Aligning to Microsoft Sales Metrics

For startups aspiring to collaborate with Microsoft, it is crucial to understand the significance of aligning themselves with key go-to-market strategies and other business standards. Microsoft is a global technology leader with a vast ecosystem, and partnering with them offers startups a unique opportunity to leverage their resources, network, and brand recognition.

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

With almost 18 years in the Microsoft ecosystem, my guidance to new partners has remained the same: The key to working with Microsoft is understanding what metrics are most important to your Microsoft contacts, and then showing them how you can help them meet or exceed their metrics.

The value is perfectly clear: By aligning with Microsoft’s go-to-market standards, startups can tap into Microsoft’s extensive customer base, distribution channels, and sales expertise, providing them with access to a broader market and increased visibility. Moreover, adhering to Microsoft’s business standards ensures compatibility and integration with their existing products and services, enhancing the potential for joint solutions and partnerships. This alignment also fosters a sense of trust and credibility among customers, investors, and other stakeholders, as it demonstrates the startup’s commitment to quality, interoperability, and long-term collaboration.

In short, aligning with Microsoft’s go-to-market and business standards is vital for startups seeking to maximize their growth potential, access new markets, and establish themselves as reliable partners within the technology industry.

So what are the critical Microsoft Sales metrics around which a partner should align themselves?

  • Azure consumption refers to the usage and utilization of Microsoft Azure services and resources by individuals or organizations. Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform that offers a wide range of services, including virtual machines, storage, databases, networking, artificial intelligence, and more. Azure consumption is measured based on the amount of resources consumed, such as compute hours, storage capacity, data transfers, and other factors. The consumption can vary depending on the specific services used, the duration of usage, the scale of operations, and the number of users accessing the resources. Azure consumption is typically billed on a pay-as-you-go model, where customers are charged based on their actual resource usage, allowing for flexibility and scalability as per the needs of the business or project. Monitoring and optimizing Azure consumption are important aspects for organizations to effectively manage costs, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure optimal performance of their applications and services running on the Azure platform.
  • Teams MAU stands for “Microsoft Teams Monthly Active Users.” Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and communication platform that enables individuals and teams to work together, communicate, and share information in real-time. MAU refers to the number of unique users who actively engage with Microsoft Teams within a given month. This metric provides insights into the popularity and adoption of the Teams platform among users. Monthly Active Users are counted based on the unique individuals who perform actions within Teams during the specified month, such as sending messages, participating in meetings, accessing files, or using other collaboration features. Tracking Teams MAU allows Microsoft to assess the platform’s usage, user engagement, and overall growth over time, helping to evaluate the success and impact of Teams as a collaboration tool in the market.
  • IP co-sell ready refers to a status or designation given to a product or solution that is ready for joint selling or co-selling with Microsoft. IP stands for “Intellectual Property,” which in this context refers to a unique and innovative software application, solution, or service developed by a third-party partner. Co-selling is a collaborative sales approach where Microsoft and its partners work together to promote and sell their respective offerings to customers.When a product or solution is labeled as “IP co-sell ready,” it means that it has met the criteria set by Microsoft for integration, compatibility, quality, and market readiness. These criteria may include technical requirements, adherence to Microsoft’s guidelines and best practices, successful completion of certification processes, and alignment with Microsoft’s go-to-market strategies. By attaining the IP co-sell ready status, the partner’s product or solution is recognized as being compatible with Microsoft technologies and can be jointly marketed and sold to customers through Microsoft’s sales channels.Being IP co-sell ready offers several benefits to the partner, including increased visibility, access to Microsoft’s customer base and sales resources, marketing support, and the potential for business growth. It also signifies a level of trust and validation from Microsoft, enhancing the partner’s credibility and market positioning. Overall, the IP co-sell ready status represents a strategic opportunity for partners to leverage Microsoft’s resources and market reach to drive sales and accelerate the adoption of their innovative offerings.
  • The Microsoft E3 to E5 upgrade refers to the process of transitioning from a Microsoft 365 E3 subscription plan to a Microsoft 365 E5 subscription plan. Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive productivity and collaboration suite that includes various applications such as Microsoft Office, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Teams, and more.The E3 and E5 plans are different tiers within the Microsoft 365 subscription offerings, each offering a different set of features and capabilities. The E3 plan provides core productivity and security features, including Office applications, email hosting, cloud storage, and basic security features like data loss prevention and rights management.On the other hand, the E5 plan offers advanced functionality and additional security features. It includes all the features of the E3 plan and adds more advanced capabilities, such as advanced threat protection, advanced security management, cloud-based telephony, advanced compliance and data governance tools, and advanced analytics features.The upgrade from E3 to E5 typically involves subscribing to the E5 plan and migrating or activating the additional features and services that come with it. This upgrade provides organizations with enhanced security, compliance, and productivity features, allowing them to access a broader range of tools and capabilities to meet their business needs.

    It’s important to note that the E5 plan usually comes at a higher cost compared to the E3 plan, as it offers more advanced and comprehensive features. Organizations considering the E3 to E5 upgrade should carefully assess their requirements, security needs, and budget to determine if the additional features and benefits of the E5 plan justify the increased cost.

  • Microsoft Graph real or emulated users is about the consumption of graph resources. Microsoft Graph is an API (Application Programming Interface) provided by Microsoft that allows developers to access and interact with data and resources across various Microsoft services, such as Office 365, Azure Active Directory, and more.Microsoft Graph is a powerful API that enables developers to access data and insights from various Microsoft services, enhancing the integration and functionality of applications and services across the Microsoft ecosystem.Microsoft’s metrics and priorities can encompass a range of factors, including revenue generation, user engagement, product adoption, and more. Microsoft Graph’s consumption is likely to contribute to these areas in the following ways:
    • User Engagement and Adoption: Higher consumption of Microsoft Graph often indicates increased usage of Microsoft’s services and applications. More interactions with Microsoft Graph might suggest that users are effectively integrating and utilizing Microsoft’s products, such as Microsoft 365, Teams, SharePoint, and more.
    • Product Stickiness: Microsoft Graph’s consumption can be a measure of how “sticky” Microsoft’s products are in users’ workflows. If applications and services are effectively utilizing Microsoft Graph, it can enhance the overall value proposition of Microsoft’s ecosystem, leading to higher user retention.
    • Monetization and Revenue: Depending on the specifics of the services using Microsoft Graph, its consumption might have a direct or indirect impact on Microsoft’s revenue. Services that rely heavily on Microsoft Graph might lead to increased subscription renewals or upsells to premium tiers.
    • Developer Ecosystem: Microsoft Graph is integral to building third-party applications that integrate with Microsoft’s services. High consumption of Microsoft Graph might indicate a thriving developer ecosystem, which can drive innovation and expand Microsoft’s reach.
    • Data Insights: The data collected through Microsoft Graph usage can provide valuable insights into user behavior, preferences, and trends. This information can guide Microsoft’s decision-making processes and product development strategies.
    • Digital Transformation Initiatives: Microsoft has been focusing on digital transformation and cloud-based solutions. Consumption of Microsoft Graph aligns with these initiatives, showcasing how businesses are adopting cloud-centric workflows and technologies.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and business, aligning with Microsoft’s core sales metrics has never been more crucial. These metrics, including Azure consumption, Teams MAU, IP co-sell readiness, E3 to E5 upgrades, and Microsoft Graph users, provide a roadmap to success within the Microsoft ecosystem.

However, as we navigate the dynamic shifts in the industry, it’s important to recognize that these metrics are not static; they evolve year by year. With the emergence of groundbreaking advancements like Microsoft Copilot and AI capabilities, priorities are poised to change, opening new avenues for growth and collaboration.

The importance of aligning with Microsoft’s core sales metrics cannot be overstated. We must remain vigilant, understanding that the technological landscape is ever-shifting. With each stride forward, we bring the potential for new solutions, better outcomes, and enhanced user experiences. The rise of Microsoft Copilot and AI capabilities is reshaping the way we work, learn, and create. To navigate this evolving terrain successfully, maintaining open lines of communication with our Microsoft leads is paramount. We must stay attuned to changing priorities, evolving metrics, and emerging opportunities. By doing so, we position ourselves not just as observers of change but as drivers of progress.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

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