Expert Speak

Small Partners Can Start Selling Cloud


-Suresh Ramani

The technology world is in midst of major changes and everyone is talking of 4 major trends namely Social, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC).

In this scenario, it is no surprise if an IT partner is worried as his sales of PCs, printers, networking gear and doing Annual Maintenance Contract is already affected by the emergence of e-commerce and economic slowdown.

Does this mean the end of new partners? Cheer up, you are going to survive. You will thrive provided you are willing to learn new things. Let me focus on how a small partner can make use of the opportunities in the Cloud.

Step-by step on solution selling :

1) As a first step, one should start offering certain IT products which are available for subscription. For example, products like MS Office and Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Creative Suite are available on subscription. So the small partner should look at selling these subscriptions. This way he can build his subscription business, which will give him recurring business.

2) The next step would be to explore the option of getting into solution selling. Initially one should identify a few solutions like Office 365 , CRM , ERP, etc. that he can offer to his customer base. Then he should identify other partners who have the expertise in that area. He can then introduce these partners to his Customers and if the deal goes through, he can get a referral incentive which can be pre-determined.

3) Once the few deals on referrals has been done, he should start selling the Cloud Service and getting the partner incentive for the same. For implementing the solution, he can align himself with the partners who have the skill sets in that solution.

4) Finally, he can get into selling as well as implementing. This would require a decent investment in qualified people. So it should be attempted only when partner is quite sure that he is very serious about the business.

How to go ahead with:

The above 4 step process can give great results. To facilitate steps two and three, he can join certain partner communities where he can network with fellow partners and discuss partnering. One such Partner community that actively practices partnering across competencies is International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (

To conclude, small partners can surely succeed in the Cloud provided and as Alvin Toffler said, “They are willing to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn!”

(The author is the CEO of Techgyan and blogs at

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