GP resellers do not go into business for fun. Microsoft is not in the ERP business for fun. ISV do not write software for fun. Customers do not buy ERP software for fun.  All of the above mentioned organizations do what they do to provide a return on investment for their owners. Fact.

Now that does not mean we do not enjoy what we do, that we do not go out of our way to look after our customers who also become our friends. We build relationships,  pay salaries, design solutions, travel the world and make businesses run better – but underlying all that is a goal to generate income for business owners (and an income for all of those involved). We all want to run and be involved in successful businesses that generate revenue and return.

Recently, Microsoft made significant changes to its partner program. The reason they did so is that they were of the opinion that these changes would align with their strategy to run a good business that generates revenue. You may or may not agree with their decisions and changes. Each of the businesses involved within their model need to make decisions regarding how they will react to the changes in a way that is in their own best interest of running a good and successful organisation (which in turn makes revenue) .

I had feedback from one reselling partner that went like this “With the increased targets we have to hit with Microsoft – we will no longer be able to sell your ISV solutions (even though they are much better for our customers). We will be forced to sell only what is on the Microsoft price list or our revenue will not hit the targets.” 

I believe there to be a fatal flaw in this thought process. A reseller who is not hitting the required targets right now needs to change something – I agree with that.  They need to change something that will align with their business goals  – which deep down is to ‘run a successful business to generate a return’ – as we discussed above. So is a decision to knowingly sell an inferior or mediocre solutions going to help you reach your goals? 

I have long been of the opinion that resellers must ‘amaze’ their customers. A reseller that does anything less is opening the door for a competitor who does ‘amaze’ their customers.   If you are not Amazing with GP – then rest assured that over time somebody will ‘amaze’ with NetSuite, or Sage, or …. (I think you get the picture).

I would like to see all GP resellers go out there and smash the Microsoft targets – as would Microsoft!  No reseller will do that by repeating the things they do right now? You do not get different results form repeating the same thing. Resellers must change something – they must try and grow and better.  10,15 and 20 years ago there was nothing more dynamic and exciting than a growing GP practice. These startups had amazing energy, tried new marketing activity, tested new technology daily and took risks to grow their business.

The reseller channel needs this energy again – and if Microsoft changing reseller targets helps achieve this then I applaud Microsoft. Back in those early days there was little or no recurring revenue in annual maintenance – you had to make new business. Now – it seems the same people 15 years on are only interested in protecting their recurring revenue rather than being hungry for new revenue. To all business owners  – if you are not hungry for new revenue then go out and employ people who are – and empower them.

Microsoft owe resellers nothing – and we are not victims of change or being squeezed out. Microsoft want an active and energetic reseller channel – lets give them one by doing our very best. Lets do it by selling only the very best solutions and selling more than the opposition.

Microsoft is not a company that will invest in a stagnant market – that is not what they will do. So if you are seeking great innovation and investment in GP from Microsoft then the only way to get that is to sell more and more GP. That is what they are looking for in changing the partner programs.  They are looking to motivate the channel and deal with growing organisations that want to get on board for the ride. If Microsoft see you as a hanger on that is milking a revenue stream then your days a numbered. Get active, get creative, and sell only world class solutions that amaze.  Funnily enough through this process I suspect you will also generate more revenue and greater returns to investors.