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Microsoft introduced a set of marketing and sales tools at its Worldwide Partner Conference designed to help stay with its “People Ready” message and deliver prospective solutions to customers based on the strategy.

A set of program tools and Web sites aim to help Microsoft and partners align the right message, based on the customer’s role, company size and business imperatives, with the right customer.

“It’s about having the right conversation with the right individual, in their language, in the right role at the right time,” said Allison Watson, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group.

The People Ready campaign is designed to tailor Microsoft’s applications to specific business personas, or roles individuals fill in a company.

The marketing message is similarly tailored to speak to individuals based on their business pain points how they use IT.

New partner tools assist partners in choosing which individual in a lead to address and how to address them. It also helps partners determine which competencies best target which organizations and pain points.

  • A Demonstration Showcase walks partners through the conversation by delivering a template script based on customer information such as position of the individual, industry, business size and IT goals, plus the partner’s own competency.

    Pat Esposito, chief executive officer of Impact Management, Newark, N.J., used the demo as part of a beta program and said he used it as a starting point, but added points where he knew the customer would be interested.

  • Partner Marketing Advisor Online is a Web-based tutorial and resource in understanding marketing 101, Watson said.

  • A refined Web-based partner locator, to deliver interested customers to partners based on competency and solutions. The partner finder claims some 10,000 partner solutions, Watson said.

More than 200,000 users visit five Web sites designed to drive interested parties to solutions, including the “People Ready” site.

Skill Building

Microsoft introduced Partner Skills Plus, a training and education initiative to have 47,000 new IT professionals certified in Microsoft sales and technical sets to bring more talent to partners.

Partners will have access to training and benefits programs to enable this new talent, Microsoft said.

To listen to more from Microsoft’s Partner Conference, click here.

Partners often complain about a lack of qualified talent to hire, Watson said, limiting partners’ ability to deliver their message and produce what they sell.

Partner Up

Watson also encouraged partners to collaborate as they enter new solution sets based on Microsoft’s refurbished portfolio, including enterprise search, portals, unified communications and security.

“Very few of you do all of the necessary skills within your companies,” she said. “You will need to extend your capabilities over your customers, and you are going to have to build a network set to deliver it.”