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RCP 350 Spotlight: AvePoint

For RCP 350 partner AvePoint, the company's level of co-sell achievement with Microsoft is a point of pride.

"AvePoint is one of the leading co-sell partners globally, and we're shooting for number one," says Christian Buckley, AvePoint's Microsoft go-to-market director. AvePoint is on the RCP 350, a qualitative list compiled by Redmond Channel Partner of the strongest Microsoft partner companies in the United States.

By co-sell, Buckley is referring to Microsoft's latest evolution of its constant commitment to partner-to-partner (P2P) partnering. According to Microsoft's definition, co-selling is any collaborative engagement between Microsoft and its partner ecosystem in a process involving building demand, sales planning, sharing sales leads, accelerating partner-to-partner empowered selling and delivering marketplace-led commerce.

Buckley, himself a Microsoft MVP, adds, "We're trying to shake the tree and make sure that internally at Microsoft, they're aware of what we're doing broadly, especially on the channel side."

This strategy is a key co-selling component for a partner like AvePoint, which has long provided other Microsoft partners with a wealth of software products designed to enhance Microsoft platform projects. Starting decades ago with SharePoint utilities, AvePoint today delivers augmentation products for Azure, Office 365 and Teams.

Covering All the 'Big Bets'
Successful longtime Microsoft partners have always known what the current "Big Bet" was, from Lync, the original predecessor to Teams, to SharePoint and others. They always knew investing in the Big Bets would put them right in the flowing stream of Microsoft marketing investments. AvePoint has clearly identified and focused on the three current Big Bets: Azure, Teams and Office 365.

As an ISV, AvePoint also realizes that its own best bet is to package its own intellectual property into products other Microsoft partners can resell. "How do you help the channel ecosystem transform from being resellers to trusted advisors?" asks Jason Beal, AvePoint senior vice president for Global Channel & Partner Ecosystems. "How do you help them moving from reselling single solutions to really developing intellectual property or building a business around the ecosystem? And that's exactly what we do."

As the Microsoft business has transformed from a licensing-based market to consumption-based transactions, AvePoint has successfully adjusted its mission to focus its efforts on increasing Azure, Office 365 and Teams consumption.

"AvePoint was among the earliest ISV partners to really make investments in the cloud long before the masses started to move in that direction, so we've been in this space longer than most," Buckley says. He also points out that AvePoint solutions are all built on the Microsoft stack for the Microsoft stack.

Deep Believers in the Co-Sell Motion
Beal believes it's critical for partners to fully adjust to the difference between consumption and procurement-based models. "Partners need to maximize the ecosystem opportunity, the services, additional ISVs, creating their own intellectual property. Those that seem to be doing the best, and seem to be expanding their market, have picked certain verticals," he says.

His formula includes combining Microsoft technology, AvePoint solutions and proprietary software specifically designed for a vertical and packaging it all as a repeatable solution they can sell over and over to customers within that vertical.

Buckley connects this to his core strategy for working well with Microsoft to optimize the return on that relationship. "Whoever you're working with at Microsoft, understand their commitments, what are they measured on. As a partner, you want to get more business, you want to get leads. That'll happen organically," he says. "The more you can align your activities and what you're trying to accomplish with helping them achieve their numbers to meet or beat their annual commitments, the more you're going to get responses out of them. That's the kind of the secret to work with Microsoft."

Posted by Howard M. Cohen on June 01, 2021