Drilling down on Microsoft’s new plan to sell to consumers

Microsoft is revamping its sales structure and plans in the hopes of digitally transforming not just its business customers, but consumers, too.

Microsoft, these days, is first and foremost a business services and software company. But the company is not letting go of that elusive goal of expanding its footprint in selling to consumers, too.

On July 3, Microsoft execs shared internally the company’s latest reorg plan designed to deliver more commercial (business) and consumer dollars. By the way, for folks interested in keeping score at home, that memo, of which I’ve seen a copy, mentions the word “cloud” once and the word “mobile” once. (So much for that old cloud first/mobile first mantra.) It mentions the word “digital” in the context of digital transformation 13 times.

Microsoft management and Judson Althoff, the Executive Vice President of Worldwide Commercial Business Group and author of the memo, are extending the use of the digital transformation buzzword beyond businesses.

“Digital transformation is enabling new people-centered experiences that span work, school and home, as well as enabling new routes to market that put consumers in control of how they buy, consume and engage with brands they love,” he wrote.

Microsoft plans to try to get consumers to want the same “creativity tools” that they use in the workplace in their homes. These tools include Surface, Windows device and Office 365, according to the memo. Microsoft also is looking at gaming tools and experiences, like eSports, game broadcasting (via Mixer) and mixed reality content as part of this set of tools, too.

In an attempt to grow the market for these tools, Microsoft is making some tweaks to its Marketing and Consumer Business segment, the memo said. Consumer and Device sales teams in the field will now report into the centralized Consumer and Devices Sales (CDS) team in Microsoft’s Marketing and Consumer Business (MCB). Microsoft officials believe this will help the company better work with ecosystem partners to “earn fans around the world.”

Microsoft also is trying to create a single sales engine “with one voice to customers, partners and employees” to support its “biggest and best partners” in the consumer and device space. Additionally, Microsoft plans to launch new vertical IoT solutions and pursue new markets, including voice, mixed reality and artificial intelligence, the memo said.

Microsoft also will share metrics between consumer and commercial for Windows 10 Enterprise deployments, new Windows 10 Pro devices, go-to-market information around Education, IoT and Modern Workplace (i.e., making Office more compelling to millennials). And it will team with commercial on shared compete activities aimed at Chromebooks and iPads, the memo stipulated.

As I noted earlier this week, Microsoft’s various July 3 sales reorg memos do not mention the expected layoffs the company is rumored to be making. We should get an indication this week how deep Microsoft will cut into its roughly 50,000-strong sales and marketing force as part of its latest reorg moves.

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