8 Things You Need to Do When Moving from
So, finally, you have done the math and decided to move from a direct billing partner of Microsoft to an indirect reseller. However, before making this transition, you need to prepare such that there is minimal disruption to your customer services along with minimum effort in transition for your sales and customer support teams.
Here are some essential things that you must focus on when switching from a direct billing partner to an indirect Microsoft reseller:
Take an inventory of all your existing contracts and subscriptions
As Microsoft’s direct billing partner, your business already has its share of existing customer contracts and subscriptions. Before moving your direct billing customers to your indirect provider, take a complete inventory of all your existing customers, and the contracts and subscriptions with the customers.
Here are some essential data that you would need to update, curate, and clean to make sure they are integrated:
• The start (and end) date of each of your contracts and subscriptions
• The frequency of your business billing with Microsoft and that of your customers (for example, monthly or annually)
• Individual customer discounts (if any)
• If the contract or subscription is on “auto-renewal” mode or not?
• Additional products (or services) bundled for customers – or if they have any special pricing?
Generate invoices for your end customers
The next step is to prepare invoices or how to bill your end customers as an indirect reseller. How do you manage your customer invoices? You can search or look up your customer accounts on basis of:
• Customer account (or a subscription at the individual level)
• Subscription account (or a subscription at the contract level)
• Organization account (or a subscription at the organization level)
You also need to set up your billing system to sync with the distributor pricing structure and you may need to generate catch-up invoices for your customers.
Create accurate price lists and product catalogs
With the availability of thousands of Microsoft products, you need to prepare your business by creating the right price lists and product catalogs that work for your business goals and customer needs. The price lists need to account for the adjustments to the distributor pricing. To meet your business goals, prepare by answering price list-related questions like:
• How often do you want to change your price lists?
• Should the prices be based on the monthly usage?
• Do you want to offer special pricing on a particular product line or category?
• What should be the maximum license count for each customer?
To keep your sales team motivated and focused, set up a flexible pricing strategy that can be applied to each product, product category, or customer.
Manage your provisioning
During your transition into an indirect reseller, you need to have the necessary infrastructure to manage your customer billing and provisioning. You also must make provisions for any manual intervention into selected products (or services) that you are offering to customers.
Here is how to prepare for provisioning:
• Notify your operations team through timely email alerts about any pending provisioning changes
• Document the provisioning changes clearly to avoid any miscommunication
• Select the right platform to automate your provisioning requirements
Realign your reconciliation process
Using your Partner Center, you can easily download your reconciliation files for item-wise charges in the customer billing cycle. Some of the reconciliation details include customer subscription charges or charges for mid-term license addition to subscriptions.
To be able to do this, you need to first understand the various types of charges in your reconciliation files. Additionally, design an internal system that can import customer invoices from your distributors and retrieve any changes to customer subscriptions and usage.
Engage your customers through a self-service portal
A self-service portal enables customers to purchase resources or services on their own. Customer engagement through a self-service portal during (or after) the transition works towards reducing the work of your accounting and operations teams. Additionally, prepare to design your self-service portal with:
• Your unique business branding
• All your current service offerings
• Complete integration with your sales and customer support systems
Modify your renewal process
As an indirect reseller, your renewal process will need to be aligned with the new terms and models of the Indirect provider. You will need to leverage automation to monitor and regularly review your active and inactive contracts.
If you have any licenses provisions with the Indirect Provider for your inactive contracts, you will need to cancel those immediately – billing automation can help you do this and avoid revenue leakage.
Revisit your sales incentives
The move from a direct Microsoft partner to an indirect reseller will also impact your sale incentive management program. Sales incentives will need to be aligned with the new business arrangement.
Additionally, you will now enjoy lower rebates that can impact your business profits and the incentives you pay to your sales teams.
As a Microsoft partner, there are multiple benefits of moving from a direct to an indirect partner. However, this transition has its share of challenges, which is why you need to prepare in advance before making this migration.
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