Selling as Partner
I work for a Value Added Reseller (VAR). Traditionally we sell a lot of intrastructure and professional services, but we are trying to make a bigger push towards offering cloud services and have choosen as an internal team to gravitate toward Azure for the public cloud. We sell MS cloud services sthrough a distribution partner and I am try to get some help for an opportunity, but MS's partner structure seems to be very different than other parnters I have worked with. Traditionally we would find an opportunity and register a deal with our partner and then work with a partner sales team to help drive the business. I know I can work with our distribution partner, but they seem to have limited resources that don't understand the MS cloud products. I called the partner network only to get passed around for about an hour before I landed with a Azure sales person who basically told me to get lost and come post a question here. I am trying to lead with Storsimple and tie Azure object storage services to the deal. Can anyone explain to me how the process is supposed to work or am I simply stuck working with the distribution partner?
I'm trying to understand your issue and I might have misunderstood. My assumption is that you are a CSP that is buying through a distributor (indirect). If you distributor is unable to help you - and you have escalated the need for help - then I would suggest that you try to find another distributor that has both resources and an interest in working actively with you.
Thank you for your response. I believe your assumption to be correct. I guess my expereience with other vendors is that even though we may buy through a distributor, we still team up with a partner related team with the vendor. It doesn't seem to be the case here. It is likely just a difference in strucutre and i am trying to understand that. Does MS have a partner focused sales team or do they simply rely on the distributors to provide that support. Is there more of an advantage to partner directly with MS? Will MS even do that if we want to go that route? It seems like our distributor isn't very knowledgable on the azure services, and I am working to improve my over all ability, but still in the early stages. Thank you again for your time and response. It is very appreciate.
I notice that you are in Minneapolis. It's important that you build a relationship with the local Microsoft office. If you have a person appointed to work with you then that's great but it's perhaps even more important to spend time with Microsoft people and showing up at different events. If there is an inside sales team in Minneapolis - then you should really try to position yourself with them. They need to understand that a lead that is given to you will be treated like gold and that you will report back to them about the outcome (both formal but also informal reporting). Building this relationship will take take time but the investment will likely give a great return. I would also suggest that you hook up with the local IAMCP Chapter as that is also an avenue that will give you more traction with Microsoft.
My experience around CSP is that it is worth the effort to go through the process of establishing a direct relationship with Microsoft and not go through a distributor. When you have a direct relationship (Tier 1) with Microsoft you will get a much better margin and you will also be able to talk direct to their APIs. The reason most CSPs don't consider going direct to Microsoft is often that they think the administrative burden will be too big and my advice is that you do it manually at first - and if the volume increases so much so that it becomes hard to manage - then you can invest in tools that automates it. To be honest - most partners will not have that problem.