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Sorgen Shares Microsoft's Scorecard Metrics for FY'15

Partners who depend on Microsoft field representatives to help close sales or to access Microsoft resources and benefits can often help themselves by knowing the Microsoft employees' incentives.

As explained in two recent Both Sides columns, "What Gaps Does Microsoft Want Partners To Fill?" and "How To Motivate Microsoft To Close Your Opportunities," the Microsoft field tends to be motivated by what's commonly known as the scorecard. More specifically, Microsoft refers to two specific targets -- Revenue-Based Incentives (RBI) and Commitment-Based Incentives (CBI).

The RBI is fairly straightforward: It's how much money the rep is supposed to bring in for the year. But the CBI changes year by year depending on Microsoft's priorities and initiatives. The CBI is a way for Microsoft to make sure low-revenue products that are strategically important are getting the proper attention, and that reps aren't simply making their sales quotas on products that are easier to sell but less important to the company's future.

Asked about the scorecard during a conversation with RCP at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last month, Microsoft's top global channel executive, Phil Sorgen, said, "It's an important operating mechanism for us that measures the kind of things that are very strategic and important to our business. We could achieve our revenue targets [without them]. If you just look at P&L and that was the only operating mechanism that you used, you might miss some important indicators that you're making it on the things that are important but not 100 percent aligned to the R&D and your future. It allows us to ensure that not only are we meeting our P&L responsibilities to our shareholders, but that we're also doing it in a balanced way aligned to some of the future solutions, the leading-in-the-market solutions, that are important to our future."

While the Microsoft reps' compensation doesn't help a partner in itself, knowing how compensation works in a given year helps savvy partners command those reps' attention when a potential deal or initiative falls within a rep's wheelhouse.

We asked Sorgen at a high level what those metrics are for Microsoft's fiscal 2015, which started July 1.

"It will be no surprise to you that it's things like Office 365, CRM Online, Azure consumption, things like [the Enterprise Mobility Suite] that you saw [in the keynotes]. I can keep going, but they're all things around mobile-first, cloud-first and directional," Sorgen said.

Not all of the people in the field, obviously, have the same scorecard metrics, so it's always in a partner's best interest to ask.

"With our partners, we're pretty open about what our scorecard targets are," Sorgen said. "We share that pretty openly."

Posted by Scott Bekker on August 18, 2014 at 12:58 PM