Manage Your Partner Co-Sell: Build vs. Buy

manage your partner cosell build vs buy

Last Updated on August 19, 2021

Today, the revenue opportunity for companies co-selling with partners is estimated to easily exceed $300 billion. The world has changed — traditional channel partner reselling is yielding diminishing returns while co-selling with partners is growing significantly. Companies that have cracked the code on co-sell partnering are experiencing strong revenue growth. 

Co-selling is different from Reselling  

Co-selling requires active collaboration and an aligned sales process between all the partners involved. When you’re co-selling with one or more peer partners, each partner has their own set of solutions or services (SKUs) they are selling to the customer.  

Each joint opportunity is actually represented by separate opportunities in each partner’s CRM system with different dollar amounts, different close dates, different probabilities, and to top it off, different industry, geography, organization, and other designations that vary widely from company to company.  It’s no wonder that each of your partner managers has their own spreadsheet and process to manage their co-sell activities with the partners they work with.

Co-sell eligible partners include a wide variety of partner types — including software, services, hardware, cloud, MSP, and Domain Specific Service partners. Co-sell motions include 1-1 partnering, and on complex deals, could include multiple partners working in concert to close an opportunity together. 

ebm vs prm

An Ecosystem Business Management (EBM) platform is the new way of managing partners in today’s world of cloud computing and speed of innovation where co-selling with your partners is dominating.  Gartner, Forrester, IDC and other industry analysts have recognized this new category of solution — and IDC has defined the key requirements for Ecosystem Business Management platforms.

WorkSpan is the number one Ecosystem Business Management platform and supports and encourages co-selling engagement with your ecosystem partners. Each shared co-sell opportunity is ideated, reviewed, and developed with the cooperation of each partner supporting the opportunity.

Build vs. Buy Decision to support Co-Sell

As co-selling referrals and opportunities scale in volume, companies have to decide on how to platform their co-sell initiatives — a “Build vs. Buy” decision — 

  • Build co-sell capabilities into their Partner Portal by building custom applications around their existing PRM/CRM systems, OR 
  • Buy a co-sell management system that embeds or integrates into their existing PRM/CRM system.

Partner Portal and PRM systems that have been implemented over the last 2 decades cater to the channel resell motions for resellers. They do not cater to ecosystem co-sell motions — the process is different, the participants are different, the incentives are different.

The top four industry analysts who cover the Partnering Technology Stack have all voiced their opinion — Buy, do not Build.

  1. IDC: use “Ecosystem Business Management” systems
  2. Forrester: use “Channel Ecosystem Management” systems
  3. Gartner: use “Partner Ecosystem Management” systems
  4. Accenture: use “Multi-Partner Systems

ebm build vs buy

Our Recommendation: Buy and Connect to your Partner Portal

At WorkSpan, we provide an Ecosystem Business Management as a SaaS application. We have built capabilities by which you can implement and launch your co-sell initiatives on WorkSpan. We also provide capabilities to connect your co-sell initiatives with your partner portal for partners convenience, and with your CRM for your sellers convenience.

The “Buy and Connect” approach gives you best in class co-sell capabilities from the industry’s #1 EBM platform; connecting your co-sell capabilities with your partner portal ensures continuity for your partner experience and protects your partnering investments; connecting your co-sell capabilities with your CRM ensures your sellers close deals faster in the age of co-selling.

Bottom Line

Co-selling is critical to your ability as an ecosystem leader to drive more revenue, increase margins, and focus your resources on the partners driving 80-90% of your partner-led revenue. But you can’t leave your partner managers or your partner leadership team out in the cold any more, relying on spreadsheets to execute on and measure those critical revenue sources.  

Recommended Watch: [On-Demand Webinar] Co-Selling With Partners Has Evolved, And How!

The time is now to modernize your partner co-sell business.  

WorkSpan’s Ecosystem Business Management platform allows you and your partner teams to modernize, operationalize, and professionalize the most important segment of your partner business to effectively co-sell with your top partners and drive more revenue together.

WorkSpan’s Connect-with-your-Partner-Portal and Connect-with-your-CRM capabilities allow you to offer your partners and your sellers a seamless experience driving efficient growth with every interaction.

Mayank Bawa
Mayank has always believed in the importance of data, analytics, and applications in helping people make better decisions. Prior to founding WorkSpan, he founded Big Data pioneer Aster Data Systems, acquired by Teradata in 2011 where he served as Co-President of Teradata Aster division. He has a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University and B.Tech from IIT Bombay.

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