Partners Get New Offerings

As Microsoft prepares to release Windows Vista and Office 2007, the company is ramping up programs to help its partner independent software vendors (ISVs) sell their software and pull through Microsoft licenses in the process.

Microsoft this month announced several new ISV-related service offerings within the Microsoft Partner Program, including access to outsourced telesales at volume prices and an international assistance program to help ISVs pick the most promising international markets for their products.

"We've been in pilot mode with these services for over a year now," says Naseem Tuffaha, senior director, ISV Sales & Marketing, in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group.

The programs are available to ISVs who are Certified or Gold Certified members of the Microsoft Partner Program, a group Tuffaha says numbers about 5,000 firms.

Microsoft is offering the ISV Telesales Service because many of its ISV partners have reported dissatisfaction with their homegrown efforts to build telesales operations. "This is a place where we saw a very common pain point across our ISV base," Tuffaha says.

"We took the step of building an infrastructure that our ISVs could tap into. Microsoft is contracting with a set of high-quality telesales vendors around the world who understand how to do solution sales to business," Tuffaha says. "These are not kids out of college doing telemarketing. They understand how to take leads through the qualification process."

"We can leverage our global buying power and bring the cost to a level that ISVs would not be able to get on their own," he says. In addition to offering ISVs volume pricing, Microsoft subsidiaries will also subsidize some ISV partners' efforts through the ISV Telesales Service if there is a good strategic reason to do so, Tuffaha adds.

The program is available in North America and most of Europe. By the end of the year, the ISV Telesales Service will also cover China, Japan and Latin America.

For those ISVs looking for new opportunities, Microsoft is building out the International ISV Assistance program. "We wanted to help ISVs make better decisions about which markets to enter and to accelerate those efforts," Tuffaha says.

Microsoft has added incremental account managers in markets worldwide that ISVs have shown the most interest in expanding into, Tuffaha says. Those new account managers are responsible only for new entrants, they won't be doing double duty with existing ISVs in those markets. Some of the early areas of focus in the program are the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France.

Also within the International ISV Assistance program, Microsoft is adding online resources and tools on the Microsoft Partner Portal to provide advice and guidance on international ISV opportunities.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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