Monday, August 12, 2013

Lesson in selling Office 365

I see so many IT resellers now realizing they need to sell and support Office 365 because their clients ARE asking for and using it. Unfortunately, most have sat on their hands, denied the momentum of the cloud and so. They find themselves in a world of hurt, falling further and further behind the eight ball in terms of what Office 365 offers.

The simple answer to understanding how to sell Office 365 is to USE IT! All Microsoft partners are eligible to qualify for a free partner Office 365 tenant of their very own. Get, configure it and use it. Simple.

One of the easiest things to get up and running is Lync. Lync allows messaging, video conferencing and more. It is also something that few clients have seen so it has a real impact when you show it to them.

By default Lync only allows connection to users within your Office 365 tenant, however you can enable ‘federation’ with outside parties also using Lync or even Skype. To my way of thinking you should enable this ‘federation’ immediately and being to connect with others.

To enable federation to external parties login to your Office 365 portal as an administrator.

image

Select the Admin menu item from across the top and then the Lync option that appears in the drop down menu.

image

In the Lync admin centre select organization from the menu on the left. You should then see the options for external sharing as shown above.

It is recommended you set external access to On except for blocked domains and enable public IM connectivity.

Once you have made these changes it will take 15 or so minutes for the federation update to flow through the system but once complete you can now connect up with others using Lync or Skype.

image

If you now select the users menu on the left you will see all your users who are licenses to used Lync.

image

If you select and edit any of these users you will find that you can control their individual rights to external communication if desired as shown above.

image

If you return to your Office 365 portal and look at a users license you will see whether they are enabled for Lync. In the above example, this user is enabled for Lync as part of the E3 suite. Remember, you can always remove the Lync option here to prevent access to any of the suite products. However, also be aware that removing a single product from a user doesn’t magically give you one more license you can assign to a new user.

image

With all that enabled you can now install the full Lync client on your desktop (it comes with Office 2013) and then login with your Office 365 login details.

Once you have logged in you can search for other users via their login details within your organization and externally if you have enabled that (and you should).

All CIAOPS Office 365 and SharePoint Guide subscribers are free to connect with me via Lync and use that as quick and easy method to contact me for support if needed. If you are not a Guide subscriber (and you should be) then feel free to email me (director@ciaops.com) and request to be connected via Lync.

Now that you have Lync working, spend some time learning how to create and schedule meetings. Work out how to do remote presentations and record them. Work out how to share files and chat online all directly from Office documents. You’ll find an eBook on Getting Started with Lync Online in my publications area. It is only AU$4.99 and it will show you everything you need to know about getting up to speed with Lync options.

Once you have those skills go out and start showing clients. Start running webinars. Start demonstrating your knowledge of the product. Look at how a product like Lync can be used to improve your clients business. Once you work it our for a few I’m pretty sure you’ll find it applies to just about every other one in the same way.

Office 365 products are extremely powerful, full of features that most businesses have never seen and ultimately full of endless opportunities for those who sell and support them. So stop procrastinating, get in there and USE them, because that is the best way to work out how to sell them. Simple.