Co-authored by Akbar Hasan, Senior Director, Co-sell Acceleration Group
As you know, buyers outside of IT – line of business (LOB) executives – are influencing customers’ technology investments. To win customer wallets and mindshare, vendors sell with a myriad of partners who already have relationships with these non-IT buyers and who typically have better insights and access to their business needs. This ecosystem-centric engagement called co-selling is driving new growth and relevant customer outcomes. Let’s dig deeper into why and how.
What is Co-selling?
Unlike partner reselling, co-selling is a multi-partner collaborative sales engagement between an IT vendor and its partner ecosystem to deliver a differentiated joint customer outcome. If done correctly and grounded in realizing customer business value, co-selling can help accelerate seller quota attainment, fuel competitive takeout, drive adoption and stickiness of joint solutions, expand relationships, and extend our reach into customers’ business and technology stacks. When vendors co-sell with their ecosystem partners, the partnership yields larger than average deal sizes and a greater penetration rate for software, recurring revenue, adoption, and renewals.
As an example, two Cisco partners – Boundless Digital and Insight – worked together with Cisco to help a global hotel chain with 6,000 properties in 100 countries accelerate their rollout of new properties and time to market by simplifying their technology licensing deployments. Time to market for the properties was critical to the hotel’s Chief Legal Officer and VP of Procurement. Boundless Digital provided their licensing dashboard. Insight positioned and sold the dashboard capabilities, along with Boundless Digital’s automation and user management solution, and bundled Cisco’s AppDynamics and Meraki licenses. The result? Complete control and visibility of the hotel’s user base through granular role-based access control and streamlined management of their Cisco software licenses. Now they are in a better position to deploy new hotels faster in the future.
But co-selling requires a few key elements to achieve outcomes like this.
Recipe for a Successful Co-sell Model:
- The right partners: IT vendors must identify, engage, and nurture an ecosystem of partners to meet customers where they are and how they want to buy. These ecosystem partners can include Channel resellers, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Digital Solution Integrators (DSIs), Converged Infrastructure partners, Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs), Industry partners, Tier-1 large consultants, global SIs, Telco SPs and Cloud/hyperscaler partners who must all work together to build solutions.
- A paradigm shift: Successful co-selling also requires a shift in people, processes, and technology. Sales teams need to expand their relationships and evolve from a resell to co-sell motion, from single partner to multi-partner, from serving only the IT buyer to serving new buying centers, and from relying on existing compensation to cultivating new compensation plans.
- New analytics: New partners require new programmatic benefits, so you must adjust your business model in new ways to capture, recognize and analyze – and ultimately be able to measure – co-sell growth areas so you can continue improving partner profitability. It will be important to demonstrate the impact co-sell has on the partners’ business such as securing new customers, expansion opportunities, and renewal stickiness, to name a few.
- Digitization: And finally, you need to digitize by creating an online infrastructure for co-sell collaboration, tracking and reporting. This makes the process easier, faster, and improves trackability (and ultimately, viability) of multi-partner co-sell motions so you can scale growth.
With co-selling, you can build your own co-sell motion or participate in a partner’s existing co-sell motion. Either way, many companies do both to increase their growth and learn best practices because they realize that co-selling is a BIG deal!
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