Microsoft creates data-driven organizations
As one of the largest data-driven organizations in the world, Microsoft has been transforming how work gets done for decades and its latest innovation has been to bring hardware and software together to create seamless experiences for both work and play. As Microsoft’s Surface and Modern Workplace business lines grew and there became a greater focus on connecting devices with other solutions, the company had a significant need to bring data together in a way that would enable teams to better manage the business.
In this, the company created a dedicated, centralized insights team charged with:
- Listening and delving deep into data across a wide variety of inputs across channel, customers and sellers.
- Developing key business insights based on those data sets/trends that help drive the business forward.
- Collaborating with stakeholders to turn insights into strategy and programs that drive the business.
- Empowering its community with tools that enable consistent insights into the business and measuring its success in executing on strategy, efficacy of programs and overall business performance.
At the time, Microsoft’s devices data was disconnected from the rest of the commercial data environment, and the data that was available was not structured in a way that could be leveraged for common use cases. Beyond some basic reporting on the overall pipeline and revenue, managers and sellers had little insight into the business, hampering their ability to make informed business decisions.
With high-growth goals and large territories, Microsoft’s sales and marketing teams needed to be able to focus their energy on the highest-impact accounts and activities. They needed to be able to understand which accounts were driving their business, which accounts were most likely to buy and what was the right sales offer for each account.
Microsoft engaged in a long-term partnership with PK to connect data across businesses, build a better data foundation and provide the toolsets needed for leaders, managers, marketers and sellers. With a dual focus on filling critical insight gaps and building a new data layer, PK created a data analytics and reporting service within the business.
Working with business leadership to prioritize initiatives, PK built a suite of reports and tools around:
- Planning: business, territory and account.
- Execution: account targeting, account management and growth, pipeline/opportunity management and inventory management.
- Performance measurement: seller, manager, partner, program, business
PK worked with Microsoft’s IT teams to compliantly access, engineer, visualize and share core data. PK then built a data model that is now being leveraged by Microsoft teams across the business.
The Surface High Propensity Tool, in essence, helps sales teams build the shortest path to meeting their quota by helping sellers view which accounts to focus on (or deprioritize), which accounts to target with which sales offers, and which types of offers a customer has historically responded well to. By enabling the tracking of key activities across the customer journey, managers can now understand which activities high performers are doing more of and which activities are accelerating and closing deals.
The Surface and Modern Workplace groups inside of Microsoft are now truly data-driven organizations. Leaders have the ability to drill down into overperformance and underperformance to see the causes and shift resources accordingly. Managers now have visibility into what sales teams are doing, including what’s working and what isn’t, helping inform next steps in the sales process.
Sellers, for their part, can create a plan to meet their quotas and understand which accounts to target with which sales offers. Marketers can design and deploy better campaigns, and operations can build the right number of devices. The greater visibility has increased collaboration and the sharing of best practices between individual sellers and account teams overall.
These new capabilities, which are in use across 95% of its global sales force, have enabled Microsoft’s Surface and Modern Workplace businesses to grow by 40% year over year. Microsoft continues to invest in its insights engine and has charged a new team with building on the foundation and bringing these capabilities to new business segments.
Want to dive deeper into the strategy of data-driven organizations? Listen to our Sales Analytics Webinar co-hosted by Christine Bell (Senior Director of Insights, Microsoft) to learn more about how we helped supercharge Microsoft’s Modern Workplace group through data analytics and insights.