How many times have you been in a meeting with a potential customer and been asked: “How can you make us more productive?” They expect you to come up with a groundbreaking solution, but of course without drastically changing what they currently do, or how they do it.
Of course, you’re not there 24/7, so you don’t have control over who they are hiring or how they are trained. You can only control what you add to their business, and in many cases they want Office 365 to help with productivity.
Almost every business is interested in buying it and probably most, if not all, of your competitor are offering it. Selling the idea of a pay-as-you-go model for a service is not the biggest challenge you face. The real difficulty is how to make it a profitable part of your portfolio.
Download our eBook How to Profit From Selling Office 365 to learn more tips on making Office 365 a profitable business.
Office 365 is Not Easy to Make Profitable
You can hardly make a buck by simply reselling Office 365, but don’t let that put you off as there’s a silver lining. You can either use it as a ‘foot in the door’ when you’re meeting a new customer, or you can incorporate it as part of your managed service solutions. Most of the following tips you’ll read show how you can package it to make it more profitable.
8 Practices that Will Make Reselling Office 365 More Profitable
1) Join a Cloud Solution Provider Program
Not to sound like a broken record but, we need to talk about the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, just to make sure we’re all on the same page. It has replaced the Microsoft Open and Microsoft Advisor programs and gives you full control over the customer relationship, monthly billings and margins. There are two types of CSP for you to choose from, direct and indirect.
I strongly recommend that you work with an Indirect CSP Partner (like SherWeb). Aside from benefits such as not being under pressure to bring in 5,000 new seats each year, the indirect model lets you bundle other products with your Office 365 offer. Perks such as this will ensure that you have the cards decked in your favor to make reselling Office 365 a lucrative business. Read about the other advantages here.
If you’re ready to make the jump to our CSP program, it couldn’t be simpler:
How to Sign Up to SherWeb’s Indirect CSP Partner Program:
- Download the Partner Infokit
- Sign up to our Partner Network
- Login to Cumulus, our intuitive web-based partner portal
- Sign up your first customer
2) Be Your Customer’s Mentor & Trainer
Now, let’s take a look at a tried and tested tactic that has been proven to increase revenue: accelerate adoption by mentoring and training your customers. The main challenge here is to fill the skill gap that new product versions or solutions create when they arrive on the market.
While you are probably well acquainted with Office 365, there’s a possibility that your customers aren’t. Maybe they made the switch to follow a trend without taking a hard look at what it can actually do for them. You need to make sure all of a company’s users are at ease with the solution and know its benefits as well its limits.
Walking them through all the steps, especially at the beginning, is a service that you can monetize. Provide a roadmap to your customers that shows what you intend to do and how you will give the essential training. Since Office 365 is rolling out new features almost every year, proposing a monthly fee for continuous training shouldn’t be a hard sell.
3) Give Insight Analytics
One great way to help a team with their productivity is to give them reports to help them with their decision-making concerning IT. Build a dashboard to give your customers the data in real time, including things like usage, subscriptions and even request history and tickets. This will help them by having a clear picture of the state of IT in their business.
Like with the previous tactic, you can charge a fee per month, per user, for this service to increase your revenue.
4) Offer Support
Support is a key component of any IT business. Some indirect CSP partners are even giving it to their clients for free. Without a doubt, you should be adding this to your offer as it’s probably the easiest way to add value, for a fee. If your customer isn’t keen on the idea, then sell them a bank of hours and when they reach the limit, give him a call to discuss a flat fee instead of a bundle.
5) Assess Shadow IT
However you call it, either Shadow IT or Rogue IT, is something that plagues many businesses. In fact, 75% of companies report having users access Google Drive at work, and this is a real problem for security and data management.
Give your customers a clear picture of what software their users are accessing and how you can help them minimize the threats caused by possible data leaks. This added service is easy to explain to your customers as the direct benefits are very clear.
6) Categorize Customers
You probably have more than one type of customer and it’s important to have them clearly separated into different categories to offer them the most suitable packages. By selling the right product to the right customer, you can make sure your margins are maintained. If a company’s top pain point is downtime, you should try and hook them on how reliable your service is, not on productivity features.
Here are 2 examples of categories that you can separate them into:
Top Pain Points
- Facing high capital expenses for server upgrades or replacement
- Heavy IT burden distracting from more strategic activities
- User dissatisfaction with limited capabilities
- No server upgrade costs
- Predictable monthly costs
- Robust security and 24/7 reliability
- Simple IT
ii.Office 2003 Earlier Version
Top Pain Points
- Facing high capital expenses to upgrade (typically ties productivity suite upgrade with PC refresh cycle)
- Limited support for mobile workers
- User frustration because of limited capabilities
- The latest productivity features in Microsoft Office, integrated with web-based communication/collaboration services
- Support for flexible, mobile work style
- No need to purchase licenses upfront
7) Survey Existing Customers
To make sure your services are answering your customers’ needs, measure how your current customers see you. This is the best way to address any problems that may rise in the future and to adapt to what’s coming next. They will evaluate your service based on how useful it is, and on the consistency of your support.
Here are the 7 questions that will depict the quality of your services from the customer’s point of view.
- How good is the service?
- Does it provide value?
- Does it meet our specifications?
- Does it meet or exceed expectations?
- What are your short-terms objectives?
- What are your mid-terms objectives?
- What are your long-terms objectives?
This process helps improve operations and helps you keep up-to-date with most customer satisfaction benchmarks.
8) Leverage Your Cloud Vendor
With the CSP program, you don’t need to make a major investment right away. You can use other businesses’ reputations to give your offer more weight. With this strategy, your business will become profitable a lot faster.
Make sure to research the partner program you’re interested in. You can benefit by leveraging their reputation, but make sure you have everything you need from them. You should consider the following few key elements that will benefit you in the long run:
Recurring Monthly Revenue and Margins
Pay attention to the partner program’s business model and make sure you understand the margins, spending thresholds and monthly fees (if applicable). You don’t want any surprises.
What are you after? Would you rather resell under your own name with a white-label partnership, co-brand your services or simply refer clients to a provider while earning a commission? Think about the kind of program that suits you best and then make sure your potential provider delivers in a way that is reliable and easy for you to manage.
Support When You Need It
We all need help from time to time. Make sure you partner with a provider that offers free 24/7/365 support based in North America. Also, check that you can reach them in more than one way – such as phone, chat and/or email – and that they provide an adequate response time.
Knowledge bases and online communities are useful, but they shouldn’t be the only way you can get help!
While a lot of partners claim to have API integration, they don’t actually offer automated services. This means you (and your customers) might have to wait days for your Office 365 subscription to be provisioned. Your billing process will also be more complicated if it isn’t properly automated.
Bonus: Put An End To The Struggle Of Managing Multiple Solutions With Microsoft 365
How much time do you waste every day dealing with multiple sign-ins to get your work done? What if you could access the most important tools with just one click? Microsoft bundled the best features from Office 365 and Windows 10 with cross-device security to create Microsoft 365, the most innovative, intelligent, and secure solution on the market. This bundle includes everything you need to stay empowered, creative, and productive, all with just a single monthly subscription.
More Leads Mean More Profits
Finally, you need to generate new business based on what you’re good at. 44% of B2B marketers have generated leads via LinkedIn, whereas 39% have generated leads through Facebook and only 30% through Twitter. This is because LinkedIn is a powerful platform for you to spread your message. Many C-level people and decision makers flock to its groups to exchange ideas and leverage thought leadership. By participating in these group discussions, you can easily gain contacts and start gaining people’s trust.
These are just some of the ways to resell Office 365. Do you have any other to add? Let us know in the comments below.