Last Updated on December 13, 2021
With the emergence of modern technologies and an increase in customer demand, tech businesses all over the world are exploring partnership opportunities. Partner ecosystems are at an inflection point, and businesses need to offer tailor-made, end-to-end joint solutions to their customers.
Even after you pick the right partners for joint business solutions, you need to follow an effective strategy and work together to boost sales. Co-Selling involves two or more partners coming together and using their joint resources to enter new markets and close more deals. The success of a partner ecosystem requires a streamlined sales process and healthy collaboration for the co-sell motions.
With so much focus on how to get a co-selling program up and running, WorkSpan developed The Ultimate Guide to Drive Co-sell Partnerships that includes all the information you need to successfully co-sell with your ecosystem partners. This blog elaborates the best practices you should follow to drive your co-sell motions and achieve joint business targets.
Figure 1: Best Practices to Drive Your Co-sell Motions: Seven best practices that are pervasive across ecosystem leaders to drive co-sell partnerships.
1. Operationalize Co-Selling Across All Partner Models
Gone are the days when companies used to sell single products, and the future is collaborating with ecosystem partners to innovate full-stack, all-in-one solutions. In today’s world of cloud-delivered solutions with easy-to-use public APIs, there’s often no reason to “roll your own” capability when a partner may already have a state-of-the-art solution you can connect to yours and deliver the best overall solution to your joint customers.
However, to come up with the perfect joint solutions, you and your partners need to be on the same page. Partner business models must be flexible and ready to adapt to the latest tools and technologies for proper collaboration. Through this, your co-selling process will see customer growth, faster sale cycles, and a boost in overall revenue.
Companies that adopt a partner ecosystem strategy and collaborate with partners are better positioned to achieve shared goals and objectives. Instead of focusing purely on partnering for reselling your own solutions, co-selling with partners will help develop scalable joint solutions and improve your revenue for you and your partners.
2. Unlock Cross-Company Collaboration
One hurdle that many ecosystem partners come across while co-selling is the lack of a secure, standard business process across partner companies. The number of co-sell opportunities is rising every day, but partners find it difficult to manage the process and keep track of everything.
This issue can be solved by proper cross-company collaboration and a streamlined partner program digital workflow platform. This single platform will have details and data regarding all co-sell motions and keeps each partner informed about the process. All stakeholders and business partners can access this workflow platform and stay updated about operations.
Using an effective cross-company workflow, partners can discuss sales strategy easily and agree upon current and future sales operations. Partners will know their roles, future schedules, and can handle sales motions in a correct and convenient way.
3. Measure and Report Like a Direct Sales Team
The sales team at any company tracks data and statistics to evaluate which operations are successful and which are not. Research shows that over 60% of partner executives are very concerned about measuring the success of their partner ecosystem. Tracking mechanisms and measurement tools have been used for a long time by sales teams, and it’s time for partner programs to do the same for co-selling.
Team leaders need to define, track, analyze, and report KPI statistics to partners for improved sales. Advanced data and up-to-date analysis will help partners know what is boosting and what is hurting their co-sell operations.
Multiple factors can affect the performance of co-selling within a partner program. All measurement and tracking systems should be designed keeping in mind these factors. Through the right measurement and reporting, partners can make adjustments in the sales process, know about the best-performing partnerships, and do more of what is profitable.
4. Harness the Power of Multi-Way Partnering
Some years back, most partnerships used to be 1-to-1, and the role of a channel partner was to solely promote and sell its partner’s solutions, products, etc. Today companies team up with multiple partners for their business solutions and go-to-market strategies. For example, today it would not be uncommon for a software firm to develop a complete solution collaborating with one or more other complementary ISVs, a hardware company, an SI firm, and a cloud provider.
The influence of channel partners on the customers’ buying process has reduced, and more emphasis is on MSP and SI partners in today’s market. For effective co-selling, you cannot rely solely on channel partners and need to engage better with your ecosystem partners. Partner with multiple companies and use your joint resources and solutions for sustainable business success.
Through the power of multi-way partnering, you can reach a wider audience, offer them better joint solutions, and leverage the extended influence of your trusted ecosystem partners to close business together. Teamwork is always better than individual effort, and you should stay alert for potential business partnership collaborations.
5. Build Infrastructure for Pre-Pipeline (Referrals and Leads)
Managing your sales pipeline is vital to track your leads and stay updated about their movement across buying stages. It will allow all partners to put efforts into a scalable, trackable sales process. The pre-pipeline stage includes potential leads coming from your partners before they are officially accepted by your field sales team as a sales opportunity.
Partners can conduct joint account planning, interact with joint account referrals and leads, and share lead info and data with other team members for faster sales through an aligned, collaborative management of these pre-pipeline opportunities.
An up-to-date and reliable pre-pipeline can boost your co-selling process considerably. The right infrastructure must be in place so that all ecosystem partners can align their leads and referrals at a single place. Each partner will have access to more referrals and can close more deals. With accurate, up-to-date pre-pipeline data, more deals can be closed, which increases your co-sell revenue.
6. Prioritize Data Security to Reduce Risk and Build Trust
Imagine you are in a business partnership with three other software providers. The total amount of data and other resources combined will be too much to manage and handle. In a big partner ecosystem, different partners have specific roles and contributions. Managing all joint co-sell operations across the ecosystem is hard, and secure, easily scalable solutions are really vital.
Also, data from a particular business may be useful for a certain partner and irrelevant or potentially damaging if shared with the wrong partner. Therefore, data segmentation and fine-grained access plays a big part in security policies. Multiple partners make co-selling operations complicated, and partnering leaders should give data access to partners only if it’s relevant to their workflow.
There will never be trust and understanding between business partners if it is not safe to conduct operations. Ecosystem partners need to make sure that data from each business stays safe and unauthorized personnel don’t have access to confidential data. The threat of sharing the wrong spreadsheet with the wrong partner can destroy trust quickly so proper security infrastructure is a must to neutralize this concern.
7. Adopt a Shared System of Record for Partnering
Over the past few years, more and more companies are incorporating partnerships and using co-selling strategies. Stats prove that partner teams are responsible for 1/3rd of a company’s valuation and overall sales revenue. Even after providing so much value to a company, most partner teams are not properly funded or appreciated by their leadership. This happens because there is no proper system in place to track the work of partner teams and measure their value and impact.
Companies regularly use disjointed presentations, spreadsheets, emails, etc., to manage co-sell partnerships, and this is the core reason behind the under-appreciation of partner teams. For better co-selling motions, organizations should use a shared system of record. This shared system allows teams to engage with partners in an effective and dependable manner.
Partners can use the shared system to provide accurate, reliable, and comprehensive records of their work and operations to leadership. This ensures that organizations do not undervalue the contribution of partner teams, keeping them happy and motivated.
Businesses in today’s market don’t have time to explore and develop innovative tech solutions independently. Working with ecosystem partners is the new norm, and this is the perfect time to join forces with the right partners.
In this blog, we read about some of the best practices you can use to drive your co-sell motions. Through co-selling, you can build long-term partnerships and increase sales revenue quickly. To learn more, go through our Ultimate Co-Sell Guide and master the art.