SAM specialist and global Microsoft licensing solutions partner (LSP) Crayon is looking to cosy up to a small bunch of resellers and SIs via a sales referral model.
The Nordic-owned consultancy and licensing transactional engine set up shop in Blighty after devouring locally based Fast Ltd a year ago.
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The 45-strong UK operation is run by former Kelway head of software and SAM services Gareth Johnson who joined in the autumn, while former Trustmarque public sector lead Peter Farrell signed up prior to Chrimbo to run the sales floor.
"We are a well known brand in some countries and less so in others, I'd say we are not particularly a household name in the UK as the business here is off the back of the Fast acquisition."
He claimed Crayon has 70 per cent market share of Microsoft enterprises license sales in the Nordics, and to bulk out revenues in Blighty will set up a "sub-distribution" scheme.
It will flog SAM services, licenses and hosted software to end and channel customers.
Only LSPs are authorised to transact Enterprise, Select and Select Plus Agreements, but can do so on behalf of third parties.
The firm this week launches a channel programme locally and will roll it out across numerous other European nations, including France and Germany next week.
The plan is pull on board "two to three aggressive sub-LSP resellers that reach a lot of customers and up to five SIs with a strong competency across the software stacks," he told us.
"Licensing is complicated and frankly with the move to the hybrid cloud environment it's getting even more so. IT departments are managing a mix of devices and applications to make sure they are compliant and licensing optimised".
Rival Microsoft LSP Software One runs a sub-distie market also, but has a couple of hundred participants.
Gatehouse said it wants to avoid potential in-fighting between resellers over deal opportunities, and wants to hand hold be proactive with its subbies.
"There'll be much less overlap in our programme".
He said it'll try to avoid conflict by using deal registration, "once an opportunity [is logged] on our CRM system that is where the business stays. We won't be poaching".
Crayon is dangling a 50/50 margin split on deals but if the channel customer wants a funder in their business, the fee percentages will reflect that.
That said, the money to be made from simple licensing transactions on Microsoft – or, in fact, on most major vendors - has plummeted in recent years. Redmond has slashed the margin in the major account space and is trying to drive channel partners to sell more into the mid-market, and more cloudy stuff.
Crayon is to launch a SAM Institute in Amsterdam next week, selling accreditation courses to the industry.
The referral model is "not new, especially in the UK", said Zac Verdi, Software One sales lead for the UK, Ireland, France Spain and South Africa, "it's been in the market for over 12 years".
He said this was a bid by Crayon to gain market share that direct selling alone may not achieve, and defended its programme to sell licenses to other partners.
"You have to be whiter than white," he told us, "what is important is the transparency in engagement with the LSP, you need web platforms and integrated systems to share data properly".
He questioned if working with a small band of channel customers was the right way to go, and pointed out they'd need to generate a lot of leads.
"But we want to remain humble, we've got to keep on our toes and continue to develop what we do". ®