Are you still relying on Microsoft’s Advisor program to resell Office 365? Well, we have news for you. As of July 1, 2017, Advisors will no longer receive commissions for managing Microsoft cloud subscriptions for existing businesses. This translates into a cut of 12% for the Sell and Accelerator incentives in the first year and 3% for the ongoing management commissions. Microsoft has said these changes, which will affect tens of thousands of partners around the world, are part of a plan to get more Advisors to switch to its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. In a blog post published late last year, we told you all about Microsoft’s plans to reduce commissions under the Advisor program (also known as the Online Services Advisory program (OSA)) from 23% to 15% in the first year and from 4% to 3% in the second year.
We also talked about Sherweb’s promotion to increase margins for CSP partners. We told you how you could transfer your Office 365 POR customers to us and get a better handle on both your customer relationships and your cloud business.
Rethink Your Business
We think this is a great opportunity to rethink your business strategy for Office 365. After September 31, 2016, you won’t be able to rely solely on your sales incentives to earn a living. You’ll have to come up with new ways to drive profits by adding more value-added services to your business. As we already mentioned, if you transfer your Office 365 customers to a CSP partner like Sherweb, you’ll be able to run your own show. You’ll control the entire customer lifecycle through direct billing, provisioning, management and support. You’ll be able to package your offers any way you like and you won’t have to deal with Microsoft. Bundle these products with your own solutions to create unique offers for your customers.
Wondering where to start? Here are 3 great ways to maximize your profits as a CSP Advisor with Sherweb.
How MSPs Can Survive the Cuts to Microsoft’s Advisor Program
1) Outsource Basic Customer Support
Few resellers are equipped to provide 24/7 technical support for Office 365. Can you migrate your client’s data and provide onboarding services? Some providers offer technical support and onboarding services to partners who sell under the CSP program. Consider this:
- You can simplify your go-to market strategy and increase your short-term revenue by integrating this as a white-label service in your offer.
- You won’t have to worry about hiring, training or testing these services. You’ll have more time to focus on expanding your business and you can start earning money reselling these solutions from Day 1.
- As a Sherweb partner, you’ll have access to VIP support, which means your call will be placed higher in the queue and you’ll only deal with our most experienced technicians.
Sign Up for Sherweb Indirect CSP Partner Program:
- Check out our Partner Infokit
- Sign up for Partners First, our partner program
- Login to Cumulus, our customized partner portal
- Sign up your first customer
2) Simplify Your Billing Process
The CSP program simplifies customer invoicing. Instead of receiving two invoices — one from Microsoft and a second one from you — your clients will get a single bill for all the services you sell them. Managing your client accounts and cloud services is easier, too. Because Sherweb’s partner portal operates with a single sign-on, you won’t have to create new passwords for each organization or consult separate price lists or control panels for each client.
3) Earn Better Margins
Leverage special promotions offered by Sherweb to help you increase your revenue under the CSP. For example, if you transfer all your POR Office 365 customers to Sherweb, we’ll pay you 15% in the first year of our Advisor program plus a recurring commission of 5% every month. We know it might be difficult to convince your clients, but changing from a yearly price commitment with Microsoft to a monthly commitment with Sherweb is a good move. Let them know that Sherweb will match Microsoft’s prices and provide better technical support.
New Import Tool
Transferring your clients to the CSP can seem daunting, but Sherweb has developed a new tool that will ease the pain. It’s called the Office 365 Client Import Tool and it’s been designed to make the entire transfer process incredibly easy. At one time, resellers had to go through the laborious task of transferring profile information, services, plans and contract renewal dates manually for each client. If you have hundreds of clients and thousands of seats, we’re talking a lot of hours. Now the entire process is automatic. The Import Tool will also verify all your clients’ renewal dates and provision their new Office 365 subscriptions. And it’s free under the CSP program.
A final recommendation. When it’s time to transfer your customers to the CSP program, you might consider aligning that process with the customers’ subscription renewal dates. That way, you’ll be able to deal with a few clients at a time throughout the year. You’ll find the transition process will be a lot easier.