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Making the Most of the AWS ISV Accelerate Program

AWS wrapped up 2020 by hosting a re:Invent unlike any we’ve ever experienced before and had a deluge of announcements to go along with it. Here at Tackle, we are particularly excited about AWS making its ISV Accelerate Program open to the public! The ISV Accelerate Program is geared towards AWS Partners who provide solutions that run on or are integrated with AWS and want to engage and co-sell with AWS. ISV Accelerate (ISV-A) helps AWS Partners drive new business and accelerate sales cycles by connecting participating ISVs with the AWS Sales organization.

Tackle’s Journey through the ISV Accelerate Program

Tackle joined this ISV-A program in mid-2020. At that time, it was invite-only and required ISVs to meet very specific requirements. Since joining the program, Tackle has seen a significant increase in the amount of activity with AWS and this has also translated directly to new leads and revenue. Perhaps a victim of its own success, the ISV Accelerate Program was probably one of AWS’s worst kept secrets. The good news is that now that it’s been announced, Tackle can finally share a bit about our experience and advice we have for other companies looking to join up.

Our journey into the ISV Accelerate Program started in Q1 of 2020. Tackle had just joined the APN Advanced Partner Tier and we were looking for ways to lean in. One of the major focuses for us then was to figure out how to co-sell with AWS and so we decided to invest heavily into AWS’s partner portal, ACE. We began submitting more and more deals into the ACE portal and before long we were getting the attention of various teams within AWS. 

There are two major reasons why Tackle caught the attention of so many AWS team members and why we received an invite into the program. Tackle sells almost exclusively through our cloud partner’s Marketplaces. Additionally, the majority of these deals leverage Private Offers. Both of these points made it very appealing to AWS to invite Tackle to join the program because the way we sell directly overlaps with everything the AWS team cares about. 

Once multiple parties came to us asking if we had heard of ISV Accelerate we decided to ask our Partner Development Manager (PDM) for more information and to see if we could join. The program was still in its infancy at the time and only had a small group of ISVs in it. In order to join the program, there were some very specific business requirements we had to meet as well as certain tasks we had to complete. Those requirements were easily met because of our initial activity in ACE. The latter requirements included things such as creating a go-to-market deck for the AWS team to review, a formal business plan, and a forecast of co-sell deals. We wanted to move rather quickly and our Partner Development Manager (PDM) was extremely helpful in pushing us through the approval process. After submitting everything, Tackle was formally welcomed into the ISV Accelerate Program at the end of Q2 in 2020.

Benefits of the AWS ISV Accelerate Program

Joining the ISV Accelerate Program provided Tackle with a lot of momentum heading into Q3 of 2020 with a near-immediate uptick on deal activity from AWS. Another benefit that is often overlooked is the discounted AWS Marketplace fees that are associated with being in the program. At Tackle, we saw our fees reduced by an average of around 2%. That doesn’t sound that impressive on its face, but when you treat the Marketplace as a channel and do significant amounts of business through AWS, it adds up quickly. 

ISV Accelerate is, by far, the most successful co-selling program that we’ve been a part of. The amount of engagement and leads sent from AWS has tripled when compared to the level of activity before joining ISV Accelerate. For all the sellers out there not already in the ISV Accelerate Program, we highly recommend inquiring about it. It is crazy to think about how far we’ve come in the six months since joining and that it all started with leaning into ACE. 

Here’s our best advice for ISVs looking to take the next step in their partner journey:

  • Start by inquiring

Don’t be afraid to ask your AWS contacts about their programs and how you can get more involved. Start with your Partner Development Manager, but almost anyone in the cast of supporting AWS characters can help point you in the right direction. There are numerous resources available to partners and programs through the APN, you just need to inquire.

  • Lean into ACE and deal registration

Registering deals within the partner portal makes sure that the AWS Sales teams are aware of and can assist with helping you close more deals. Since AWS reps have quotas for assisting partners in closing deals, they are motivated to help and bring new leads into your pipeline. 

Read our blog on How to Sell More on AWS Marketplace with ACE for more on this. 

  • Create assets

Build out a book of materials with information about your company, what you do, who you serve, how you go to market. This as well as providing the right requirements gives the AWS teams what they need to best understand your business and your market, enabling them to help. 

  • Leverage Private Offers

We mentioned earlier that AWS reps have quotas—that extends beyond just deals closing. Part of finding success is understanding what different groups within AWS care about. Private Offers can help check multiple boxes for different groups within AWS. Sometimes it’s revenue related, sometimes it’s what AWS refers to as a “design win,” other times it may even be directly related to the number of Private Offers sent. 

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