There's a lot more money to be made via co-selling.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

March 12, 2024

5 Min Read
Co-selling experts at CP Expo 2024
Left to right: Canalys' Jay McBain, PartnerTap's Cassandra Gholston, Crossbeam's Bob Moore and WorkSpan's Amit Sinha at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Las Vegas, March 12, 2024.

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — A Channel Partners Conference & Expo panel of co-selling experts said it’s time for partners to seize the red-hot opportunity of co-selling, one of the biggest trends of 2024.

Jay McBain, chief analyst at Canalys, led the keynote panel. Co-selling experts, who are changing the way IT and connectivity solutions are sold, included:

  • Cassandra Gholston, CEO of PartnerTap, a partner ecosystem platform and co-selling platform for the enterprise.

  • Bob Moore, CEO of Crossbeam, a solution that provides free account mapping tools, networking and attribution tools bringing partnerships and revenue together

  • Amit Sinha, president and co-founder of WorkSpan, a secure SaaS solution to collaborate with partners on deals, exchange co-sell referrals from inside their CRM, manage shared pipelines and track performance on a live dashboard.

Canalys recently published a report assessing which software vendors are considered the champions and contenders of co-selling. Channel members talk about these companies and the work they're doing with leading vendors and tech providers to drive sales in an ecosystem-led world.

Gholston said her definition of co-selling is salespeople coming together to collaborate and source influence.

“We define co-sell as when two companies or more come together and share the opportunities to win disproportionately,” Sinha said. “The whole idea is the customer is in the center, and in any deal there are more than two or three, and even seven companies who are actually delivering the solution together. So that's where all these companies need to work with one another, collaboratively in real time, sharing data, exchanging processes and eventually winning.”

Sinha said co-selling is about “people leaning in and working with each other.”

“And this is the power of co-sell, in my opinion, where two or more companies combine and win disproportionately,” he said. “That's where the power shines.”

Co-Selling Experts Define Differences

McBain said if you’re not co-selling, you’re being short-changed in deals.

“We've been operating on the sales playbook that was written 10 years ago,” Gholston said. “The playbook of today is connecting, collaborating with partners around whitespace, around where we can go to uncover the best opportunities. And we're using data to scale that.”

Through co-selling, channels are no longer going through the marketplace and calling it a day, Moore said.

“It's about this holistic integration into how partners, through the entire customer experience, are influential in not just the initial buying decision, but the upsell decision, the quality of the service that is being delivered to folks and the way that translates into value,” he said. “And the only way to do it is in a world where you're actually able to have data visibility into what's going on with the customer across all these different touchpoints throughout the value chain.”

The data unlock is there, the tooling is now there, and the companies that are early adopters are seeing some “incredible, incredible returns,” Moore said.

“And it's all about just increasing the amount of data leverage and touch points that exist between vendors, partners and other players in the value chain,” he said.

With co-selling, “you are evolving from just being a reseller to an end solution provider,” Sinha said.

Buyers Prefer Multiple Partners

So by the end of this year, the majority of buyers will be millennial, and millennials see partnering as a team sport, McBain said.

“The average enterprise or midmarket medium-size buyer today has seven partners they trust,” he said. “There is no single throat to choke. There is no trusted advisor. It is a team sport. Six or more of those seven partners at the table will not be collecting the money in a resell fashion, but they're participating not for the margin, but for the multiplier. If you're in a Microsoft deal, they'll tell you that there's $7.63 available for every dollar of Microsoft to get it to work. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is $6.40, Salesforce is $6.19 and Hubspot is $5.80. The best co-sell companies today have a lot of direct business, but they understand there are seven partners involved in every deal. So regardless of how money changes hands, they're investing in co-sell so that instead of you making 10% or 20% of the deal, you can make 200% or 300% of the deal. The only way to do that is to be part of the seven trusted partners recognized, and in platforms that will allow you to go and take advantage of the $360 billion sitting on the future credits on marketplaces that can be spent right now on your services. That’s co-selling.”

Crossbeam has plenty to help with co-selling, Moore said.

“And also talk to your peers, talk to your trusted advisors, talk to the closest contact you know with the biggest company, and talk to them about this space and these practices,” he said. “Get the conversation going about this movement around this ecosystem-led growth that all of us are experiencing.”

Sinha announced his company’s latest solution, WorkSpan for Resellers.

“We have about 25,000 companies on the network,” he said. “We support AWS, Microsoft, Cisco and T-Mobile.”

Read more about:

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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