Sep 07,2021

Partnering with an indirect provider through the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program

Robust customer support and billing is just the start of what an indirect provider can offer you. As the true IT powerhouses, these providers can accelerate your partner journey by offering technical, marketing, and other types of support. They have a direct relationship with Microsoft, national infrastructures, years of in-market business experience, and proven programs to help ensure your success. 

One way you can take part in the cloud boom, quickly, easily, and with a minimum of business risk, is by working with an indirect provider in Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. In this post, I explain how an indirect provider (also known as a distributor) can accelerate your journey and supercharge your growth by freeing you from customer support and billing, so you can focus on customer relationships and developing your own solutions. I also include a list of indirect providers in Canada, with links to their offers. 

As the Canadian and global economy accelerates its digital transformation and adapts to new challenges, opportunity flourishes for those professionals who lead the change. In 2019, IDC predicted Canadian public cloud software and infrastructure will grow by 77 percent—from $5.8 billion in 2019 to $10.3 billion in 2023. 

By forcing everyone to work remotely this year, the pandemic has only served to accelerate the demand for secure, modern digital solutions. 

With such skyrocketing growth on the horizon, there has never been a better time to join in the digital transformation of the nation. And with an indirect provider in your corner, you can broaden the selection of cloud-based services and solutions you offer customers, without having to invest in the systems and infrastructure to support them. 

Partners can easily package their own tools, products, and services, and combine them into one monthly or annual customer bill. Visit our licensing page to learn how to bring your business vision to life. 

What indirect providers do 

Robust customer support and billing is just the start of what an indirect provider can offer you. As the true IT powerhouses, these providers can accelerate your partner journey by offering technical, marketing, and other types of support. They have a direct relationship with Microsoft, national infrastructures, years of in-market experience, and proven programs to help ensure your success. 

In the provider-reseller (two-tier) model, the provider buys cloud solutions and services from Microsoft. Then, they resell them to customers. 

Ingram Micro, for example, earned the 2020 Indirect Cloud Solution Provider IMPACT Award from Microsoft Canada for their tremendous business results with the CSP. Their highly successful reseller empowerment programs include the Modern Workplace Accelerator, Flight Academy/Azure Accelerate, Dynamics Accelerate, and Data Center Migration and Optimization. 

Microsoft indirect providers in Canada 

Microsoft’s indirect providers search tool currently lists the following organizations in Canada and offers links to their reseller program pages for more information: 

These organizations can accelerate your Microsoft partner journey. As you browse their value propositions, you will discover that different indirect providers offer resellers various things, including technical training and assistance; marketing support; and help establishing financing and credit terms. Make sure you take the time to review your options and find the best fit for you at this stage in your journey. 

Application builders: Make sure you investigate programs for ISVs from Arrow ECS Canada, Ingram Micro, and SYNNEX Canada. 

If you develop your own application, make sure to explore programs specifically for independent software vendors (ISVs). SYNNEX Canada ISV Experience, for example, offers support in building, developing, and marketing your solutions. This program gives you access to over 2000 active resellers in Canada to enable quick growth. 

Making contact 

When you find a provider with whom you want to connect, contact them directly to discuss their reseller programs, level of support, and terms. When you’re ready to partner, you can then connect your accounts on the Partner Center and get started. If you’re not already a member of the Partner Network, you’ll need to join. 

For more information about participating in the CSP as an indirect reseller, visit Get started as an indirect reseller on the Microsoft Partner Network. 

One last piece of advice 

Think big! Joining the CSP program and partnering with an indirect provider can get you into the cloud boom quickly with a minimum of risk. But it’s often only the first step in a business journey that could see your organization blossom into a global innovator. You can join the ranks of innovative Canadians wowing the world with their solutions. 

Ready to build a business empire? Read this post to learn about the steps on the way to realizing the full potential of a Microsoft partnership. 

  1. Dedicate the necessary resources. Chances are you’ve already got the data, but do you have staff capable of deriving actionable insights from this data? Pull together a team that can use sales data, market trends, competitive analysis, etc., to develop strong strategies to bolster CLV. Employ this same team to manage and measure the results of any action — be it to increase sales per order or sales over time. That way, you can adjust and adapt a given tactic should it not provide the intended outcome. This is next to impossible without a dedicated team, and the results will be just as half-hearted as your efforts. 
  1. Leverage current relationships. All businesses are built on customer relationships, especially loyal ones. In fact, increasing customer loyalty by just 7% can increase CLV by upwards of 85%. With business-to-business (B2B), the potential is even greater. Consider this: if you’ve established a relationship through a certain business line, this connection could create inroads with decision makers for other business lines. It’s basically an opportunity to cross-sell to an existing customer. Quadrasystems, for example, taps its analysts to track customer engagements and identify opportunities where its sales team can reach out for customer referrals. 
  1. Create brand advocates. One of the most powerful marketing channels you’ll find is word-of-mouth — with 74% of consumers saying it influences purchase decisions. If people love you, their adoration tends to multiply, which essentially increases the value of those folks showing you the love. But if you were to take it a step further and bring brand advocates to marketing events, what could that do for sales? You’ve got someone speaking directly to potential customers about the value of doing business with you. Not that you want to exploit their devotion, but their visibility could be beneficial to their business as well. 
  1. Build a feedback loop. Customers want to feel heard. It’s as simple as that. Needless to say, take the time to ask customers for feedback. They will give it to you. Put a survey in front of your base and invite them to share their opinions on everything from customer service and satisfaction levels to ease of transaction and potential of repeat business. Just don’t use feedback as a ploy. Take the suggestions to heart, and adjust products, services, etc., to meet the needs of your customers. What they have to say offers real value to your business. You may actually learn something about what keeps them coming back — and what has kept them from buying again.