When You Light Up Co-sell, You Light Up Your Brand

When You Light Up Co-sell, You Light Up Your Brand

Did Microsoft’s Year of the Marketplace announcement confuse you about the role of co-sell? I’ve spoken with dozens of ISVs that are looking for advice on how to win with Microsoft now that the scorecard has changed. In the spirit of helping as many of you as possible, here is a brief explainer.

While Microsoft may have changed the metrics around co-sell, sharing your opportunities is still essential to driving your company brand, increasing your relationships, and turning your cloud partnership into a meaningful revenue channel.

I haven’t met an ISV who doesn’t want the decoder ring on what truly motivates Microsoft, and all of the cloud giants for that matter.

The good news is if you can figure it out for one Cloud Provider, the motivations across the clouds are similar; they all just use different acronyms. Let’s take a step back and think about the fundamentals.  


All Cloud Providers are driven by 2 metrics:

  1. Selling Cloud Consumption – By acquiring new customer logos, expanding with existing customers, and signing ever-growing cloud commitment agreements
  2. Generating Cloud Consumption – Actual utilization of the products and services that burn down the spend commitments


Cloud consumption is generated by customers in 3 main ways:

  1. Consuming the Cloud Provider’s 1st party products. Those are native Cloud Provider products and services.
  2. Buy and deploy 1st party ISV products directly from the Cloud Provider 
  3. Buy and deploy 3rd party ISV products. These products can be purchased directly or through the Marketplace. To be sold through a Cloud Marketplace, the ISV solution is verified to be platformed on that cloud and therefore consuming cloud resources. Marketplace is fast becoming the source of truth for both co-sell and overall relationship status.  

Cloud consumption is not only important because it concurs with the Cloud Providers’ top line but also because it increases the stickiness to the cloud platform (the more customers use cloud services, the harder it gets to move away from them). The partner ecosystem with their products and solutions, becomes instrumental to increasing stickiness to one platform or the other. 


What is the decoder ring?

The key to your success as an ISV is to light up on the Cloud Providers’ scorecards and for that to happen, you need to make sure that you stay connected to your customers and to the cloud consumption they are generating.

For an ISV, the three main ways you can quantifiably connect yourself to cloud consumption are:

  1. Build a SaaS solution running in your cloud tenant (partner tenant) – As customers start to use your product – your footprint will grow inside that cloud. It is undeniable the impact your product has in driving consumption. It will not only get the Cloud Provider’s attention, it can unlock investments to reach more customers and it will frequently open up more doors across the Cloud Provider organization. Cloud Sellers won’t know which customers are using your product if you don’t drive visibility through Co-sell.
  2. Sell your product through the Cloud Marketplace, deployed in either your SaaS tenant or in the customer’s tenant. Marketplace is the best way to show the direct impact your product has on cloud consumption. 
  3. Share your sales pipeline through the Cloud Partner’s bi-directional pipeline sharing platform to raise visibility of where you are driving direct and/or influenced cloud compute and how your product is solving customers’ pain points.

Co-selling should be a part of everyone’s Cloud GTM strategy. If you don’t share your deals, how will you drive visibility and engage the partnership around the consumption you are generating, and the customer business problems you are solving by complementing their portfolio?

When your customers deploy your products and utilize cloud services, you hit every cloud seller’s metrics that matter. If you want to align to the Cloud Partner’s sales teams, regions, and industries—and turn your cloud partnership into a meaningful revenue channel—co-sell must be a part of your Cloud GTM strategy. Sharing opportunities and driving co-sell through the Marketplace and with the cloud sellers is how to make your spotlight even brighter—and keep your competition in the dark.