How to tell when your Microsoft sales team is lying to you…

Author: Steven Zolman

It’s been said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. To this list I propose to add “not really a lie, technically, but it certainly isn’t the whole truth and some people might consider it downright misleading”

A case in point: Microsoft sales teams are fond of saying that “Enterprise Agreement customers receive an approximately 15 percent platform discount’ versus other licensing options. Technically, this is true: if you were to purchase exactly the same mix of products via some other licensing program such as Select, you would pay more. But it’s also somewhat irrelevant and misleading when it’s used as an argument in favor of an EA versus a Select Agreement… because one the key features of the Select program is the customer’s ability to choose only the products they really need; while a key feature of the EA is it’s bundle of products.

Another commonplace example of mis-direction: clients frequently ask for a pricing comparison of EA versus Select pricing for a given portfolio of products. Microsoft will frequently supply this comparison, showing EA pricing, and Select pricing. So far, so good. But, knowing that Microsoft prefers to sell EA’s versus Select, you’ll want to closely inspect the Select prices… are they discounted “street” prices, or list pricing? Which one would be the more accurate benchmark for comparison? You decide.

I could go on; one thing I’ve come to respect about Microsoft and their sales teams over the past 16 years is their amazing degree of ‘message discipline” or as it’s commonly called, “wordsmithing.” When you’re seeking answers to your questions about licensing, keep in mind that you may have a different definition of “answering the questin truthfully” than your sales team.

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