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Partner Co-Selling: Gain the Edge with Modern Ecosystems

Chip Rodgers

The Evolution of Business Partnerships

Just as digital technology is rapidly transforming the world, business practices are evolving dramatically as well. The pace of competition is fierce, new innovations appear overnight, industry boundaries are blurring. To compete in this fast-moving world, businesses are exploring connections beyond their narrow verticals or technology expertise to partner, innovate rapidly, and create greater opportunities to grow revenue.

Best-in-class companies see partnerships as a critical business priority and key differentiator.- A Forrester Research

As the ecosystem economy is emerging with increasing customer demands, businesses must adapt to a new way of partnering for innovation or risk becoming obsolete.  James F. Moore, who first introduced the concept of business ecosystems, says successful businesses are those that "evolve rapidly and effectively.”

Survival of the Fittest: Adapting to Co-Sell Models

To survive and thrive in today’s competitive world, companies need to constantly be on the lookout for the next innovation and opportunity to grow their business. Customers want full-stack solutions that may come from multiple vendors, for a complete solution to their business challenges. Co-selling joint solutions with your partners can set you apart and help you get on a powerful growth trajectory.Recommended Watch: [On-Demand Webinar] Co-Selling With Partners Has Evolved, And How!

Seamless partner collaboration ranging from technology, data gathering, analysis, to customer interaction and more, can not only serve as an opportunity to meet the needs of shared customers but also help your business grow. Related Read: Partner Co-Selling: How to Drive More Revenue with Your Ecosystem Partners

Reselling Is the Past, Co-selling Is Now and the Future

Businesses need to maximize their revenue and unleash their partner co-sell opportunities to take advantage of these modern operating models. Traditional reseller models have become commoditized with shrinking margins, industry consolidations, and many resellers attempting to reinvent themselves as service providers.Partner Relationship Management software (PRMs) and partner portals were built and optimized for the days of managing a large number of reseller partners - when companies were shipping boxes of CDs out to resellers and warehouses. PRMs are not built to help companies manage modern co-sell motions.

A recent survey showed 65% of partner professionals don’t even use their company’s PRM portal. And, it’s no surprise! PRMs were never built for managing co-sell activities.

Co-selling is entirely different from reselling. It 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 partner is managing separate opportunities in their own CRM system with different deal sizes, close dates, owners, regions, etc.  Yet the partner managers and sellers need to be aligned to move their individual deals forward.

resell co sell table
With a PRM or a partner portal, you miss out on the opportunities and potential revenue created by active partner collaboration and co-solutioning.

Co-Selling - The Cornerstone to Survive & Thrive

The goal of modern partnering is to earn more revenue from better managed and well-organized partnerships, using strategic cross-industry ecosystem business models. Maximizing partner revenue requires active co-selling collaboration across company boundaries.Featured Resource: The Ultimate Guide to Drive Co-sell Partnerships!With Partner Co-sell, you can:

  • Increase revenue - larger deal size and conversion rates
  • Gain access to unexplored markets
  • Reduce sales cycles and close deals faster
  • Increase your brand awareness
  • Build long-term relationships with partners & customers
  • Increase business efficiency with shared interests, goals, and values

To learn more, read this blog to Manage Your Partner Co-Sell: Build vs. Buy.

EBM Platform: Oil to Co-Sell Wheels

The lack of modern partnering solutions has been a significant barrier to managing and scaling co-sell partnerships. Partner managers rely on spreadsheets, slide decks, and emails to share information and exchange updates on opportunities with partners - not a productive way to reap results.An Ecosystem Business Management (EBM) platform is the new way of managing partners to take advantage of co-selling with your partners.  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.Co-selling with an EBM Platform results in optimized joint solutions, a shared understanding of offerings, and a collaborative selling process to bring the best of each partner to close deals together. Related Blog: Ecosystem Business Management — Principles and Best Practices.

Grow with WorkSpan

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 pulls information from each partner’s CRM for a single, secure view shared by all partners working to close that joint opportunity together.

“CRMs are a sales tool, WorkSpan is the tool that allows our partner managers to drive their joint opportunities forward.”- Mike Bruchey, Global VP Partner Solutions at SAP

With Workspan, you can:

  • Be the CRM Multiplier with Your Top Partners
  • Focus on Partners That Drive Your Revenue
  • Work Together as Peers With Your Top Partners

Related Blog: How to Identify co-sell opportunities and close co-sell revenue with WorkSpan

The Bottom Line

For your company to thrive and flourish as an ecosystem trailblazer, co-sell partnerships are critical. Join hands with your partners and adapt to the changing needs of the partner ecosystem. Get ahead of the game in this rapidly changing business environment to operationalize, modernize and professionalize the most important segment of your partner business - Co-sell partnerships. It is time to effectively co-sell with your top partners and drive more revenue together.

Want to explore and manage your co-sell partnerships?

We are here to help! Have a co-sell specialist reach out to help. Looking forward to helping you grow your partner revenue!

Chief Partner Officer

About Chip Rodgers

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.

Ecosystem Business Management — Principles and Best Practices

We’ve developed a 49-page eBook on the emerging category of Ecosystem Business Management to share learnings from our customers and how to apply best practices successfully in your organization.

  1. IDC says by 2024, those who adopt an ecosystem business model will grow 50% faster than companies that do not.
  2. Accenture’s survey showed 76% of business leaders agree ecosystems will be the catalyst to drive dramatic changes in business models over the next 5 years.
  3. Forrester says ecosystem growth requires automation.

Make sure you’re ready to accelerate revenue with your Ecosystem partners!


Co-Sell Value Workshop

Find out how you score on ecosystem capabilities like processes, pipeline management, collaboration, self-service, automation, tracking and reporting. Get expert guidance. Explore solutions.

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