One of the best ways for an ISV to scale is co-selling with a Cloud Provider. Microsoft has created a robust co-sell program to help ISVs build momentum.
Here are some of the highlights, along with a few tips to help you get the most out of co-selling with Microsoft.
What is co-selling?
Co-selling with any Cloud Provider is a collaborative relationship between the Cloud Provider and the partners within its partner ecosystem. For Microsoft, this process includes shared activities like building demand, sales planning, sharing leads, accelerating partner-to-partner selling, and delivering Marketplace-led commerce.
Microsoft co-sell program overview
Microsoft launched its co-sell program in 2017 specifically to enrich the customer value proposition by incentivizing Microsoft direct sellers to collaborate with the partner ecosystem on a wider set of offerings.
The co-sell program is available for any collaborative engagement between Microsoft and their partner ecosystem. The benefits of co-selling with Microsoft include:
Collaborative sales planning
Sharing sales leads
Accelerating partner-to-partner empowered selling
The program enables partners to co-sell with Microsoft, regardless of the channel in which they are selling — with Microsoft Sellers, with other partners, or directly to the customer through Microsoft commercial marketplace.
The three channels to co-sell with Microsoft
Here’s how the three channels to co-sell with Microsoft break down:
The co-sell program is tiered to allow partners to join with minimal effort. These tiers are essentially designed as steps that operate sequentially, where the co-sell appeal grows as the partnership progresses.
Microsoft sellers are incentivized to “solve the customer’s business problems and drive Microsoft services” (platform or infrastructure) through co-sell opportunities.
Direct sellers will be most interested in those partner solutions that clearly drive Azure consumption and offer a differentiated way to solve customer problems.
ISV partners benefit from co-selling incentives beyond just access to customers and Microsoft Sellers, with three key benefits to Azure IP Co-sell:
Unlock Marketplace fee reductions, bringing the fee down from 20% to 3% for IaaS and SaaS
Cloud Provider partners receive a 10% incentive to sell your SaaS and IaaS offerings
Count third-party software toward a customer’s MACC (Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment) via Marketplace
Leveraging Microsoft’s cloud marketplace to co-sell
Marketplace is at the heart of co-selling — it’s how Microsoft showcases its ISV partnerships. Microsoft has made recent changes to the co-sell program to make it a bit easier for ISVs to achieve the higher “IP Co-sell Incentivized” status.
For example, one of the foundations (and first steps) of co-selling is to publish a listing. Oftentimes, those listings are simply a marketing page, but Microsoft is committed to helping ISVs convert those pages to transactable listings through co-selling. Currently, transactions through Microsoft commercial marketplace are automatically registered, significantly lowering the time and effort to manage co-sell opportunities.
Best practices for co-selling with Microsoft
The trick to making co-sell work for ISVs is knowing how to maximize your impact on the Microsoft direct sales team. This is done by clearly outlining the value that your offer provides, to both the customer and to Microsoft, through a “better together” story.
Here are a few tips for developing a co-sell strategy with Microsoft:
Add details to your lead like what you are trying to achieve, who you are talking to, how far the deal has progressed, and how Microsoft can help
Be clear and explicit in the solution value to get to the “top of the pile”
Invest the time to make the co-sell assets as clear and impactful as possible
Maintain the co-sell assets and ensure they are fresh and relevant
The most effective way to co-sell is to train your sales team on how to carry the “better with Microsoft” story — how does your solution complement Microsoft’s services? How does it drive adoption?
MACC (Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment) and co-sell
The “MACC” program allows enterprise customers to spend down Azure cloud commitment to Microsoft by purchasing third-party software and services through a transactable listing in Microsoft commercial marketplace.
The MACC program creates a strong incentive for buyers to drive transactions through Microsoft commercial marketplace. The number of enterprises having a MACC agreement is expected to increase substantially over the next fiscal year, which should drive more transacting via SaaS listings in the Marketplace.
To be enrolled in MACC:
The partner solution must be sold through Microsoft commercial marketplace (transactable)
The solution must have the “IP Co-sell Incentivized” designation
Co-selling with Microsoft is an effective way to put your product in front of a lot of buyers and speed time-to-market. Fortunately, Microsoft continues to enhance its co-sell program with incentives created specifically to help ISVs make the most of Marketplace selling.