Microsoft Partners face many challenges trying to grow their business. The necessary resources to market, sell, design, implement and support solutions are scarce. Whether it’s expanding an existing solution practice or delving into a new one, the endeavor requires a major capital investment, and there’s always the risk the effort will fail.
But given the competitive landscape, Microsoft Partners cannot stand still. Customers have many options they can turn to, especially with the cloud providing a viable environment in which to deploy ERP, CRM, office productivity, and custom business applications. Microsoft Partners don’t just compete against partners down the street, they also go up against partners across the globe.
Build a One-Stop-Shop for Everything Microsoft
The key for Microsoft Partners to solve this challenge is to pivot to a one-stop-shop for everything Microsoft. It’s not enough to focus only on one area such as Microsoft 365, Azure, or the Power Platform. Customers want to reduce the number of IT partners they work with and need someone who can support all Microsoft solutions. Even more important, they want their Microsoft Partner to provide expertise in Dynamics 365.
But that’s where things can get truly complicated. The Dynamics 365 suite spans 30 distinct solutions covering a range of financial, sales, marketing, operations, warehouse, and service functions. It’s difficult for Microsoft Partners to cover all the bases. Without a deep bench of technical expertise across the entire Microsoft Cloud universe—and without the ability to market and sell all Microsoft solutions—partners lose out on projects that can foster customer loyalty and generate significant upfront revenue as well as residual subscription revenue.
So that leads to the question, where can Microsoft Partners turn to either build a new Microsoft practice or expand an existing practice?
Increase Capabilities by Identifying a Flexible Partner
The key for Microsoft Partners is to find an indirect partner who offers comprehensive white glove Microsoft Cloud services that can be quickly activated—with zero to little investment upfront. Ideally, look for a partner who focuses only on Microsoft technologies and can provide consulting and professional services that cover the entire process from marketing to selling, designing, implementing, and supporting Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft Cloud solutions.
The partner should also be flexible to adjust to your business model and your available resources so that their services sync seamlessly with the services and resources you already have. Perhaps you have top-flight technical resources who know how to architect and roll out solutions but need assistance with sales, marketing, and ongoing support. Maybe you have great sales and marketing teams, but your technical bench is a bit thin. Or…you are just starting out and have many great client relationships to leverage—but need resources in all areas of the business.
It’s also important to work with an indirect partner willing to adjust the relationship over time. As they support you in building or growing a practice, you may reach the point where you can hire internal resources to manage all or some of your customer interactions. But you also always want to have a partner you can fall back on should you want them to continue providing services in one or more areas.
Consider the Customer Perspective
This partnership allows you to continue managing and controlling relationships with your customers. They never have to know an indirect partner is involved.
The indirect partner simply works behind the scenes, providing the services you need to meet customer requirements. You focus on interfacing with and maintaining customer relationships and expanding the amount of business you generate. You now have greater capacity for this since the partner has expanded your areas of expertise and your bench of technical resources.
Your Internal Team Benefits Too
Another benefit of collaborating with an indirect partner is that your internal resources can focus on what they enjoy most and what they do best. For example, if you have high-level technology experts who can design and like to configure complex Microsoft solutions, you can avoid diverting their attention to follow-up support.
And if you have a sales team that’s great at closing business, you don’t have to burden them with lead-generation activities. Your indirect partner takes on the functions your team is not built to support. This lets you maximize the productivity of your internal resources and keep them happy in their jobs—which increases retention rates and generates benefits not only for your business but also for your customers.
Benefits of Collaborating with an Indirect Microsoft Partner
Keep Pace with Technology to Provide Ongoing Value to Your Customer—Your customers expect you to understand new technologies before they hit the market. But keeping up with all the enhancements and new products Microsoft delivers is a full-time job by itself. Your indirect partner can serve as your trusted advisor so you can do the same for your customers—advising on which new technologies make sense and how to deploy them effectively.
Generate Recurring Revenue Streams Faster—The best tactic to build recurring revenue is to expand what you offer to current customers—with more solutions, services and subscriptions. Adding Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft Cloud solutions to your portfolio—or expanding the capacity of your existing portfolio—are the ideal places to start.
Expand Your Business with Lower Risk—hiring solution architects, systems engineers, and help desk professionals along with marketing and sales resources who know how to generate Microsoft business can cause payroll costs to skyrocket. With a white glove partner, you can create all these capabilities with a small initial investment and then slowly grow your internal teams over time. In addition to avoiding the risk of the financial investment, you also avoid the risk of hiring resources you may not be able to continue employing.
Key Attributes of an Indirect Microsoft Partner
As you identify potential indirect partners who offer white glove Microsoft solutions, here’s a checklist of what to ask to make sure they can cover all your needs and will collaborate with you efficiently:
- Available assets and services for lead generation, sales enablement, and opportunity support.
- Technical resources for solution design, implementation and support.
- Expertise across Microsoft cloud solutions: Dynamics 365, Azure, Power Platform, Microsoft 365.
- # of technical resources (who ideally are employees rather than resources from other partners).
- # of Microsoft solutions previously deployed.
- Knowledge of implementation best practices.
- Process to escalate technical support for customers.
- Margin structure and target achievement levels.
- Resources for solution pricing, license provisioning, and payment processing as well as sales, implementation and training.
- Options for managed IT and infrastructure services.
- Ability to integrate ISV applications and Dynamics 365 add-on solutions.
- Duration of the partner onboarding process.
- Resources to advise, manage and coordinate the delivery of customer solutions.
- Tools for communicating Microsoft updates.
Partnering with Stratos Cloud
Many Microsoft Partners have turned to Stratos Cloud for help in delivering Microsoft solutions. We are a Microsoft Indirect who gives you unparalleled access to Microsoft Cloud technologies. We also understand how Microsoft Partners operate and the challenges they face growing their businesses.
Our programs enable you to build and drive recurring revenue while providing differentiation for your portfolio of solutions and services. Here are some of our key qualifications:
- Over years of experience with Microsoft Dynamics.
- More than 10,000 Dynamics
- Dedicated to continually review business needs and recommend growth strategies.
- Services catalog with detailed offerings that let you begin selling right away.
- Partner resources—solution-specific training, managed services, ISV recommendations, licensing, and pricing .
- Best-in-class eCommerce marketplace for easy client subscription management.
- Partner marketing programs to drive lead generation.
Stratos Cloud is also the only indirect provider that is a Microsoft-certified ISV Development Center. We offer experienced third-party technical enablement, business process development, and management consulting services to help you build, go-to-market, sell, and service solutions that integrate with Microsoft technologies.
The ISV Development Center is particularly beneficial for ISVs who want to transform horizontal solutions into solutions for specific industry verticals. We assist with development and integration with Dynamics 365, and we facilitate the process to post applications to the Microsoft AppSource store to quickly get partner solutions to market.
With our knowledgeable team at your disposal, you don’t have to worry about ramping up. Our Partner Startup Kit to onboard partners is in-depth and hands-on to get you up-and-running as quickly as possible. We are here for the long term to build a trusted advisor relationship that you can leverage to help your customers.
Start today—no experience necessary!
For more information on Stratos Cloud solution provider services for Microsoft Cloud, download our Partner Guide.