There has been a veritable revolution with the arrival of cloud computing. Although most businesses now see the value add from relying in cloud based solutions, many companies need some level of value-selling before they can move to Office 365. While MSPs traditionally have been installing Exchange servers, reselling hardware, and helping to manage those environments, there is a great new opportunity to sell Office 365. Historically, many MSPs have been reselling collaboration services, like Exchange and hosted email, meaning the jump to reselling Office 365 is easy to make.
How to do resell Office 365 successfully?
Package your offers
The first step you need to take is to choose the partner program for reselling Office 365. Overall, there are three programs available – Advisor, Open, and CSP (Cloud solution provider). It is highly recommended to choose the CSP program, as it represents the most rapidly growing and profitable way to resell Office 365. The CSP program permits you to sell Microsoft solutions with your own services and offerings. Under this program, complete ownership of the customer relationship lies with you, in terms of management, provisioning, direct billing, and support. The features offered by the CSP program are as follows:
- Partner-controlled margins
- Monthly billing flexibility
- One stop shop
- Free migration support
- 24/7/365 premium support for free
- Automated renewal
- Automated provisioning
Under Microsoft’s CSP program, you will bill and own the relationship and will have full administration access to the customer’s platform. You will get access to a basic support and knowledge base. You will handle customer support and pay for customer migration and tools.
There are several advantages with choosing a CSP partner other than Microsoft. Many partners provide support for all issues with a short response time. Many partners also provide migration support for all your clients with no minimum limits for the number of users. In terms of customer support, you can have the partner handle it or do it yourself. The signup processes are also automated, and you can get going in literally 15 minutes with some of these partners. The advantage of working with a partner is you won’t need to commit major capital investments immediately, and your go to market strategy becomes easy to implement. This means you can become profitable easily.
Aspects to consider when choosing a partner program
There are a few important aspects to consider when choosing our partner program. Here they are:
- Recurring monthly margins and revenue
Ensure you look closely at the partner’s business model and ensure you understand the spending thresholds, monthly fees, and margins.
- Reselling programs
Spend time thinking about what kind of program would be best for you and then choose the program from the right provider. Would you like to resell under your name with a white label partnership, or do you want to refer clients to the provider while earning a commission in the process?
- Support when you need it
It is very important you tie up with a provider who offers free around the clock support. Apart from knowledge repositories and online communities, you should be able to get reliable support via phone, email, and chat.
- API integration
Tie up with a partner who offers automated services through API integration. Otherwise, you might have to wait many days to provision your Office 365 subscription and suffer a complicated billing process.
- Access to account managers or business specialists
- Access to solution architects or pre-sales support
- Access to one on one trainers, workshops, and webinars
- True hands-on customer migration services
- Partner and end customer support
- Access to white label partner portal and partner toolbox
Provide extra value-added services and other recommendations
Offer some bundled services around the subscription you are reselling. Merely relying on the monthly recurring margins may not do. Here are a few services you should try selling:
- Implementation and integration services
Most SMB’s require assistance and training to use the features of Office 365. As they use Office 365, they will have a lot of questions about all the new functionality they are seeing. You can position yourself as a training partner, even if it is done for free. Free training can open many opportunities for you down the line.
- Providing managed services and support on a monthly or annual basis
It is often a great idea to sell managed services and support at a fixed rate per user or customer, instead of charging per incident or hour, which is the case for on-premise support. There are two reasons you can offer this – One, you can avoid many disruptions due to proactive, remote monitoring, and two, cloud solutions require much less support than an on-premise solution due to the occurrence of fewer issues and less time to resolve them.
- Market yourself properly and upsell.
- Learn to differentiate yourself from other resellers.
- Choose a target market and tap social media marketing.
- Identify common client problems and sell better.
- Prepare yourself to face various types of client questions – situational questions, problem questions, implication questions, and need payoff questions. This is probably the most critical part of your selling process and the activity that decides your success rate at selling to customers.
- Prepare yourself to face objections raised by the client from various angles.
The main benefits of Office 365
These are the main benefits of Office 365 you can talk about:
- Work whenever, wherever.
- Reach your customers with ease.
- Focus on other more important areas by having a trusted partner take care of Office.
- Invest and be ready to face the future.
Author: Rahul Sharma