by Woody Walton

The announcement of Office 365 on October 19th has been well received generally speaking from most of the partners I have spoken with.  Of course the inclusion of Office 2010 Pro plus as a component of subscription offering is the biggest news, but there are many kernels worth crunching through.  I case you are late to the announcement, please take the time to read some of the blog entries by some key Microsofties.

Redmond View:  Official Blog of Jon Roskill

http://bit.ly/bKkMgS

US Partner Blog:  Managed by our Blog Maven: Diane Golshan

http://bit.ly/9cJplC

SMB Community Blog: Managed by our good friend: Eric Ligman

http://bit.ly/cHqb86

I would recommend you also take a look at some of resources we have available on Office 365 here.

The customer facing website for Office 365 is http://office365.microsoft.com/  …easy enough to remember. Winking smile

 

Now that you are in the know (or already were in the know), lets think about this from a sales perspective.  Although Office 365 is flashy and cool, contains a host of new capabilities that customers will appreciate & benefit from, it is still many months away (some hopeful estimates state sometime perhaps in late Q1 calendar year 2011, but no guarantees).  So while is a good idea to know what is coming, one does not want to stall the sales cycle of customers considering BPOS.  Whether or not a new version is coming any of your customers that are still concerned with controlling costs, having budget predictability, reducing their IT burden, maintaining availability of their systems, and getting quick return on their IT investment are GREAT candidates for BPOS! Sell BPOS and migrate your customer to Office 365 when it debuts.  …There will be a short delay from when it launches to when all existing BPOS customers can migrate.    Another point I should mention is although we like to think of cloud deployments as “clicking a button”, some transition work will need to be done for your customer; this represents a services opportunity for you as a partner.

Although everyone will tell you that the advisor fees you get from selling BPOS (18% in the first year, 6% residual per annum thereafter, are not how you make money selling online services, they will eventually really help you from a cash flow perspective and allow you to build that “book” of premiums much like an insurance sales person.

Yet another reason to not stall is that Microsoft has some resources that are made available to partners who are actively selling BPOS.  If you have not looked into the SMB Cloud Champions Club you should do so.  Through this program you can access a wealth of resources including access to Microsoft Cloud focused Sales persons to help you close deals and increased Software Advisor fees is you reach the highest level.  …Net net, if you would like to make more money, extend your virtual sales team, and access marketing resources SOONER is always better.  To get on the radar one need only sell 3 deals totaling 75 seats.

Winning in the cloud is about getting to your customer first and being the one who helps them define how they want to go to the cloud.  lock them in before others do so.  It is not a question of whether your customer will go to the cloud, but when and with what partner.  …let that be you!

Thanks and good selling!

http://office365.microsoft.com/en-US/faqs.aspx

Woody