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Getting a Little BPOS Help from Distributors

Microsoft is trying to raise the profile of the distributors who are available to help other Microsoft partners close Microsoft Online Services deals.

In a blog posting this week, Woody Walton of Microsoft's TS2 team noted that Microsoft is investing millions in the distribution channel annually, in part to help hire and train employees at distributors' call centers.

"That means that there are several folks across the Microsoft Distributor continuum just waiting to help you close BPOS (soon Office 365) deals. They receive calls and assist partners like yourself daily," Walton wrote.

He noted that while BPOS deals tend to have a shorter sales cycle, they also tend to involve more technical questions from customers than other types of engagements.

"It does not matter whether you choose D&H, Ingram Micro, Synnex, or Tech Data; They can all back you up!" wrote Walton, adding that in the rare instances when the distributors are stumped, they have direct access to the Microsoft experts who can answer curveball questions from customers.

The catch for partners, apparently, is not much of one. According to Walton, Microsoft is trying to get partners to associate with distributors. It's not clear what the financial arrangements are -- is Microsoft compensating distributors who are helping other partners close deals or is it simply a way to justify the investments Microsoft has already made in those distribution partners? It doesn't appear that association with a distributor has any effect on Partner of Record fees and margins for the partners who call in for help. (Let me know at sbekker@rcpmag.com if you've had a different experience.)

When trying to reach what it calls breadth partners (Microsoft speak for the non-managed partners that influence a lot of Microsoft product sales but aren't individually on Microsoft's radar), Microsoft often works through distributors.

It's always interesting to see how Microsoft's resources trickle through the tiers of Redmond's necessarily complex channel.

Posted by Scott Bekker on June 01, 2011 at 11:58 AM