How MSPs Can Stay Afloat After Microsoft Advisor Program Dies
MSPs, take heart: There is life after the Microsoft Advisor program. As you’ve probably heard, Sept. 30 marks the day that Microsoft pulls the plug on the sell and accelerator incentives of this program. After this date, you will no longer earn commissions for Office 365 as a Microsoft Partner of Record (POR).
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. In other words, you’ll earn only 3% for anything you sell between Oct. 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017. 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 surprise you. Microsoft has been slowly chipping away at its Advisor commissions for some time now. In a blog post published late last year, SherWeb outlined Microsoft’s latest 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.
Build a New Business Strategy with the CSP
This might seem like a big blow for some of you. After all, you’ve probably been relying on these sales incentives as part of your revenue. But, look at it another way: It’s a great opportunity to rethink your business strategy for Office 365. This is the time to create new ways to drive profits by adding more value-added services to your business. For example, 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 offers any way you like, and you won’t have to deal with Microsoft.
We know what you’re thinking. This sounds great, but I have no idea where to begin. Here are three great ways to maximize your profits as a CSP Advisor with SherWeb.
1. Let Your Provider Handle Customer Support
Are you equipped to provide 24/7 technical support for Office 365? How about data migration and onboarding? Some providers, like SherWeb, offer free technical support and onboarding services to partners who sell under the CSP program. Here’s how it works.
- 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.
2. Streamline Your Billing Process
One of the many advantages of the CSP program is that it 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. SherWeb’s partner portal operates with a single sign-on, which means 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
SherWeb has created special promotions to help Advisors like you increase your revenue under the CSP program. 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. Your clients might have a hard time seeing the advantage here, but changing from a yearly price commitment with Microsoft to a monthly commitment with SherWeb is a good move. Explain to them that SherWeb will match Microsoft’s prices and provide better technical support.
Use Our New Import Tool
We get it. Transferring all your clients to the CSP sounds a lot of work. The good news is you don’t have to worry about it. 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 simplify the entire transfer process. 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, that’s 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 guess what? It’s free under the CSP program.
One more thing. When it’s time to transfer your customers to the CSP program, you might want to coordinate it with each customer’s subscription renewal date. That way, you can spread out the transfers throughout the year instead of dealing with all your clients in one shot. It will make your life a lot easier.
Want to know more about SherWeb’s special promotion for Microsoft Advisors? Get started today!
Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.