Neal Bradbury is Senior Director of Business Development for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of backup and data protection solutions for managed services providers.
Tip #1: Change Your O365 Sales Status From Advisor to CSP
Neil writes that before MSPs can start selling Microsoft Office 365, they must determine which Microsoft program to employ. Several value-added distributors and master cloud service providers recommend channel partners use the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme, the esteemed programme to which First Distribution was recently awarded entry.
The CSP program offers a few key advantages over other Microsoft partner licensing models (such as Advisor) including:
· You can retain ownership of customer relationships: Unlike other Office 365 programs that require partners to turn over the sale – including the billing and support – to Microsoft, the Microsoft CSP programme enables channel partners to retain complete ownership of their customer relationships. This makes it much easier to bundle with professional services such as helpdesk support.
· You earn higher commissions: Under the current Microsoft Advisor program, channel partners earn just 3% margins on Office 365 subscriptions. The CSP programme, on the other hand, provides partners with margins that are 11% or higher. Additionally, distributors and master cloud service providers often add financial incentives to attract channel partners to sign up with them, which can boost first year CSP subscription commissions to 16 percent or higher.
Tip #2: Make Office 365 Part of Your BDR Plan
Neil suggests that putting value-added services in place around Office 365 can increase revenues, and that adding an extra layer of security and protection can pay off as customers’ apps and data are moved into the cloud.
“The key” he says “to preventing cloud offerings from eating into your BDR margins is to avoid treating BDR as a task-based IT function. Instead, you should view it as a strategic business process.”
Tip #3: Add Data Protection to Every Office 365 Sale
Here, MSPs need to counter the assumption by customers that if they are using a cloud service from a reputable provider like Amazon, Google or Microsoft, they don’t need to worry about security.
Neil contends that in addition to an enterprise-grade BDR solution, clients need an email security service with advanced threat detection capabilities that fills in the email security, data archiving, business continuity and compliance requirements that are missing from Office 365. These services add value for clients, and in the case of security and archiving, are required for certain vertical markets such as healthcare and finance.
Tip #4: Most Office 365 Sales Need Cloud Migration Services
Cloud migration is not always a simple, straightforward process. As Neil states: “Depending on a variety of factors – such as the number of employees, amount of data and industry regulations – data migration projects can take months of planning to ensure everything goes smoothly. Getting involved in this process early on and providing consulting and migration services is a great way to ease your customers’ frustrations and uncover additional incremental revenue opportunities along the way.”
In addition to the CSP programme, First Distribution has numerous other cloud initiatives designed to aid resellers and business partners in smoothing transition to the cloud. These include cloud services brokerage First for Cloud, the Cloud Catalyst Programme and its very own hosted solutions division.
For more information on any of these, contact your First Distribution account manager.