We hope you are enjoying the summer sun and that you had a spectacular 4th of July to those in the USA. Last week we had a blast hosting our Ecosystem Business Summit with some incredible Microsoft co-sell experts: Megan Buntain, Dan Rippey, and Paul Flig.
With around 400 people registered, we had 130+ ecosystem professionals joining live, constantly contributing thoughts and engaging in discussions.
Here’s the Event Roundup!
We’ve curated the event’s panel highlights and poll responses. Read on to dive deeper into the topics that matter most to you!
Chief Partner Officers are Driving Impact
There has been an increase in prominence for Chief Partner Officers in the last 2-3 years. This has been brought on by a growing recognition of the strategic importance of ecosystem partnering and co-selling. The shift to co-sell results in dramatically improved revenue growth, win-rates, productivity, ROI, and market/account expansion, as well as faster time to market.
Challenges Surrounding Business Ecosystems
While co-sell is highly beneficial it is difficult and companies lacking the proper internal organization ecosystems fail easily. These challenges include risky tools–disparate spreadsheets, presentations and emails– disjointed processes, inconsistent data and poor culture/team morale.
Ecosystem Flywheel to Revenue
Think about the full lifecycle of your ecosystem partnering motions. We call this the Ecosystem Flywheel to Revenue. Customers often start by focusing on co-selling with partners because that’s the most direct path to revenue. But to really capture the full value of your ecosystem partnering, keep in mind the entire flywheel including co-innovating with your partners, co-marketing to bring those solutions to market, and then investing wins back into the joint business with co-investment.
Empower Partner Teams with Shared Systems
Traditionally companies look at their infrastructure in terms of individual systems, such as their Salesforce system or CRM system. WorkSpan creates a combined ecosystem aligning all partner and sales teams on co-selling while treating each partner working together as peers on a shared network to work together and close more business.
Key Capabilities for Ecosystem Management
There are some fundamental capabilities required in any ecosystem management solution. These capabilities include ecosystem business process, ecosystem data hub, ecosystem access control, ecosystem intelligence and multi-party ecosystems. If you’re considering an ecosystem management solution, make sure you’ve included these critical capabilities on your evaluation criteria!
Best Practices and Trends
Structure your organization for ecosystem by managing the customer lifecycle and making co-sell repeatable. Enable opportunity sharing with secure data and accountability. Quantify outcomes by establishing key metrics important to your business. And prepare for multi-party collaboration with your ecosystem partners.
"This is the right moment in the industry for ecosystems. This is the early part of the decade of ecosystems where we see immense collaboration and companies building bridges between sales forces in the service of their customers." ~ Amit Sinha
Hear From Our Panel on Co-Selling with Microsoft!
Best Practices & Successes
Seeq has chosen to offer one co-sell solution and double down on that. It is paramount to be crisp on where solutions fit and how they fill a gap. Remember to make it SIMPLE. Start from a place of credibility then build the program around the co-sell solution. It is important to codify best practices, highlight success stories and create a repeatable commercial model.
Role of Technology Enablers
There are 3 keys to the co-sell tech stack, and WorkSpan is pivotal here. First is opportunity management. WorkSpan is pivotal in how we run the business and how we assure that pipeline is seamless. The second part is marketplace, where we’ve invested to create private offers connected to CRM. Third is content management for sharing win-wires and info with Microsoft - customer case stories, etc. A soft benefit of ecosystems is pulling from the value of the other customers that are already driving co-sell business.
Advice for Other Microsoft Partners
As you’re sharing the value of co-sell to the rest of your organization, discuss where it fits relative to other investments. It is important to have both patience and urgency. Urgency to keep pushing on ROI and KPIs. Patience that it will grow over a period of time into long term benefits with key milestones along the way. Understand the inner workings of Microsoft and keep it at the forefront of your hiring process.
“Make your Customer/Microsoft value prop fit in a Dixie cup!” ~ Megan Buntain
Best Practices & Successes
Get started in an area where you provide unique value. New partners often don’t realize that Microsoft won’t serve all customers on their own. We recruit partners to deliver. Understand where Microsoft is deficient in partner capacity and build solutions there. If there are problems, work with Microsoft to optimize for the field and pare down solutions that don’t perform.
Future, Microsoft Cloud Partner Program
The program will simplify the co-sell system to align partners in 6 solution areas. The goal is to bring new customers to our partners more effectively and in a manner that is custom tailored to all parties. All roads lead to co-selling with Microsoft to drive revenue.
Co-Selling Motions with Microsoft
Partners leverage their partnership to sell with Microsoft and sell bi-directionally. The key to co-sell is co-sell at scale, which is built on 3 principles. First, to deliver on the promise of leveraging partnerships to increase revenue. Next, respect that sometimes partners need Microsoft's help and sometimes they don’t. Finally, it is essential to have the right tooling that makes integrations feel natural.
“Invest in WorkSpan now to create the mass transit system for your organization that carries the traffic of co-selling.” ~ Dan Rippey
Role of Technology Enablers
If your business is at scale, trying to use APIs to Microsoft Partner Center doesn’t work well. It’s not efficient for your engineering teams to spend their time building connections to the MPC APIs because things change and we don’t want things to break with version control. Instead, we rely on WorkSpan for those connection points.
Best Practices & Successes
It is valuable to keep it simple with Microsoft and stay updated on the most important aspects of their scorecard. Do this by facilitating an ongoing dialogue with Microsoft and be mindful of where you fit in other sales cycles.
Challenges & Hurdles in Co-Selling
It was a difficult transition to communicate Rackspace’s value proposition in today’s market –not as a competitor as we may have been in the past – to Microsoft field teams. We overcame this through in-depth education with the Microsoft teams to improve understanding and change their old paradigm.
“Tie into your partner’s priorities, solutions and sales cycles for joint success.” ~ Paul Flig
During the summit, we ran a few short polls. Have a look at the interesting results!
Feel free to share this blog with friends who might be interested in learning about co-selling with Microsoft!
If you have questions or want to chat with us, please reach out.
We’d love to hear from you!
Thanks again for making EBS a success. We’ll see you at our next event!
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Chip is passionate about building strong communities and ecosystems around enterprises to build excitement for the category, deliver value for customers, and grow the business. Prior to WorkSpan, Chip was with SAP for over 13 years, most recently growing the SAP Community Network to over 2 million engaged customers, partners, and developers. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and an engineering degree from Northwestern.