Any IT solution provider who has ever performed a serious revenue comparison of an on-premise IT solution and a subscription-based cloud IT solution knows the recurring revenue model far exceeds its former in the long run. The move is a win-win for end users as well. For instance, IT research firm Computer Economics says organizations fully utilizing cloud computing save on average more than 15% in IT spending, whether measured as a percentage of revenue or on a per-user basis. As a result of these economic efficiencies, cloud users are able to devote a higher percentage of their IT spending to new initiatives and less to ongoing support. The cost savings, combined with the strategic benefits in speed, scalability, and agility, argue in favor of organizations moving aggressively to the cloud.
While it makes perfect sense in theory, selling cloud-based IT solutions continues to be a serious challenge for many solution providers. I spoke with Josh Condie, a Microsoft Partner Technology Strategist (TS2 team) working with Ingram Micro. As someone who’s very familiar with helping Ingram Micro partners build Microsoft Office 365 practices, I asked him his advice for VARs/MSPs that are just getting started selling cloud services.
“When you’re training your sales force on how to sell cloud in general — or Office 365 specifically — my recommendation is to lead with the Office experience and highlight that every time users log in they’re working in the most recent version of the application,” he says. “The whole worry or concern about who’s using which version goes away. I also recommend leading with the E3 subscription, which combines the enterprise clients and servers’ subscriptions. If there’s price sensitivity or a competitor, such as Google, you always have the ability to fall back to the more basic Business subscriptions that still offer a lot of value yet at a lower price.”
Office 365 and CSP Go Hand-in-Hand
Before channel partners can start selling Microsoft Office 365, they must determine which Microsoft program to employ. Leading master cloud service provider Ingram Micro recommends partners use the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, which Ingram Micro makes available on its Cloud Marketplace. Leveraging the Microsoft CSP program through Ingram Micro over other Microsoft partner licensing models (e.g. Advisor) delivers several advantages to channel partners including:
- Retain Ownership of Your 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 program enables channel partners to retain complete ownership of their customer relationships.
- Earn Higher Commissions. Under the current Microsoft Advisor program, channel partners earn just 3% margins on Office 365 subscriptions. The CSP program, on the other hand, provides partners with 11% margins. Additionally, partners who sell Microsoft CSP services through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace and leverage Ingram Micro’s “CSP Accelerator” promotion for additional sales incentives will boost their first year CSP subscription commissions to 16.5%!
- Add Incremental Cloud Services. While Office 365 is a great way to start selling cloud services, your customers will likely need additional cloud services to support their growing business needs. Through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, you can purchase, provision, bundle, and sell more than a dozen cloud services from leading cloud vendors. As an added bonus, you can integrate these services with your ConnectWise or Autotask PSA to simplify the billing and management of each service.
For more great resources on simplifying (and optimizing) your first (or next) step into the cloud by becoming a Microsoft CSP partner through Ingram Micro, visit www.IngramMicroCloud.com.