Partner with indirect providers in the Cloud Solution Provider program

The rapidly growing demand for cloud-based solutions and services provides many opportunities for Microsoft partners of all sizes to build profitable cloud solution businesses. Partners who are ready to enter the market, but who don't want to have to manage multiple vendors, or who may not have an end-to-end customer relationship management infrastructure in place, can enroll in Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program as indirect resellers.

As an indirect reseller in CSP, you work with indirect providers (also known as distributors) who have a direct relationship with Microsoft and can provide you with customer support and billing. This means you don’t have to begin on your own but can instead work with an experienced technology provider to help ensure your success. In the provider-reseller (two-tier) model, the provider buys cloud solutions and services from Microsoft that you resell to customers.

Different indirect providers offer different support and services, so you should evaluate the providers in your area to determine which ones best meet your needs. Generally, most providers will:

  • Provide you with technical training and assistance
  • Help you market your products and services
  • Help you establish financing and credit terms

If you’re not already working with a provider (also known as a distributor), you can search the list of official Microsoft providers to find one.

For more information about what’s required to sell in the CSP program as an indirect reseller, see Get started as an indirect reseller on the Microsoft Partner Network website.

Enroll as an indirect reseller in the Cloud Solution Provider program

Note

If you are already enrolled in CSP, you may need to provide only customer support contact information to create a reseller account on the Partner Center.

Before you begin

If you are new to CSP, you’ll need to enroll in the program as an indirect reseller and create an account on the Partner Center. To do so, you’ll need to provide the following information during the enrollment process. You may want to take a few minutes to gather these items before you get started:

  • Global administrator credentials for your work account
    You’ll need to provide the user name and password you use to sign into Office 365, Microsoft Azure, or Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If you don’t have a work account, you can create one during the enrollment process. If you don’t know whether you already have a work account, see Work accounts and the Partner Center.

  • The user name and password you use to sign in to the Partner Membership Center site
    We use this information to link your organization's Microsoft Partner Network ID (MPN ID) with your new Partner Center account so that you can manage your membership benefits and data in the Partner Center.

  • Your organization’s legal business name, address, primary contact, and support details
    We need this information to confirm that your organization has an established profile with Microsoft and that you are authorized to act on its behalf.

Please note that it can take us several days to review and verify the information you’ve provided. We’ll email your primary contact when we’ve completed our review.

Get started

  1. Kick off the enrollment process here.

  2. Review the Welcome page to be sure you have the information you need to enroll, and then select Next.

  3. Sign in with your work account. Select Sign in and then enter the user name and password you use to sign in as a global admin for Office 365, Microsoft Azure, or Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

    If you don't have a work account, select Create one to set one up now. After creating your work account, sign in using the global admin credentials for your new account.

  4. Review the information about how to associate your Microsoft Partner Network ID (MPN ID) with your new Partner Center account. We need to link your organization's MPN ID with your new Partner Center account so that you can manage your membership benefits and incentives on the Partner Center. Select Sign in.

  5. Enter the user name you use to sign in to the Partner Membership Center (PMC) site. The Partner Membership Center site is where you currently manage your Microsoft partner account. Signing in to Partner Membership Center allows us to retrieve your MPN ID and associate it to your new Partner Center account. Select Next.

  6. Enter the password for your Partner Membership Center account and then select Sign in.

  7. Select the organization profile with the MPN ID that’s linked to your incentives, membership benefits, and competencies so we can move this information to your Partner Center account. Select Continue.

    If the MPN ID you want to use is not listed on this page, select Cancel and sign in again with the user name and password for the organization profile you want to use.

    Important

    Select the MPN ID associated with an active organization profile that’s located in the same country/region as your Azure AD tenant.

  8. Provide or update your organization’s legal business profile, primary contact information, and customer support information. Select Enroll now.

    The primary contact should be the person in your organization we can contact about your application (this can be you or another person in your organization). Please note that we don’t accept email addresses from Web-based email services such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud Mail, AOL Mail, or Outlook Mail.

    Important

    To help ensure your organization’s security and privacy, we’ll email your primary contact to verify that (1) he or she signed up for a Partner Center account, and (2) that this email address belongs to your organization. After the primary contact verifies his or her email address, we’ll continue our review of the information you provided. We’ll email enrollment status updates to the primary contact.

  9. When your Partner Center account is ready to use, verify that you’ve been added to the admin agent group. To finish setting up your account, including adding other users, you must have admin agent permissions. Follow these steps to view or update your permissions:

    a. In your Partner Center, select the Settings icon and then select User management.

    b. Select your name from the users list and then select Admin agent if it’s not already selected. Select Update.

Add a new user

  1. In your Partner Center, select the Settings icon and then select User management.

  2. Select Add user.

  3. Enter the user’s full name and unique email address.

  4. Select the type of agent and the type of admin. Partner Center access is role-based, so you can assign permissions to customize the user's view to show only the features the user needs to complete specific tasks. For more information about what each role can do, see Assign user permissions.

  5. Select Add to create the user account. Confirm the user's details on the next page.

Important

Make a note of the new user's sign-in information displayed on this page. Be sure to copy and send this information to the new user as you will not be able to access it again later.

The user will need to sign in to the Partner Center with their user name and temporary password. When the user signs in to the Partner Center for the first time, they are prompted to change their password.

Assign user permissions

Partner Center access is role-based, so you can assign permissions to customize your organization's users' view to show only the features they need to complete specific tasks. To find out how best to assign roles, see Create user accounts and set permissions

Connect with an indirect provider

Working with an indirect provider allows you to offer a broader selection of Microsoft’s cloud-based services and solutions to your customers. Indirect providers have the systems and infrastructure in place to provide you with a robust level of billing and support, so you can focus on your technology solutions and customer engagements.

If you’re not already working with a provider (also known as a distributor), you can search the list of official Microsoft providers to find one. When you find a provider you want to partner with, contact them directly to discuss their reseller programs, level of support, and terms. If both you and the provider want to work together, you’ll need to connect your accounts on the Partner Center.

If an indirect provider wants to connect with you on the Partner Center, they’ll kick off the following workflow:

  1. The indirect provider emails you an invitation to authorize them to be your indirect provider. The email includes a link to the Partner Center and will associate your account to the provider’s account.

  2. To accept the invitation, follow the link in the provider’s email. You may need to sign in to the Partner Center again.

  3. To confirm the partnership with the provider, check the box and then select Authorize indirect provider. The provider is now listed on your Indirect providers page and your company is now listed on the provider's Indirect resellers page.

    Note

    When you establish a partnership with an indirect provider, you’re authorizing them to submit orders and add subscriptions on behalf of your customers, and you’re granting them administrator access to your company's work account. After your partnership with the provider has been established, you can remove the provider's administrator access to your work account in the Office 365 portal.

  4. Select Indirect providers from your Partner Center menu to see a list of the providers you have a partnership with.

  5. Select View customers to see a list of the customers you and the provider share.

  6. Select Invite new customers to ask a new customer to authorize reseller relationships with both you and your indirect provider at the same time. Be sure to have the customer’s email address on hand so you can email the invitation to them.

    Important

    Your indirect provider needs to have a reseller relationship with your customers to submit orders on their behalf.

Connect with customers

To transact with customers on the Partner Center, your customers must have Partner Center accounts and you must establish reseller relationships with them. To allow your indirect provider to purchase subscriptions and services on your customers' behalf, the provider must also have reseller relationships with your customers.

Connect with existing customers

Customers that you already transact with through other portals, such as the Office 365 partner admin center or the Microsoft Azure admin portal, will appear in your customer list on the Partner Center after you successfully enroll as an indirect reseller. Select Customers from your Partner Center menu to see your customer list.

When you connect with an indirect provider, you do not automatically gain customers of the indirect provider. Likewise, the customers you work with either on your own or through your indirect provider, but not through the Partner Center, will not automatically appear in your customer list when you enroll in the Partner Center. You will need to establish a reseller relationship with customers to transact in the Partner Center. To do so, you email them an invitation to connect with you on the Partner Center, as described below.

Invite a customer to establish a reseller relationship with you

  1. Select Customers from your Partner Center menu and then select Request a reseller relationship.

  2. On the next page, review the draft email message. You can open the draft message in email or you can copy the message to your clipboard and paste it into an email.

    You can edit the text in the email, but be sure to include the link as it is personalized to link the customer directly to your account. Select Done when you’ve completed this step.

  3. Send the email to your customer.

  4. After the customer accepts your invitation, they'll appear on your Customers page and you'll be able to manage the their subscriptions and service from there.

  5. To manage the customer’s account, services, users, and licenses, expand the customer’s record by selecting the down arrow near their name.

Connect with new customers

When you attract new customers, you’ll need to connect with them on the Partner Center. You may get new customers through multiple channels, including:

  • Your own marketing activities
  • Microsoft referrals
  • Indirect providers

To manage a customer’s subscriptions and services on their behalf, you need to have a reseller relationship with them. To allow your indirect provider to submit orders on your customer’s behalf, the indirect provider must also have a reseller relationship with them.

To get administrator permissions to manage a new customer’s subscriptions and services and allow your indirect provider to submit new orders on their behalf, you can invite the customer to establish a reseller relationship with both you and your provider at the same time.

Invite a customer to establish a reseller relationship with you and with your indirect provider at the same time

  1. Select Indirect providers from your Partner Center menu.

  2. Select Invite new customers to invite a customer to establish a reseller relationship with both you and the indirect provider at the same time. The provider needs to have a reseller relationship with your customer so they can submit orders on your customer’s behalf when the customer wants to buy new subscriptions or add new licenses to existing subscriptions.

  3. On the next page, review the draft email message. You can open the draft message in email or you can copy the message to your clipboard and paste it into an email.

    You can edit the text in the email, but be sure to include the link as it is personalized to link the customer directly to both your account and your provider’s account. Select Done when you’ve completed this step.

  4. After the customer authorizes you and your provider to be their resellers of record, you’ll have administrator permissions to manage their subscriptions, licenses, and users on their behalf, and your indirect provider will be able to submit orders on their behalf.

  5. To manage the customer’s account, services, users, and licenses, expand the customer’s record by selecting the down arrow near their name.

Next steps

Manage your Partner Center account

Manage customers and their subscriptions

Create a business profile

Learn about partner incentives on Partner Center