Microsoft spent extensive time on stage last week, evangelizing the SMB Cloud Champions Club to VARs and MSPs attending conferences in Chicago and Boston, respectively. But I had some follow-up questions. Specifically, how many channel partners are joining the SMB Cloud Champions Club -- and what's the potential upside for channel partners?

Microsoft answered my follow-up inquiries today. Generally speaking, the SMB Cloud Champions Club includes VARs and MSPs that promote Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and related SaaS applications and services to SMB customers. Since launching in August 2010, the SMB Cloud Champions Club has generated nearly 1,000 partner cloud wins; and 33 percent of those wins involve more than 25 seats. The number of partners participating in the SMB Cloud Champions Club is growing 25 percent month over month, adds Jenni Flinders, VP of US partner strategy and programs at Microsoft.

The SMB Cloud Champions Club has three channel partner tiers:

  • Tier 1 is for partners that have at least three active cloud customers and more than 75 end-customer seats in the cloud. In return, partners gain a Microsoft Business Development Manager (BDM), specialized learning plans and a monthly call with Microsoft.

  • Tier 2 is for partners that have at least eight active cloud customers and more than 200 end-customer seats in the cloud. In return, partners gain all the Tier 1 benefits plus so-called velocity funds and marketing funds.

  • Tier 3 is for partners with at least 20 active cloud customers and more than 500 seats in the cloud. In return, the partners gain all of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 benefits plus a marketing advisor, promotional incentives and enhanced operations support.