A Guide to Co-selling with AWS

One of the best ways for an ISV to scale is through co-selling with a Cloud Provider. In fact, Tackle’s 2022 State of Cloud Marketplaces Report noted that 84% of ISVs said driving co-sell with the Cloud Providers is important or very important to their business priorities in the next 12 months, and 74% said that unlocking co-sell opportunities was the number one reason for listing on a Cloud Marketplace. 

Co-selling is an integral part of an effective Cloud GTM strategy and is also key to building a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with a Cloud Provider. Fortunately, AWS has created a robust co-sell program to help ISVs build momentum and generate leads. Here are some of the highlights of the program, along with a few tips to help you get the most out of co-selling with AWS.


What is co-selling with AWS?

Co-selling is the sharing and collaborating on leads and opportunities between an AWS Partner and the AWS Sales field. The purpose of co-selling is to increase the amount of leads/opportunities shared between both AWS and the AWS Partner. Co-sell increases the likelihood of closing these opportunities by fostering collaboration across teams and communicating the value each side (AWS and the Partner) offers the customer.

Read more: A Guide to Co-selling with Microsoft 


What are the benefits of co-selling with AWS?

According to AWS’ data, co-selling with the Cloud Provider in AWS Marketplace has a few distinct advantages: 

  • Deals were 80% larger 
  • Win rate increased by 27%
  • Sales cycle decreased by 40%
  • 20% of pipeline was referred by AWS team via Marketplace 

Although transacting on AWS Marketplace is not a requirement for co-selling with AWS, leveraging co-sell to generate business and using AWS Marketplace to close that business are synergistic. A co-sell relationship opens new doors and opportunities. 

For example, buyers making purchases through AWS Marketplace can do so via AWS’ two committed cloud spend programs: the Enterprise Discount Program (EDP) and the Private Pricing Agreement (PPA). Buyers are more inclined to use a Marketplace for purchases if they’ve already committed spend to one of those programs. In a co-sell relationship with AWS, these budgets may become more accessible to ISVs as AWS will more eagerly pair potential customers with your product to help buyers draw down on those cloud budgets. In turn, AWS benefits from increased cloud consumption.   

Read more: Startup Essentials: Making the Most of AWS Marketplace


AWS co-sell program overview

The AWS co-sell program is facilitated through the APN Customer Engagement (or “ACE”) tool, a portal that enables ISVs to securely collaborate and co-sell with AWS. 

Partners can register and manage pipeline opportunities with the AWS team through ACE. This helps to enhance customer engagement and grow your overall business with AWS and your customers.

Once an opportunity is registered in ACE you get access to AWS account owners who are assigned to that account in the “Contacts” section.

Read more: How to Sell More on AWS Marketplace With the ACE Program


The ISV’s responsibilities

When it comes to co-selling, the ISV must educate the AWS team on how its product or service is different from—or better than—a competitor’s product or service. This is best achieved by crafting a “better together” story describing the specific value that the partner’s solution offers to AWS customers.

Partners should leverage the “better together” story to build their AWS Field Readiness Kit (FRK), an AWS internal document which helps AWS teams and AWS customers better understand your product/service, and helps enable co-selling efforts. Similarly to the way you enable your internal sales team to sell, you want to ensure AWS Field Sales teams understand your product, positioning, and personas. 

In addition, Tackle’s complimentary template download, Creating a “better together” story, can also help clarify your messaging.    


AWS’ responsibilities

It is the AWS team’s responsibility to understand the thousands of solutions available to their customers and suggest (or introduce) the best one to meet the customer’s needs. The AWS team can assist ISVs by providing insight and potentially access to contacts inside the customer account. These include:

Supporting Partner referred opportunities, which may include meeting with the Partner on the opportunity, or offering deal support ranging from identifying customer pain points to key account contacts. 

AWS referred opportunities, which encompasses the above responsibilities but also includes AWS introducing the partner to the customer opportunity.

There are three ways to engage with AWS through a co-sell relationship, each with its own benefits. ISVs usually start at the “base” level and progress through each step sequentially:

Key roles and people you’ll encounter through APN

As you work with AWS in your co-selling efforts, these are the people and roles you’ll most likely interact with:

  • Partner Development Manager (PDM): Serves as the go-to AWS representative. For example, the PDM works with the partner’s AWS alliance lead to establish go-to-market programs and business development programs.
  • Account Manager (AM): Leads adoption of AWS and their services with customers
  • Partner Success Manager (PSM): Drives adoption of System Integrators, Channel Partners, and ISVs with customers.
  • AWS Marketplace Customer Advisor: Drives AWS Marketplace adoption for AWS customers and sellers.
  • Solutions Architect: Ensures customers are successful with adoptions of AWS services.
  • ISV Success Manager (ISM): Works with AWS sales teams to select and deploy the right ISVs to assist with customer needs. 


Best practices for co-selling with AWS

The trick to making co-sell work is knowing how to maximize your impact on the AWS sales team. This is done by clearly outlining the value that your offer provides, to both the customer and to AWS. Here are a few tips for developing a co-sell strategy with AWS:

  • Have a clear story showing how your product/service will help both the AWS team and their customers.
  • Leverage the information in ACE and develop a repeatable formula for introducing appropriate stakeholders to collaborate on deals.
  • Establish a sales formula/process for collecting all information needed for submitting an opportunity into ACE.
  • When an opportunity presents itself, take advantage of account mapping with the AWS team (most likely through your contact at AWS) and share updates on existing pipeline, and potential new opportunities, for the future.
  • If possible, calculate the amount of AWS services your product will consume when deployed, and share this information with AWS. This is important to the AWS team from a compensation standpoint. It’s a good idea to also learn how each person you interact with at AWS is motivated/compensated. Knowing the motivations of each AWS representative will help you figure out how to tailor conversations and requests to their specific needs.

Co-selling with AWS is an effective way to put your product in front of a lot of buyers and speed time-to-market. Fortunately, AWS continues to enhance its co-sell program with incentives created specifically to help ISVs make the most of cloud selling. 

To help you create a more effective “better together” story, download Tackle’s complimentary template.

See the Complete Cloud Co-sell Guidebook

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