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Microsoft Channel Chief Schuster On Shifting The Sales Focus To CSP, Bringing In Partners Earlier And Offering 'Richer' Cloud Compensation Than Competitors

Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster spoke with CRN about how the company is working with partners to accelerate customer adoption of Azure and Office 365.

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What has been the outcome for partners of the major organizational changes over the past year?

It was a big change. I was a little nervous, because it was a change on our partnering structure in a sea of Microsoft change. And I was [wondering], "Are we going to be able to execute? We have really big goals." And we had a lot of changeover of people. Essentially we had partner sales teams embedded in each segment-selling team. And because they were embedded with our sales teams, they were focused obviously on quarter-to-quarter sales. So we decided to put people out into the field, but they reported to us. They were responsible for helping to recruit new partners and build new practices with partners. Because nobody in the field is going to invest that time when they're just focused quarter-to-quarter.

And so the One Commercial Partner team did two things. One, it brought all of those teams that were scattered everywhere into a single organization. So if there was anything about partnering -- building something with a partner, selling something with a partner -- it happened within the One Commercial Partner team. And the second change is that we separated building things with partners and thinking about their business, and selling with them as two separate things. So we could have the incentive structure for those two roles be very different.

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