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Scorecard - Microsoft Software + Services
Grade Yourself with the Key Success Factors Scorecard

Use the scorecard below to assess your business against the 8 Key Success Factors and determine where you should focus your energy to improve your hosting fitness score.

 Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Competitive Differentiation
Provider is offering the exact same service offering as other providers (perhaps based on third-party technologies) with no opportunity for true differentiation, resulting in a Red Ocean in which the only remaining competetive differentiator is price.
Provider's offering is functionally equivalent to that of other providers, resulting in a "my feature X beats your feature X" competitive differentiation tactic, but ultimately resulting in a price-competitive sale.
Provider has differentiated from the competition by bundling additional services or capabilities not offered by the competition.
Provider has differentiated with a vertical market focus with vertical (or micro-market) specific add-on capabilities/features.
Provider has differentiated with a vertical market focus with vertical (or micro-market) specific add-on capabilities/features.
Messaging & Positioning
Positioning is completely product- and feature-centric. Positioning is effective only for customers who already know what they need and are already familiar with the specific application domain.
Still product- and feature-centric positioning with progress towards customer-centric benefits positioning. Typically a lack of consistent application of messaging across all channels and collateral.
Customer-centric positioning with benefits (e.g. Anytime, Anywhere access), then supporting benefits points, then features as appropriate. Consistent application of messaging throughout ALL collateral.
Best Practice positioning based on a well-defined messaging and position framework (see template). Customer-centric positioning that blends customer benefit as the solution for the customer pain point/problem.
Vertical (e.g. Real Estate), Horizontal specialization (e.g. Finance), or other micro-market specific positioning. User focus groups or surveys are proactively used to incorporate customer feedback into product life-cycle.
Packaging & Pricing
Typically characterized by uncompetitive pricing, minimum contract terms, minimum number of users, confusing pricing, too many tiers of service, and multiple tiers instead of "add-on" options.
Competitive pricing and correct packaging, but actively working to eliminate other inhibitors (e.g. contract minimums).
Small number (2-3) of different customer/user "plans" that align correctly with end-user or customer personas. Value differentiation between different price plans is clear and significant.
Some type of unique differentiation of packaging or pricing that sets the provider apart from the rest of the pack.
Micro-market specific packaging/bundling of service with vertically focused add-ons. Market research used to understand customer price-point sensitivities.
Web Driven Business
Customers are unable to find offering, presentation is confusing, no online self-subscription is available.
Customers can search, find, and buy. Provider is actively working to ensure that all of the information required to make a successful buying decision is on the website and correctly presented, eliminating any final inhibitors to selling.
Best-practice site that allows customers to 1) Search; 2) Find; 3) Self Qualify; 4) Try (free trial where possible); 5) Make the buying decision; 6) Buy; 7) Activate. Website is the focal point of the business.
Differentiated sub-sites and/or landing pages aligned with best-practice positioning of value proposition according to messaging and positioning framework
Micro-market sales sites for specific vertical markets (e.g. real-estate). Fully integrated PPC/SEO and proactive analysis of Web analytics
Demand Generation
No PPC/SEO campaigns. Other demand-generation activities (e.g. print ads, direct mail, etc) do not leverage the website.
PPC/SEO and other demand-generation capabilities are leveraged, but with some inhibiting factors that limit their effectiveness (e.g. mismatch between PPC terms and landing page positioning). Active progress is being made to eliminate remaining inhibitors.
Makes use of proactive PPC/SEO campaigns. All demand-generation activities lead to one place -- the website.
Demand-generation campaigns drive to a specific sub-site or landing page. All campaign activities are well coordinated and integrated. Proactive PPC/SEO campaign management with periodic (e.g. bi-weekly) refinement.
Micro-market specific demand-generation campaigns with integration across all forms of demand generation (e.g. PPC, banner ads, e-mail, direct mail, print)
Online Customer Experience
No self-signup capability, direct sales interaction required. No self-administration offered.
Self-guided signup, support, and/or self-administration offered but inhibited in some way -- e.g. overly complex registration process, complex activation. Active progress is being made to eliminate remaining inhibitors.
Self-guided sales experience, self-administration capabilities, no barriers to sale via website, or phone. Easy signup and activation.
Integrated online knowledge base and live-chat for both sales support and post-sales support. Proactive e-mail communication during first 30-60 days provides training, tips, tricks, and so on.
Integrated up-sell and cross-sell activities into customer "control panel". Proactive and ongoing customer feedback management (surveys of customer panels by segment to assess overall customer experience, satisfaction, and future needs).
Direct & Indirect Sales
Direct sales only. No proactive lead qualification. No customer segmentation by size or industry. Characterized by tendency to focus too far up-market. Long sales cycles. Lack of "solution specialist" capability results in inability to overcome common objections.
Direct sales, indirect channels, tele-sales, but with ineffective processes for lead qualification and routing of leads to "best qualified" channel. Provider is actively working to train sales and revise processes to improve effectiveness.
Proactive management of direct sales, inside sales, and channel partners. Focus on customer segmentation and lead qualification. Proactive training. Overlay sales team with deep solution expertise supports all channels.
Integrated lead/opportunity flow for channel partners. Mature process for lead qualification and routing of leads. Customer segmentation and qualification "drives" the opportunity management. Willing to "walk away" from bad opportunities.
Vertical or micro-market focused channel partners with lead flow integrated into micro-marketing campaigns. Channel partner branded sales sites. Integration of channel partner into knowledge base, live chat, and so on.
Organizational Effectiveness
Ad-hoc organizational and departmental behaviors with a lack of internal alignment towards achieving a common vision or business objectives.
Good executive leadership in place committed to driving change and improving business performance by driving improvements in accordance with the "key success factors".
Organizational alignment around business objectives and customer needs. Organizational ability to repeatedly follow a relatively short and defined life-cycle for the successful introduction of new or revised product offerings.
Strong executive sponsorship for improving existing offerings and adding new value-added service offerings. Proven organizational agility and rapid time-to-market in response to competitive threats.
Organization is designed and internally aligned for change. Specific processes for continuous improvement. Healthy balance of management (stability) and leadership (fostering change).
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