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Your Azure Practice – 5 ways to support your customers

We understand that resellers face many of the same challenges: Businesses that are not adopting Azure (or any Cloud-based solution) because they are not ready to adopt a digital transformation journey; concerns around the Public Cloud that include security questions; existing contracts with data centre providers; the management of local sensitive data; or simply not understanding the requirements for integrated solutions and a preference to sweat existing assets.

Resellers that are having the same conversations with businesses without seeing different results – namely Cloud adoption – need to start shifting the conversation from a product or solution-based discussion to one based on value.

Consider this: A Microsoft Azure reseller aims to save their customers money, while increasing their productivity. This is meaningless if the customer in question doesn’t understand the value of choosing a Cloud-based solution.


A different approach doesn’t focus on the Cloud so much as the value a digitally transformed business can unlock – and critically – the value that you, the reseller, bring to the table.


Begin with Buying Considerations


As an Azure Partner, what are the different considerations that would make your customers consider adopting the Cloud? Remember, change is painful – we tend to avoid it, particularly if we don’t have a clear understanding why we should change. The perceived cost of change in particular can often seem too high.


As a Microsoft reseller however, there are five clear value-adds that you can offer your customers – provided you’re able to unpack them in line with each customer’s needs and pain points.

  • Demos: Offer best-practice insights that your customers would not otherwise have gained. You want to unpack major functionality, but more importantly, you want the customer to really understand how Azure can radically change their business. Demos are an excellent way to achieve this, particularly with customers who don’t understand the Cloud or are weary of digitally transforming their businesses.
  • Software: For a customer, choosing the right software is as important as choosing the right reseller. As a reseller, you should not only be able to adapt key functions of specific software solutions to customer requirements, but understand their businesses well enough to do so. The more you can demonstrate how well you understand your customers, their industries, needs and challenges, the more in-depth your discussion can be around their specific software-solution requirements. Remember, your customer is the hero in this story – not your solution.
  • Level of partnership: Microsoft partners are classified by their level of expertise, skill, and proven investment in Microsoft products. The Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) has three levels of membership—Microsoft Action Pack, Silver, and Gold. Ensure this is prominently displayed on your website as it gives your business credibility at a global level.
  • References: You need to be able to show how many verified installations you have performed in your customer’s market, particularly ones similar in scope and nature to their business. Research by DemandGen shows that two-thirds of B2B customers rank industry-specific content as very important. This is because prospective buyers view, filter and evaluate information through the lenses of their specific and unique contexts. The more you can demonstrate a deep understanding of their specific context, the more likely you are to gain a customer’s trust. Azure competencies are therefore a very important investment when establishing and growing an Azure Practice.
  • Cost: The longer the process of building an effective, efficient, and custom-made solution, the higher or greater the reseller’s services costs are passed onto the customer. Ensure your customer understands the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the entire project and make sure you honour the schedule you’ve committed to, to complete the process. Help your customers to work within their budget to implement solutions that meet their requirements while adding to their overall capabilities. Businesses are built on referrals – solutions that solve key customer challenges but are delivered to budget and on time will receive high referrals, leading to more business.

Choose to work with a distributor who supports you


Just as you need to understand your customer, ensure you work with an Indirect CSP Provider who understands you. Your Indirect CSP Provider should take the time to understand your specific goals, objectives and support requirements. There should be a range of value-added services on offer as well, including skills transfer, sales enablement and architecture design support.


First Distribution is the leading value-added distributor in Africa. Our offering includes a product portfolio of global leading Datacentre, Cloud, Networking and Security products and services. This embraces hybrid solutions with access to any combination of on premise, private cloud and public cloud end-to-end solutions from multiple vendors.


The portfolio, together with highly skilled staff to support and manage vendors with an unrivalled level of expertise, ensures that our partners have the key elements required for success.

First Distribution additionally hosts one of the largest technology partner-to-partner networks in Africa allowing partners to extend the reach of their solutions across the continent.

Visit www.firstdistribution.com to find out more.


Africa, Microsoft, Azure

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