Helen Fanucci is the global digital transformation sales leader at Microsoft where she helps sellers link what they sell to customers business outcomes. At Microsoft, they believe cultural transformation is key to digital transformation. Revenue leaders have to create the right culture for their organization.
Helen joined an impressive lineup of speakers at the 2018 Chief Sales Executive Annual Forum and gave her keynote titled: Revenue Leadership in a Digital Future. She shared some insights in this executive interview with Gary Tubridy of the Alexander Group.
Gary Tubridy: Hello Gary Tubridy here, senior vice president of the Alexander Group. I’m here with Helen Fanucci, global digital transformation sales leader at Microsoft. We’re at the 2018 Chief Sales Executive Forum. Helen, welcome.
Helen Fanucci: Thank you, Gary.
GT: Great to have you here. Thank you for joining us. So, tell me, digital? It’s a hot word. Everybody’s talking about it and Microsoft is in the middle of it, what are the digital trends that are impacting your business today?
HF: Yeah, well a few different things. Speed and time to market really matter. Technology’s moving at a fast pace. And also trust is key. So with everything connected to the internet, things can go wrong. You may have heard of a few breaches lately. And what really matters is actually how companies handle those situations. And so transparency and communicating generates trust and that really matters. We’ve gone from transacting to long term relationships and enabling success.
GT: So that leads to a second question. Transacting to enabling success, how does digital change the role of the revenue leader in the middle of all of that?
HF: Well, good question. So I think about it in two ways. There is internally within the company, there’s a role for the revenue leader because actually technology is changing faster than an organization’s ability to change.
So as it turns out, cultural transformation is key to digital transformation and a revenue leader has a key role within the organization and then with customers. Customers are expecting that we’re helping them deliver the business value that they expect from what we sell.
GT: Yeah. So this changes the role of a sales organization then in delivering value to the customer.
HF: Yeah, absolutely it does. And so when you think about it, what does it take to deliver value to the customer? There is a proliferation of data so we’re hiring more technical sellers to really help customers with the use of data.
Another aspect of it is many organizations are building up customer success teams. Again to help with the post-sales capability and making sure that the customers are getting the value that they’re looking for.
GT: Has digital then changed the value proposition that you bring to customers in a fundamental way?
HF: Well it has and in a world where cloud services are prevalent and subscription services are prevalent, customers can decide to turn it off if they’re not using it. And they really want to pay for what they’re using and use what they pay for.
GT: And they’re impatient.
HF: Well everyone is feeling the pressure of speeding up and doing things differently to be competitive. And so we’re, our business is built around helping customers by enabling them through our technology platform to deliver their own business success.
GT: Yeah, you are enabling customers to deliver their own success. They’re kind of getting a competitive edge by using your services.
HF: Yes they are. And one of the things that we do for our sellers is we give them case studies because we’ve mapped out the customer journey in many different industry scenarios and so we’re giving our sellers tools to help them help the customers to be competitive and we’ve also reorganized our sales organized to be industry focused. We actually have a tool that does data-driven cultural change.
GT: Data-driven? Tell me about that.
HF: It’s called Workplace Analytics. And what we’ve discovered is that sellers who are the top producers have 40 percent bigger networks inside the company and they’re in front of customers a third more. We can see that through data and then we can coach to that so it’s a tool we call Workplace Analytics and it’s pretty effective.
GT: Tell me about your role as the global digital transformation sales leader.
HF: My role is really all about helping our sellers link what they sell to customers business outcomes and so what we do early in the sales cycle is we sit down with our customers and we create a vision and outcome statement so we’re all on the same page and that kind of becomes our North star as to what the objective is for the project.
And then we also have developed a sales methodology called the Customer Decision Framework and that enables us to have a very predictable sales process. And we also sit down with the customer and go through that with them.
GT: Yeah, any examples of how you might have helped the customer.
HF: We’ve been able to help customers reduce their costs. We have some technology and tools. If you think about our Azure Cloud Service, it enables customers to be faster to market, more agile and take costs out of their business. You may have heard of GDPR, a European regulation. Well, our Azure Cloud Service has given companies tools to help them be able to conform to that regulation.
GT: So tell me about how your role as a digital transformation sales officer is going to change the business at Microsoft?
HF: So as I talked about, linking the sales process to outcomes. Another trend in digital transformation is that every company needs to get to market fast, including Microsoft. One of the projects I’m involved in right now is called Microsoft Managed Desktop and it is a brand new offering, and we have just launched it in a few markets.
And the idea there is to be able to work with some early adopter customers and get quick feedback and we’ve hired a small, separate sales team and so we’re working really tightly with engineering and we basically are learning and iterating and making the product richer and more functioned before we launch it more broadly.
GT: I was as a summit recently where we were talking with executives about this subject of digital and how it has so many definitions and how companies and executives can kind of get caught like “deer in the headlights.” I don’t know what to do with all of this. One of the pieces of advice that was offered consistent with what you just said is just pick something. Pick a pilot. Get in there, start, learn, iterate, and then do it again and learn some more. It sounds like you’ve refined that process rather nicely there.
HF: Yeah, it is really important to start someplace and get going and small chunks that you can measure, learn from and move forward are really key.
GT: So any challenges you see or that you anticipate?
HF: Every business nowadays is a digital business and so that makes it really hard to attract and retain technical talent because everyone’s vying for the same talent. And so, where I think about trends and challenges, it’s the people side that I worry about the most because it’s hard. It’s hard to change cultures. It’s hard to hire talent. Expectations of work changes with a growth of the millennial workforce so that’s where I think about.
GT: Helen thank you very much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
HF: Thanks, Gary. My pleasure.