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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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How did these changes affect partners initially?

It meant that we had to take a bunch of these people that were called partners sales execs and decide, are they really more of a building-something-with-partner person or a selling-something-with-partner person? And so that was the nervousness -- now people have to get new jobs. And we have to get them in place, and we have to execute. And in the meantime partners lose the people that they had been working with, in a lot of cases. So then you have to re-establish relationships. We managed to get through that pretty quickly. And the good news is, even from the moment that I talked about that at Inspire, partners understood it. Externally, people understood what we were doing. Whereas internally, people were like, why are we doing this change? So we actually got off to a fairly strong start. If you look at our earnings, we've had the best year that Microsoft has ever had, because a lot of this actually came together really fast. And I think it was because the changes--not just the ones we made with the partner team but across the whole sales organization--really made a lot of sense.

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