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Microsoft re-assures Dynamics 365 Business Central partners after sales lead squabble

by Jason Gumpert

Microsoft has started testing new methods to qualify and route certain types of Dynamics 365 Business Central sales leads from its own web properties to partners. In a new post on LinkedIn, Microsoft Business Applications SMB VP Mike Morton wrote that the new approach aims to "optimize the customer experience of those coming to Microsoft assets… and best route them to partners."

Morton sent this message to his LinkedIn followers in resopnse to a tweet and a more detailed LinkedIn post the previous day by Microsoft MVP James Crowter. Crowter, who is also CEO of partner firm Technology Management Limited in the UK, noticed the new and exclusive position that another Microsoft partner, Bam Boom Cloud, had been given on Microsoft's web properties for visitors requesting a Business Central trial. After testing a range of behavior patterns on Microsoft's site by answering visitor questions, Crowter concluded in his post that "any answer to those questions that indicate you don’t need the extended licence (i.e. manufacturing or service) and are below 11 users, will take you to a page that recommends Bam Boom’s service packages exclusively."

In his response, Morten explained that the ongoing trial, which does in fact include only one partner, is of limited scope, both in terms of geography (US and UK) and in terms of the number of leads getting passed along. He wrote:

We chose to start the pilot with one partner to enable fast iteration, where we will learn about ‘stages of the funnel’. This will include drop off rates when giving a customers [sic] a survey, asking them to sign-in, checklist experiences, etc…If the pilot is successful, our intent is to expand broadly across partners and geographies. It will be inclusive and not specific to any partner (or small set of partners). 

Microsoft had alerted some UK partners about their plans to route prospects meeting criteria like the ones above to partners that could offer "a fully digitally guided experience which would not just give the prospect the ability to transact (purchase licences and service packages) online but also self-serve to go live within 14 days," Crowter reported.

He also noted details of the Microsoft web experience that concerned him more than the endorsement of one of his competitors. First, the recommendation of Bam Boom Cloud came from Microsoft within their own Business Central product marketing site, giving it a stronger feeling of authentic endorsement. 

Crowter also expressed concern over why Microsoft can't use what it already knows about its Business Central partners to match them with inbound leads based on factors like industry, country, and company size. He wrote:

Does Microsoft not understand which partners target which type of prospects? Wow, that one commercial partner stuff we all spent so much time on did fail, didn’t it? Appsource service offers anyone?

And perhaps most serious to Crowter was the matter of Microsoft failing to recommend to existing on-premises NAV and BC customers to work with their existing partner rather recommending a new one immediately. He wrote (with his bold emphasis):

That means Microsoft is directly targeting moving existing Dynamics customers who might well still be paying maintenance etc., to move to the cloud with a different partner without giving the existing partner any opportunity. Just wrong loyalty-destroying behaviour that cannot be justified. That is crossing a red line for me.

In December, Microsoft named company veteran Cecilia Flombaum to the newly created strategic position of Senior Director Scale Growth in the engineering group. In an interview, she told MSDW that developing new tactics to accelerate on-prem Business Central customers' path to the cloud is a key objective, but she also noted the goal of keeping customers with their partners. For example, she said:

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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