Mi­crosoft to redo sales, mar­ket­ing

Fo­cus shift­ing as clients seek providers of cloud, AI ser­vices

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - DINA BASS

Mi­crosoft Corp. on Mon­day an­nounced a re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of its sales and mar­ket­ing oper­a­tions in a bid to woo more cus­tomers in ar­eas such as ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and the cloud by pro­vid­ing sales staff with greater tech­ni­cal and in­dus­tryspe­cific ex­per­tise.

The com­pany un­veiled the steps in an email to staff Mon­day that was ob­tained by Bloomberg. Com­mer­cial sales will be split into two seg­ments, one fo­cused on the big­gest cus­tomers and one for small and medium clients. Em­ploy­ees will be aligned around six in­dus­tries: man­u­fac­tur­ing, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, re­tail, health, ed­u­ca­tion and gov­ern­ment. They’ll fo­cus on sell­ing soft­ware in four cat­e­gories: mod­ern work­place, busi­ness ap­pli­ca­tions, apps and in­fras­truc­ture and data and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

Mi­crosoft is in a pitched bat­tle with Ama­zon.com Inc. and Al­pha­bet Inc. for cus­tomers who want to move work­place ap­pli­ca­tions and data to the cloud, as well as take ad­van­tage of ad­vances in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

The com­pany, which has not over­hauled its sales force in years, wants to tai­lor those teams bet­ter for sell­ing cloud soft­ware rather than desk­top and server solutions.

“There is an enor­mous $4.5 tril­lion mar­ket op­por­tu­nity across our Com­mer­cial and Con­sumer busi­nesses,” ac­cord­ing to the email, which was sent by World­wide Com­mer­cial Busi­ness chief Jud­son Althoff, global sales and mar­ket­ing group leader Jean-Philippe Cour­tois and Chris Ca­pos­sela, the com­pany’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer.

The memo didn’t men­tion any job cuts. Peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the plan said last week that the changes will re­sult in some job losses.

In the con­sumer and de­vice sales area, the Red­mond, Wash.-based com­pany is cre­at­ing six re­gions sell­ing prod­ucts such as Win­dows soft­ware and Sur­face hard­ware, Of­fice 365 cloud soft­ware for con­sumers and the Xbox game con­sole. The group will also fo­cus on new ar­eas such as the In­ter­net of Things —

a term used to de­scribe In­ter­net con­nec­tions to home ap­pli­ances and de­vices such as ther­mostats and bur­glar alarms — voice, mixed re­al­ity and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

Mi­crosoft will track met­rics

in­clud­ing large com­pa­nies de­ploy­ing Win­dows 10, sales of Win­dows 10 Pro de­vices and com­pe­ti­tion against Al­pha­bet’s Chrome­books and Ap­ple Inc.’s iPads.

Mi­crosoft aims to ex­pand its con­sumer busi­ness by cre­at­ing “de­sire for the same cre­ativ­ity tools” that peo­ple have at work through Sur­face,

Win­dows de­vices and Of­fice 365, ac­cord­ing to the memo.

“In ad­di­tion, gam­ing is grow­ing rapidly across all de­vice types and is evolv­ing to new sce­nar­ios like eSports, game broad­cast­ing, and mixed re­al­ity con­tent and we will drive growth in this cat­e­gory as well,” ac­cord­ing to the memo.

Bloomberg News/TROY HAR­VEY

At­ten­dees play a video game at the Mi­crosoft Corp. booth dur­ing the E3 Elec­tronic En­ter­tain­ment Expo in Los An­ge­les on June 14. The com­pany is about to an­nounce a global lay­off, sources have told sev­eral news out­lets.

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