For partner companies looking to extend their customer reach, Microsoft offers a path to connect directly with customers, share leads with Microsoft and other partner sellers, and differentiate their expertise to drive positive customer outcomes and mutual revenue. Microsoft sets itself apart through a shared commitment to growth, by aligning our marketing engines and our global sales force with our powerful—and largest in the world—partner ecosystem delivering innovative, trusted solutions to solve customer needs as they digitally transform.

Over the past several years, our industry has shifted from a transactional model to a consumption model. This means that customers now subscribe to products that they used to purchase long-term licensing agreements for, shifting the responsibility of ensuring they continually receive value from our solutions to Microsoft and our partners. While this means we all risk losing a customer if they decide to shut off a subscription, it also provides an unprecedented opportunity to actively help customers understand and engage with our offerings on an ongoing basis and reap the associated benefits. When we work together as a network to keep customers happy and aligned daily, it can result in lifetime relationships that can generate value for years to come.

As our industry has evolved, so has co-selling with the Microsoft Partner Network. Today, partners have access to customized guidance and a robust library of resources to support them along every step of the partner journey, from building a solution and going to market to sourcing leads and forming new symbiotic partnerships – both with Microsoft and other partners. This integrated approach has helped all of us better meet the ever-changing needs of our customers, while maximizing efficiencies between our organizations at the same time—and plenty of untapped potential remains. There are a variety of ways to capitalize on co-sell opportunities, which I’ve outlined below.

Engage and co-sell with Microsoft and the broader partner ecosystem

Acquiring new customers is key to staying viable in a cloud subscription economy. Participation in the Microsoft partner ecosystem grants you access to a broad base of customers, easing the burden of identifying and tracking new prospects. Your engagement can additionally reveal a pipeline of leads and referrals from both Microsoft and other partners. These key benefits support your business development efforts and can allow you to scale more rapidly. 

In addition to discovering net-new customers, you can also realize opportunities for joint sales with Microsoft sellers and other partners in the network. Co-selling with partners typically results in a larger sale on average than those sold independently, which incentivizes sellers and partners to work with each other to identify synergies and join forces. Throughout the collaborative process, we provide tailored support and guidance to help both organizations maximize the benefits of working together.

Be empowered and transact in a world-class commerce platform or the commercial marketplace

The Microsoft commercial marketplace serves as a hub for Microsoft customers, resellers, and partners across the globe. As discussed in a recent blog post, the commercial marketplace enables partners to publish solutions alongside Microsoft’s first-party offerings across:

  • Microsoft’s product catalog
  • Azure Marketplace
  • Microsoft AppSource
  • In-product purchase experiences
  • Cloud Solution Provider experiences for reselling
  • Microsoft’s sales team tooling

With inherent powerful commerce capabilities, the commercial marketplace opens up your solutions to be discoverable to millions of customers across 141 geographies and provides access to Microsoft’s existing procurement relationships (MCA or EA). It also includes access to the right go-to-market resources to help build demand for your new solutions, as well as the Marketplace Rewards program, which unlocks sales, marketing and technical benefits designed to support partner offers at each specific stage of growth.

Evolve your value proposition through upskilling

Partners can also access a variety of tools and resources to broaden and deepen the skills and services they offer to customers by completing our technical certifications, silver and gold competencies, advanced specializations and Azure Expert Managed Services Provider (MSP). These designations help partners develop and display their expertise—differentiating your organization in the market—which in turn enables customers to more easily discover the partners that are best equipped to meet their specific needs.

Upskilling generates added value and confidence for customers, which is why Microsoft is so committed to supplying meaningful training resources for our partners. For example, a licensing guide may only be needed to facilitate licensing renewals, whereas a technical guide can offer expertise that clients will lean on regularly throughout the year. This can equate to increased revenue for your organization, and the additional customer touchpoints can lead to cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

We’re committed to helping your organization access the growth opportunities needed to thrive both individually and as part of the broader network. As we collaborate and align our efforts across the full partner ecosystem, we’ll continue to become more effective at delivering innovative solutions and outstanding experiences for our shared customers, which will help all of us achieve more together. We appreciate your ongoing partnership and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together. For more information on co-selling with Microsoft, visit the Microsoft partner website.