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Virtual PDM Virtual Partner Development Manager
Nov 26,2020

Co-Sell Blog Part 1: Growing your business through co-selling with Microsoft.

The market and your customers are changing – is your organisation optimised for this customer transformation?

Even before the effects of this year heightened the digital buyer’s journey, we were seeing changes in how customers were buying. We’ve seen digital selling and buying accelerate, changing the way apps and services are sought out.

In fact, according to Forrester research, 67 percent of business buyers before 2020 preferred to gather their information online and not interact with a sales rep[1]. This has only increased this year as everyone moved to digital channels to buy solutions.

With B2B eCommerce forecast to compound by 10 percent annually through to 2023[2], it’s important to make sure your organisation has the ability to differentiate themselves on the market and provide customers with personalised and relevant content.

Last financial year, co-selling generated over $15 billion in total contract revenue for Microsoft partners. So how you do leverage co-selling successfully? As your virtual Partner Development Manager, I’m here to help you take this opportunity. Let’s start by looking at what we mean by co-selling, and how you can optimise for your growth.

Every partner can co-sell with Microsoft

It can be difficult to extend your reach and grow your business while creating valuable customer connections. Collaborative selling, or co-selling for short, with Microsoft is a better-together approach that drives mutual customer success and revenue. It could be co-selling apps and IP or it could be co-selling services.

When we work together, we accomplish more. Wins are accelerated when co-selling, with 3.5 times faster velocity when co-selling through Partner Center. You can access new markets and the global partner reseller network. Drive innovation by creating custom solutions with Microsoft and other partners. Finally, accelerate wins and growth by collaborating with Microsoft sellers to generate leads, amplify marketplace listings and close deals.

Three ways to co-sell

Co-selling with Microsoft is the path for partners to be discovered, deliver their expertise and expand their customer footprint for positive customer outcomes. This better-together selling approach delivers enriched value and specialisation to help customers with their digital transformation needs. Together with Microsoft sellers and the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace, partners can showcase their solutions to millions of customers, bi-directionally share opportunities with other Microsoft and partner sellers and jointly sell innovative solutions to create valuable customer relationships.

So, let’s look more closely at the 3 ways to co-sell:

  1. Our biggest motion to reach customers is through the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace. It’s a launchpad to your go-to-market solutions with millions of buyers globally and access to our marketing sales engine. This channel is growing at over 400 percent each year, and over 4 million monthly active users.  By co-selling, you can open your solutions to customers on the digital marketplace. By doing this, you can be discovered quicker, connect directly with customers, differentiate your expertise and expand your customer footprint worldwide.
  2. You can also work with other partners to create integrated solutions with both IP and managed services to address customer needs holistically from end-to-end. This allows you to tap into our rich community of skilled partner sellers to meet the ever-growing cloud demand. Our CSP’s generate over 500,000 partner to partner opportunities each year.
  3. Finally, our Microsoft sales force works with partners to generate and share sales leads using our go-to-market services, sales plays and customer ecosystem mapping.

These are the many paths you can use to get discovered by customers looking for new solutions. With all our solution areas – Business Applications, Applications/Infrastructure/Data and AI, and Modern Work and Security – there’s a place for your partnership to thrive with us.

How to get started with co-selling

You may adopt one, some or even all of the above co-selling scenarios depending on your business and its goals. The upshot is that every partner can easily leverage our global brand, sales teams, and distribution networks to broadly reach customers, sell applications and services and accelerate growth.

The Microsoft Commerical Marketplace is the one of the biggest opportunitites for co-selling. It is made up of two key marketplaces. The Azure Marketplace is primarily focused on applications and services optimised to run on Azure for IT Decision Makers. Microsoft Appsource is the place where Business Decision Makers can find solutions and apps and try and buy without seller intervention.

Through the Microsoft Commerical Marketplace, you can reach billions of Microsoft cloud customers in over 140 geographies, and over tens of thousands global reseller partners. It helps simplify customer purchasing and selling. You can also engage with Microsoft’s global sales teams in joint selling and lead generation.

Our partners that see the most success on the Commercial Marketplace are the ones who invest time and effort into the marketplace. Customers who use Azure Marketplace software consume higher amounts of Azure and will stay on Azure longer than non-marketplace customers. 

A 2020 commissioned Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ study found that the key indicators for success are partners who:

  • Designate one or more people to manage their presence in the various storefronts and their relationship with the Microsoft commercial marketplace team.
  • Educate their teams and resellers on why they are participating in the commercial marketplace and how these sellers can benefit from it.
  • Making changes to their sales systems and processes, for example, taking data feeds from the marketplace and AppSource.
  • Creating and executing marketing campaigns that are tied to their marketplace presence.
  • Having regular data analysis of what is working and what needs to be improved in the commercial marketplace. For example, listing content, marketing campaigns, and what direct and indirect sellers are doing successfully.

Co-selling for success

The Microsoft Commercial Marketplace is a fantastic way to deliver to new customer expectations on digital buying and selling, while keeping the content personalised and scalable. It helps you reach new customers and new geographies while connecting with Microsoft and other partners to ensure success.

Keep tuned for our next blog where we’ll go into more detail on marketplace offers, rewards, managing your marketplace listing through Partner Center, and managing and optimising for referrals.

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[1] Customer-Centered Messaging Helps Boost B2B Revenues By Motivating Buyer Action, Forrester Research, Inc., October 2019

[2] US B2B eCommerce Will Hit $1.8 Trillion By 2023, Forrester Research, Inc., January 2019