Repositioning your business to sell Microsoft Online Services also means strategizing about your current customer base—and your target customer base. Does your adoption of a cloud-services model lend itself to a business based on larger customers than you could previously support, or should you maximize your return on cloud services by targeting a high volume of smaller-sized companies?

 
The choice is yours; you’re not limited by the technology or the licensing model. Some partners use Office 365 to reach the vast number of small, previously underserved companies. Some partners use Office 365 to reach larger enterprises than they could support otherwise. Still other partners expand in both directions.
 
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Two examples come from the UK. Perspicuity, a 23-person Microsoft Partner based in London, specializes in the small and medium-sized sector. Previously, 25 percent of its revenue “walked out of the door” according to Ben Gower, the company’s Managing Director, in the form of hardware costs that added nothing to Perspicuity’s bottom line. Worse, the up-front investments for on-premise hardware—typically between £25,000 and £50,000—limited the customer base.

 
Perspicuity has embraced the cloud services model in a big way, committing to being a 100 percent cloud services vendor within two years. Why?
  • Its customer base has soared from 14 to 500, reducing its risk of dependency on a few customers
  • The faster, easier sales cycle it finds for cloud services helps to spur new revenue
  • Customers increasingly see it as a trusted advisor, due to its expertise with cloud services
  • Profitability is up, due in part to the lower staff-to-customer ratio possible with cloud services
Meanwhile, Eitex, a 10-person Microsoft Partner based in Yorkshire, focuses on Office 365 sales in order to expand its reach to larger customers. Previously, its typical customer had 40 users and it was difficult for Eitex to credibly target larger ones. “The skills needed to run a system for 400 users on-premise are expensive,” says Dean Spencer, Eitex’s owner. So Eitex shied from acquiring the staff needed for that support.
By offering both cloud- and hybrid solutions based on Office 365, Eitex now targets—and wins—those larger customers. The results:
  • Customer size has increased from 40 users to up to 500 users
  • Larger customer size and faster deal-flow compensate for annuity revenue stream sizes
  • Lucrative up-sell and cross-sell opportunities include desktop support contracts and SharePoint customization projects
Which end of the market do you want to target? Whichever it is, the Office 365 business model is flexible to support your business model. To learn more from these Partner successes, check out the new case studies on Perspicuity and Eitex.
 
–Josh​