In the last earnings call, we shared that Office 365 is on a $1 billion annual revenue run rate, and today Microsoft partners have hit a big milestone. There are now more than 125,000 of you taking advantage of our Cloud Essentials program.
We see this milestone as another indicator that doing business in the cloud is gaining traction with partners, but the real story here is what partners are doing with their Cloud Essentials benefits and how you are taking customers to the cloud with Microsoft’s Office 365, Windows Intune, CRM Online and Windows Azure.
Meet James Butler and Mark Bryant. These guys are already seasoned veterans in helping their customers transition to the cloud.
James Butler, CEO, Cloud Business
Mark Bryant, Sales Director, Cloud Business
James founded Cloud Business in the UK in 2009. To give you an idea of how well this online services company is doing, Cloud Business has doubled its revenue every year since its founding, except for one year when they tripled it! They’ve run a profitable business from the outset. When Microsoft started offering the Cloud Essentials program two years ago, James was one of our first partners to jump aboard.
Here is the Cloud Essentials benefit package Cloud Business received, and they used every bit of it:
25 software licenses of Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and CRM online they used to test drive Microsoft cloud services
Technical training, support, and customer management tools that enabled them sell to and service their customers
Marketing tools for generating customer demand
All partners enrolled in Cloud Essentials receive the same benefits. We asked James which benefit was most valuable to his company.
James Butler: “Internal Use Rights. We’ve used online services to run our business from day one. It keeps us agile and keeps our IT costs really low. For customers, we show them that we use this in our business every day. When we demonstrate Office 365 or other cloud services, we actually show them our systems.”
Cloud Business earned “Cloud Partner of the Year” for 2012 and has migrated 112,000 people to Microsoft-based cloud services. We asked if they would share some good advice for partners just starting an online service company or practice.
Mark Bryant: “Going to the cloud is quite a big deal for customers. A lot of the customers we’re speaking to are used to the rich experience of Office. When we demo Office 365, we show them they are able to make a change without affecting the user that much.”
James Butler: “We’re learning to position services to customers, not products. Once we show them the experience they can have with Office 365, there are many other services we can wrap around that. For some customers, we run a support desk that sits between our Office 365 customer and Microsoft.
If you want to learn more about how Cloud Business approaches their customers and uses their Cloud program benefits, check out this video:
If you are new to selling Office 365, you might think getting to that first transaction is a bit challenging. When I talk to partners who are selling Office 365 regularly and successfully, many of them used the following steps to get started 1) Use it internally, 2) Drive demand and trial using the Office 365 Best Campaign and syndication assets and 3) Access resources to effectively sell it, available on the MPN site. Cloud
Business is a great example of how partners can successfully build an online services business, growing revenue and helping customers move to the cloud on their own terms. Cloud Essentials gave them a jumpstart. Make sure to take advantage of every benefit it offers. Use the cloud to sell the cloud. You can learn more and sign up here.