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Microsoft VP Hayden Stafford said in his Keynote at Apttus Accelerate that “It’s not industries that are transforming, it’s companies transforming industries. More precisely it’s people transforming those companies.” As sales teams worldwide are increasingly looking to speed up the selling process and do more by leveraging applications like Dynamics 365, Office 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, I caught up with Hayden Stafford to find out more about Microsoft’s vision and the partnership with Apttus.

We also discuss how the traditional manufacturing space is changing rapidly with IoT and how together with Apttus and Dynamics 365 integrations, Microsoft is readying the manufacturing industry to digitally transform.

Hayden is a senior IT executive with 25 years of professional experience in consulting, marketing and sales at Ernst & Young LLP, IBM Corporation, Salesforce.com and most recently, Microsoft. Hayden has global experience living overseas as well as managing complex global business/IT consulting and sales organizations. He has extensive industry experiences in Financial Services and Health Care organizations.

Microsoft Hayden Stafford - Tech Blog Writer Podcast Apttus Accelerate

Prior to taking his new worldwide enterprise sales leadership role at Microsoft where is he responsible for Global Sales for Microsoft’s Enterprise Business Applications Business Unit – Dynamics 365, Hayden was the head of industry solution sales at Salesforce.com.

In this role, he was charged with building the new Industry Business Unit (IBU) and driving sales execution across the six focus industries the company deemed strategic to the business. Additionally, given his deep understanding of financial services customers, he was also the global head of the Financial Service Industry across all products where he was responsible for driving the overall strategy and growth of the FSI industry agenda.

Prior to Salesforce, Hayden was a Vice President and Managing Director at IBM. While at IBM, he was responsible for key Financial Markets and Retail Banking customers based in New York City with overall responsibility for global profit, revenue, signings, services delivery and client satisfaction. Key customer locations and business experience included NYC, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Transcription of the Podcast Interview

Hayden Stafford: I’m just celebrating my four year anniversary at Microsoft and I run the Microsoft business applications, also known as dynamics global sales and strategy team. I have been in the role for four years as I said, I came from salesforce.com and at sales force I was senior vice president of industry sales and I lead up the financial services business there as well and prior to that, a long career at IBM in sales, where I think the biggest part of my career was on Wall Street where I ran the sales teams across Wall Street with all the major banks and then long ago prior to that was at Ernst & Young for six years. So Ernst & Young, IBM, sales force, and Microsoft all in the consulting and sales space.

Neil: Wow. Fantastic. Obviously, we’re here at the Apttus accelerate in San Francisco. May I, first of all, commend you on how you won the crowd over and retain most of the crowd. I mean, Kudos to you. Was that a tough act to follow following Sir Richard Branson today?

Hayden: Yes. Very hard to follow an act of a man who is full of philanthropy, innovation, pushing the edge and just so well known and I was truly intimidated by that but had a little fun with it upfront, a little bit of self-deprecating humor, trying to find the one similarity between us but you know what? His message really resonated with me and the message I was going to give about what Microsoft is doing to help every person and organization on the planet to achieve more and that’s frankly what Richard was talking about, which is helping people, be more innovative, be more entrepreneurial and that’s what we really were talking about. So in the end, the theme was the same. Just following a night is a very hard thing.

Neil: Now did it surprise you last year when Apttus ported it? So originally sales force native application over to Microsoft as, I mean, that seems like an incredibly brave and equally ambitious move from the outside looking in.

Hayden: Yeah, absolutely. Kind of took me by surprise as I said, I came from sales force and Apttus was a major partner, platinum, diamond, whatever you want to call it, sponsor and virtually in every one of their events and we’ve started to see a lot of customers move from SalesForce to Microsoft Dynamics. We’ve seen a lot of partners move, but none at the level of Apttus right?

I mean, built, born and bred on that forest platform from sales force, so I was a little surprised and a little skeptical at first and just thought it was maybe a bit of a marketing play to be able to play both sides of the field and make sure that they were in the game, but over the, over the year plus starting to see a lot of activity, a lot of commitment from Kirk and Niihau all the way down that indeed this partnership is for real, that the technology platform is integrated. Now that’s an azure statement.

We’ve, I think we’re doing good work integrating the CPQ and CLM stuff with our dynamics CRM. We have a little bit more ways to go, but there’s a commitment and when there’s a will, there’s a way. So I like what I’m seeing.

My biggest problem though is getting customers to start to see that and understand why they did it and you know, knowing that they have come off sales force as their CRM application to dynamics and we are using their stuff within Microsoft. That says a lot.

Neil: Absolutely. So is this your first time at the annual accelerate event and assimilate, must attend a lot of conferences all over the world. Is there anything about this one that excites you? Or indeed stands out about the event or indeed the direction the Apttus is taking?

Hayden: Yeah, this is my first time here because I said at SalesForce I had a lot of experience with their ends but first time at this, in particular being a Microsoft employee, first-class event, first of all, the facility. Love the facility, the stage, the setup. So the aesthetics, you know, the physical nature of it, just impressive. Just really a dynamite set up there on stage and with the graphics in the videos, quality of the speakers now as we’ve already talked about, Sir Richard Branson…

Neil: And the guy that followed him of course.

Hayden: The guy that followed him of course, but the really high-quality speakers, but most impressive I think of this event is a true customer-oriented focus, right? I mean, I had an Apttus customer and dynamics partner onstage and everywhere I looked there is a customer being called out. There’s a customer speaker, there’s a customer case study on one of the placards in the hallways, very well done event, very well done.

Neil: Well, the big themes this year appear to be around the fact that people don’t really want to buy a product anymore. They want to buy an experience and it’s about the relationship over the transaction. So our businesses you speak with paying attention to that message and how will they be getting to shape the customer experience as a result of that?

Hayden: No question. First of all, you know, you probably have seen and your listeners have probably seen the data that customers have already done half the sales cycle before they even engage in the sale. I’ve seen everything in between 60 and 80 percent of the sales cycle is done before the first call. Our customers are very, very well informed. They’ve done their research, they’ve already done the reference checks. So there’s really two elements of the sales cycle that is just so damn important.

Of course, the product, of course, the price, but it’s the trust of the relationship. And what I mean by that, it’s not, I’m a good guy, you’re a good guy, you can trust me, but that I understand your business. I’m speaking in your context. I know what your pain points are, I am challenging you to be a little bit more aggressive to think about how you can beat your competitors, and win over new customers in adjacent spaces, really speaking in their language that that’s one element. I

t’s that trust element of speaking in their language, but then the most important piece of the customer engagement is the life after the sale, the engagement after the sale, the commitment, whether it’s a customer success manager or executive sponsors that stay involved after the sale to point out blind spots or weak spots where they’re not using the product correctly or helping them when they’ve hit a speed bump or when things go bump in the night.

That customer experience, I talked about it on stage this morning actually, that the customer experience that we all should be striving for. Whether you make a product, you deliver a service, you’re a bank, you’re a government is all about the experience. It’s all about service. We are all in a service-based economy, we are all service based providers, even if we sell a product and it’s all about the experience, the whole way through the sales process pre during and post.

Neil: So I noticed that Brian Garcia for Microsoft is onstage at Apttus accelerate too this week and he’s talking about turning relationships into revenue. Like can you offer a few spoilers on that keynote for anyone listening that cannot attend the event this week?

Hayden: Yeah, Brian’s a great guy. He’s been working in my org for a while and I just, I love him. He’s very socially present, people follow him a lot on Twitter, etc.

We made an acquisition of LinkedIn. We announced it about 19, 20 months ago. We closed the acquisition about 15 months ago. What a great, great thing for dynamics. The sales navigator element of LinkedIn has really differentiated us and set us apart and what I mean by that is when you integrate relationship insights, relationship connections into CRM, you’ve really just immediately overnight converted a CRM tool from a management reporting and a management oversight tool to a seller enabled tool, meaning you’re bringing the seller insights to who their relationships are, how strong the relationship is. So you really making it a seller’s tool versus a manager’s tool and that’s important, that’s important to get adoption.

It’s the proverbial carrot of the carrot and the stick. Brian knows social selling inside and out and he’s actually got a very high what’s called SSI, Social Selling Index. We track that with our sellers is how high do they, how much do they use social selling to engage their sales process. So we track SSI, of our AEs and our specialists, and Brian’s a key player in that and LinkedIn is a key player to our success in this space and stay tuned, there’s a lot more with LinkedIn, not just sales navigator. There is the whole learning and enablement stuff around Linda and what that can do for our talent solutions and Brian is the guy who taglines turning relationships into revenue and it is, it is very true.

Neil: I’m glad you brought that up because I think LinkedIn is evolving, very interesting for my own point of view of what you’re going to bring to that as a user. So watch this space is the message.

Hayden: Definitely watch this space. I’ll give you a little teaser. Can I?

Neil: Yeah, absolutely.

Hayden: Well, yeah, you know, a lot of our competitors have integration in the sales navigator. That was one of the attributes of the acquisitions. We needed to remain kind of Switzerland, if you will, with their data but when you start using your CRM information, your LinkedIn information, and then your email and your collaboration from Skype information, you start building a total picture of relationship health of sentiment, of intent.

You know, I know this person, I’ve got five degrees of connections within the business. I get that through LinkedIn. I know from emails that this guy is opening my emails right away and he’s passing them to other individuals. He’s opening it multiple times. All that stuff. Ran through the right algorithms and machine learning starts to tell you what’s, you know, what’s the diagnosis of this opportunity? We’re not quite there yet, but that’s where ML and AI is going with this acquisition and the totality of the Microsoft product portfolio.

Neil: Can you tell me more about how you’ve seen the traditional manufacturing space changing rapidly with IOT and also have together with Apttus dynamics 3 6 5 integrations.

Microsoft’s is actually reading the manufacturing industry to digitally transform.

Hayden: you know, who would have thought? I would have said this, but the manufacturing space is the most really one of the most fun to sell into and I think the partnership that we have with Apttus and what Apptus is doing with the manufacturing. What we’re doing in manufacturing is incredible and What I mean by that is, and bear with me, I talked about it on stage this morning. You know manufacturers used to be the sleepy mom and pop disintermediated. The manufacturer from the buyer. You have manufacturer’s reps, distribution engines, really no connection. They sold the product. They may be, came back in, service it later.

Now manufacturers are putting sensor devices and everything they build, they’re moving from a product based business to a service based business. You know, we have got a great customer that manufacturers airline engines. They made a hell of a lot of money over history building engines and selling them. Now they’re still making good money there. They’re in the house it using those engines as a service model, so they’re selling hours of uptime of an engine.

We’ve got car tire manufacturers that are no longer just selling tires or selling the data of the IOT sensors in the tires about what’s the road conditions like, how many takeoffs and landings, speed information that can be sold back to OEMs about how cars perform. This is cool stuff. Then when you integrate all this sensoring data into your CRM or your field service and together with your contract lifecycle management, manufacturing is a very difficult space.

Competitive, cutthroat on pricing. It’s all about time to value, so it’s about preemptive and predictive maintenance on equipment before it goes bad. That’s what field services with our CRM, with emphasis CLM, Contract Lifecycle Management. It’s about compressing time to quote how quickly can you get a quote out? How accurate is that quote? We know and Apttus knows that if you respond to a quote within a day, you’ve got a 90% chance of closing that opportunity over your competition. If you wait longer than a day that you know the percentages go down.

So together between CRM and all the elements of this of the CLM and CPQ, frankly, I keep talking about CLM, but Configuration Pricing Quote from Apttus is about reducing times to market, delighting your customers and empowering your sellers to get the quote out the door and the contract signed.

Neil: Well, if they do have any CEOs listening or that had been fascinated or intrigued by the subjects that we’ve talked about today, particularly in manufacturing as well, and they’re unsure of what to do next. There’s a lot of companies where they’re stuck with the old way of doing things. They know they need to change, but they don’t know how to. What’s the best way of staying in touch with you guys? Maybe reaching out to a member of your team or just keeping up to date with the latest developments?

Hayden: Yeah. Well, of course you can always find me out on twitter. It’s at HaydenEStafford. I have a social presence on LinkedIn as well and you can find me at Hayden Stafford on LinkedIn. I do quite a few blogs, articles. I do them about every other month about what we’re thinking within Microsoft about selling social selling field service, you know, all this, this kind of stuff. But of course, come to the Microsoft site website, engage us through our websites. You can communicate, engage and see what’s happening with dynamics by MSF dynamics 3 6 5 on twitter. We’re listening, we’re engaging and then of course in the end, contact your local sales team with Microsoft and we’d be happy to speak with you.

Neil: Well, I’d add all those links to the show notes, just so people can find you nice and easily but more than anything I appreciate how busy, you been back to back interviews all day, so I really appreciate you taking the time to come and speak with me today, so thank you.

Hayden: You bet. It was my pleasure. Thank you.

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