I talk about Microsoft Online Services a lot. I talk to partner about BPOS, about the forthcoming Office 365 release, about the shift to the cloud, and the choices customers have. It is my job to help Microsoft partners navigate the wealth of options we have available, and to arm them with the knowledge to add those solutions to their solution tool bag. The transition to selling Microsoft Online Services ( as opposed to other hosted or self hosted offerings) is a tough one for some and merits a close look at your business plan. Changes will need to be made. Check out the Business Model Transformation (BMT) content on the partner portal to assist in that area.
One thing that you may already know is that although online/ cloud services sales typically have a shorter sales cycle, the sale is a little more technical in nature. The customer who never cared a bit about online banking, cares a TON when his or her business data moves from the sacrosanct on-premise server to the cloud! DIFFERENT questions will be asked by the customer. Some you will know the answer to, some you will not. Until you have several deployments under your belt, you are likely to stymie the sales progress until certain questions are answered. This is where the distributor comes in.
THEY HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE. (or if not they can call Microsoft up and get the skinny).
Many of you know, and perhaps some do not know that Microsoft invests millions of dollars in the distribution channel every year. Part of the investment funds head count (personnel) at each of the key distributor call centers. In the case of the cloud and Microsoft Online Services such as BPOS and Office 365, we invest heavily. That means that there are several folks across the Microsoft Distributor continuum just waiting to help you close BPOS (soon Office 365) deals. They receive calls and assist partners like yourself daily. They have the benefit of all your peers experiences. They have gone to school and may be able to cut to the chase with your deal based on previous knowledge. If they have not been faced with the curve ball you throw at them they have a “Bat Phone” directly to Microsoft and can reduce time to resolution on issues you may be experiencing.
I know this to be true. I have traveled to and trained ALL of Microsoft’s Distributor partners this last fiscal year and I am personally acquainted with the people they employ to help us help you. It does not matter whether you choose D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex, or Tech Data; They can all back you up!
I encourage you to call them up and ask for assistance.
Now here is where it gets interesting if you have transacted BPOS. I say “transacted” because the billing model is one where Microsoft holds the paper and you function as a Partner of Record (POR). The customer, save in an Enterprise Agreement, subscribes to our online services through the Microsoft Online Customer Portal (MOCP). …It s not a SKU or a box, or a volume license transaction. Due to this there is no real way for Microsoft to know that you leveraged a distributor or that a distributor may have helped you close that deal.
The easiest way of knowing if a connection exists is to associate. This is important most of all to help determine whether the resources we put in place at distributors are helping partners from a Cloud/ BPOS/ Office 365 perspective. If you are leveraging a distributors services in the area of BPOS, etc. I encourage you to associate. An additional benefit is that you may be privy to specific events and activities only marketed at those that have associated, thus increasing the already explained value.
So how do you enroll or associate with a distributor? EASY It depends on whether you have signed up to transact our online services.
Use the appropriate solution below.
Thanks and have a great time selling BPS and the soon to debut Office 365!