The story or the product?
Today, in chatting with an MS sales rep re: the challenges of selling Microsoft CRM [CRM=Customer Relationship Management software], I had a real-world example staring me in the face.
I've been calling it Microsoft's "Cool Hand Luke" problem for a while now and this is no different.
"SalesForce," he says, "starts off a customer call with the F-18 cockpit view of your sales and marketing situation. It's a dashboard, there are lights. People get it."
"We start off with 'this is how CRM integrates into Outlook. We talk about features. It's a completely different approach."
Microsoft's CRM may be a superior product in many ways, but the company is having a hard time telling the story about it.
When I sold SQL Server 2005, I never started off with all the reasons why it was better than Oracle or DB2 or whatever. No, I said..."every presentation will start off with a screenshot or demo of Balanced Scorecard Manager (now Performance Point), because within 20 seconds, any executive in the room will say, "I want that! I NEED that!"
And they did.
Microsoft has the pieces of a great story. They just need to be woven together.