Bekker's Blog

Blog archive

Partners Jumping Aboard Microsoft Co-Sell Program

The co-selling program that Microsoft publicly unveiled last July is booming, according to Microsoft's worldwide channel chief.

Gavriella Schuster provided details of the program on Wednesday during a State of the Channel briefing with reporters and industry analysts.

Microsoft first discussed the co-selling program at its Inspire 2017 conference. At the time, Microsoft had been doing a pilot version of the program, in which Microsoft and partners jointly took the partner's solution to market as a packaged offering.

"That is about not selling Microsoft solutions but actually selling partner services," Schuster said Wednesday. "[We're] taking the end solution that a partner has built on the Microsoft technology that really meets the customer demand more specifically and bringing that partner in to sell with us to those business decision makers."

The pilot program during Microsoft's 2017 fiscal year, which ended last June 30, involved 500 co-sell partners. By June 2017 there were 1,400 partners, and in December 2017 the full-fledged program reached 9,000 participating partners.

"That is about not selling Microsoft solutions but actually selling partner services."

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft

Helping drive participation both with partners and internally at Microsoft is a $250 million Microsoft investment in seller incentives. Some of that funding gives Microsoft sales reps payment on up to 10 percent of the annual contract value of the joint solution.

Schuster said the project sizes are on average nearly six times larger when a partner is involved, and she said opportunities are closing faster than with regular deals, as well.

Some partners co-selling with Microsoft through the program are OSIsoft, which has 12 joint wins with Microsoft, and DataStax, which is reporting a 140 percent increase in pipeline through the co-sell opportunities.

Schuster said the co-selling program is a way for Microsoft and partners to align better with the shift in IT decision-making from centralized IT departments to line-of-business leaders.

"In order for us to get them the kind of information and insight [that they need], the right solutions, we said we have to think about the way we sellĀ our technology differently. So instead of the traditional supply chain approach that we've had with our partners where Microsoft produces a product, our partners then sell it, and then our partners will deliver the services and post-sales support to our customers for deployment, we said we have to reimagine that, and the reimagination is something we call co-sell," Schuster said.

There are rigorous criteria for getting involved in the co-selling program, involving proven competency and capability, as well as having the right types of employees in the appropriate geographies. Once those are established, Microsoft will work on building a joint business plan with the partner. "Then what we would do is package up their services and ours together into our catalog," Schuster said.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 24, 2018 at 2:44 PM