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If you’ve been selling cloud services for a while, you’ve probably noticed that it’s getting harder to make a decent living as an independent. Yes, the demand for cloud services is high, but there’s a lot of other cloud resellers like you who are getting into the game. Recent statistics from MSP Alliance show that Managed Service Providers generated revenue of about $154 billion selling cloud services in 2014.

Faced with these numbers, you’re probably wondering what you can possibly do to stand out from the crowd. What can you offer that will make clients more interested in talking to you instead of the other guy? The answer lies in a good partner program. When you join forces with a trusted cloud service provider, you can be sure you’re giving your clients the best services without sacrificing too much of your own time.

But how can you decide which program is best for your needs? After all, there are plenty of vendors out there who are offering a multitude of programs with more features than you can possibly imagine. We know it’s a tough call. That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide that will show you exactly what to look for and what to avoid when you start shopping for the ideal partner program.

3 important things to look for in a cloud partner program

1. Do you recognize their hardware?

What does their platform look like? Is it put together with top-of-the-line equipment, or does it look more like some spare parts thrown together with chicken wire? Your clients deserve high speed and performance and you won’t get that without good hardware. You should be able to recognize some of the brands your potential cloud partner is using. Believe it or not, there are many stories about cloud providers who are using seriously out-of-date equipment just to cut costs. For example, does he use enterprise-grade All Flash SSD storage in all his solutions, or just in the more expensive models? If a cloud provider is cutting corners on hardware, it could indicate he’s not that interested in providing good or reliable service.

2. Can you rely on their technical support?

Let’s face it. Good technical support plays a big role in cloud hosting. If you or your client need help, you want to be sure you can get it, whether it’s during regular office hours or at 3 a.m. You might be tempted to go with a big company’s partner program because there’s safety in numbers. But remember, dealing with a big company doesn’t mean you’ll have an easy ride. Have you ever tried calling Microsoft’s partner support department? Although Microsoft offers a great online knowledge base and help site, talking to a real person when you need help can be difficult. Look for a partner program that offers free support 24/7/365 by phone, email or chat.

3. What kind of product training can you expect?

Signing the contract with your new partner is only the first step. You have to be sure you can be properly trained to sell their products. Some cloud providers limit their training and workshops to the bigger resellers who have larger sales volumes. You want to look for a partner program where everyone is treated equally. You want to make sure everyone who signs up for the program is eligible for training from specialists who will teach you the ropes about their products and services. Some programs even offer different models to give you as much or as little control over the customer relationships and offers. So, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Choosing the right partner program will involve a lot more than the information we’ve presented here. If you need more help in making your decision, you can download our free guide here.

Cloud Resellers Scoping Guide

Written by Mathieu Leblanc Business Development and Partner Network Director @ Sherweb

Mathieu Leblanc is Sherweb's Partner Network Director. His extensive experience in the field helps him pinpoint upcoming trends that matter to MSPs and IT consultants.