A DIY Approach to Co-selling

Co-selling can be just the ticket to more sales and a stronger partnership with the Cloud Providers, but it isn’t always easy. Here’s what to do to overcome roadblocks.

In mid-2021, ABC Software Company – a Series C startup – applied to a co-sell program with a Cloud Provider, hoping to tap into the Provider’s extensive leads. As the months went on, ABC still hadn’t been accepted. With hundreds of other ISVs seeking the Cloud Provider’s time and resources, the competition was fierce.

So ABC Software Company elected to try an unconventional approach to co-selling. Rather than wait for leads and contacts from the Cloud Provider, they stepped up their efforts to move direct deals to the Marketplace. In February 2022, ABC moved its first transaction to the Marketplace, then in March, signed another, sizable deal.

The Cloud Provider took notice. A good portion of ABC’s registered deals were successfully closing in the Marketplace. Soon enough, the Cloud Provider began to send better leads to ABC, and by late May 2022, ABC was accepted into the Cloud Provider’s co-sell program for startups.

This scenario is a good example of how a “do-it-yourself” approach to generating Marketplace deals can help stack the deck in the ISV’s favor, so that the Cloud Provider is more likely to offer acceptance to a co-sell program.


Why and when should an ISV take the DIY route?

“This technique involves more grassroots selling on the ISV’s part, outside of an organized co-sell program.”

The good news is that DIY co-selling is not as grueling as it may sound. Simply put, this technique involves more grassroots selling on the ISV’s part, outside of an organized co-sell program. The ISV leans on its own sales efforts to try to generate sales through the Marketplace, rather than relying on a co-sell program.

There are two primary reasons for DIY co-selling:

  • To garner the attention of the Cloud Provider through increased sales, and thus pave the way for acceptance into a co-sell program (here is a rundown on the basics of co-selling for startups). Co-sell partnerships with the Cloud Providers do not happen overnight. The process can take longer than expected, but demonstrating a history of Marketplace deals can help the process along.
  • To boost sales, even if you’re enrolled in a co-sell program, outside of the formal co-sell arrangement.

In the first scenario (by far the most popular approach), the ultimate goal is to eventually co-sell with a Cloud Provider. Doing it yourself right out of the gate has the dual advantage of generating revenue through the Marketplace in the short-term, while also building a successful track record to help increase the likelihood that the ISV will be accepted into a co-sell program.

The second reason to go the DIY route is to quickly increase sales, regardless of the ISV’s status within a co-sell program. This most often occurs because even acceptance into a co-sell program doesn’t guarantee sales will increase exponentially – or at all. To use a basketball analogy, a co-sell program is not a slam dunk, but more akin to an assist for a layup, and even then the ball sometimes misses the basket.

If the layups just aren’t landing where they should – or if you can’t even get in the game – a homespun co-sell effort can be an alternate approach.

Read More: How to Scale Your Cloud Marketplace Revenue

For startups in crowded, highly competitive segments (such as security, or data management and storage), gaining the Cloud Provider’s attention may be challenging, or the Cloud Provider may not have the time and resources to offer assistance equally to all. For these ISVs, it’s going to be more difficult to clear the necessary hurdles to be accepted in a co-sell program, and in these instances, DIY may be the answer.


DIY Marketplace transactions through existing deals

Now that you know why ISVs may want to try this unorthodox approach, let’s talk about how.

One technique for creating DIY Marketplace transactions is to move in-process direct deals to the Marketplace.

At some point during the sales motion, your account executives introduce the Marketplace as an option, highlighting the benefits of a Marketplace transaction (such as ease of procurement, or the ability to utilize cloud-spend). Underscoring the benefits of Marketplace transactions – and factoring that into pricing negotiations – is a powerful incentive for a customer to buy on the Marketplace, and a prime opportunity to move a software deal that’s 70% complete onto the Marketplace.

Waiting until deals are more than, say, 50% through the sales cycle before moving the transaction to the Marketplace raises the chances for successfully closing the deal, and the Cloud Provider will take notice of a string of Marketplace wins.

Certainly, not all ISVs have a multitude of deals waiting in the wings, primed and ready for a move to the Marketplace. In this case, it might make more sense to direct renewals through the Marketplace. A string of renewals transacted through the Marketplace can have considerable impact, and demonstrates to the Cloud Provider that your company is committed to moving future business to the Marketplace.

Read more: Marketplace Myths and Misconceptions   


DIY doesn’t mean flying solo

Ultimately, the goal of DIY co-selling is to quickly build sales traction and gain wins.

But it’s also more than that: You’re also looking to garner the attention of the Cloud Provider and establish your ISV as an earnest and engaged player in the Marketplace – whether you’re trying to join a co-sell program or just boost sales. The more closely you can align with the Cloud Provider, the more successful you’ll be.

So a DIY tactic doesn’t mean sidestepping the ISV/Cloud Provider relationship. It just means you’ve elected to take an expedited path to the same destination.

To see how Tackle can help you get listed and scale your Cloud Marketplace revenue, schedule a demo.