We don’t need to tell you that Office 365 margins are slim and being profitable is incredibly difficult. That’s why trying to compete with a high-volume, low-touch volume doesn’t work. When you’re looking for the best practices to set you apart, consider these opportunities:

  1. Bundled Services: The most obvious solution is to upsell complementary services that protect your customers’ inboxes. The breadth of the services you want to offer is ultimately up to your comfort level, but a good starting point is to analyze the verticals you serve–or wish to serve–and move from there. We’ve listed some categories below that range from basic, “everyone needs ’em” type solutions, to compliance and industry-specific solutions.
    • Standard Security Solutions:
      • Email spam and virus filtering
      • Web protection
      • Email continuity
    • Compliance Solutions:
      • Email archiving
      • Message encryption
    • Specialized Solutions:
      • Video and/or phone conferencing
      • Intelligent business applications (such as Dynamics 365)
  2. White Glove Customer Support: Everyone hates the abyss of touch tone prompts by a virtual receptionist followed by a purgatory on hold when they need customer support. Making customer support simple for your Office 365 customers (as well as other services you may offer) can be the difference between a customer  getting Office 365 directly from Microsoft or from you. There are a couple of ways to tackle this.
    • Leverage some of the many training tools available to become competent in supporting Office 365. Where you get this training from Microsoft or from a CSP (AppRiver offers our own Office 365 support training for partners), having the ability to support your own customers is a powerful tool.
    • If you don’t have the resources (or virtue of patience) to support your customers’ Office 365 issues, find a CSP that has a partner tier that will assume the responsibility of supporting Office 365, like AppRiver’s Advisor Plus Program.
  3. Efficient Billing and Management Portals: In order to be able to manage and bill your customers timely and accurately, you need an intuitive, user-friendly partner portal. Whether you’re purchasing/building your own management portal, or leveraging your CSP’s, here are some key functionalities you should look for:
    • Simple license management
    • Easy Office 365 provisioning (as well as other services)
    • Consolidated billing
    • Ability to order additional and even third-party apps through a single portal
    • Microsoft Partner Number (MPN) entry (to enable proper credit for Microsoft services sold)
  4. Healthy Margins: All of the above are great, but if you aren’t being paid fairly to do them, there’s a problem. It’s important to partner with a CSP that understands that a profitable partner is a stable one. That’s why AppRiver’s reseller margins begin at 20 percent and our referral margins begin at 10 percent.
  5. Partner Resources: The ability of being knowledgeable about a service and being able to market it are nearly as important as the service itself. That’s why AppRiver’s partners may access AppRiver University, AppRiver’s online training portal, as well as appMailer, AppRiver’s email marketing solution, from within our Partner Portal. Both are offered for free to our partners.

 

 

 

Have a thought on this article? Share it here.