5 Best Practices to Co-Sell with Your Partner Ecosystem

Co-selling is an increasingly viable business model to help businesses of all types grow and thrive. Entering into a partner ecosystem in a B2B organization is not always cut and dried, however, and learning the best practices to develop co-selling opportunities can come with a steep curve. Here, we’ve identified the 5 best practices to […]

Co-selling is an increasingly viable business model to help businesses of all types grow and thrive. Entering into a partner ecosystem in a B2B organization is not always cut and dried, however, and learning the best practices to develop co-selling opportunities can come with a steep curve. Here, we’ve identified the 5 best practices to co-sell. 

An Introduction to Co-Selling with your Partner Ecosystem

Co-selling is an approach to business that allows both businesses to vastly improve their reach and marketing potential. As a collaborative sales approach, two or more companies work together to create a shared offering within a cross-over target market. The products involved in this collaboration may or may not be complementary or similar; in some cases, seemingly unrelated items can actually be paired together to provide lucrative partnership for both companies. 

A partner team is able to pool resources, share market insights, and leverage each other’s strengths. Co-selling partnerships allows two or more companies to expand their market reach, increase their sales, and bolster customer satisfaction. These ends are achieved primarily through the sharing model: by sharing potential customers, marketing practices, insights, and more, partner companies can go as far as doubling their money and audience, and see a significant spike in their audience and coffers. 

The Concept of Co-selling and Its Importance in Today’s Competitive Market

The Concept of Co-selling and Its Importance in Today's Competitive Market

Whether the deal size is large or small, there are significant improvements to a number of different components of sales and products. These improvements include:  

Faster time-to-market. Because co-selling involves two established companies, their combined resources may make it possible to speed up production and delivery. 

Increased sales opportunities. Increased sales opportunities occur in a number of key ways. The first, and most obvious, is the increase in target markets; when you join two companies, you increase your own market size. What may be less obvious, however, is the increased degree of persuasion; when a product is shown in conjunction with another product, or two companies join together, it can increase the seeming trustworthiness and usefulness of the products in question. 

Enhanced value proposition. As touched on above, the co-selling process is unique in its ability to enhance the value proposition of a product or business. When a company buys into the product or business, it can appear to increase the legitimacy or value of that product or business. Successful co-selling relationships can increase interest in products more than a sales campaign from a single business can. 

Shared risk and investment. Co-sell relationships, by their nature, provide a shared shouldering of responsibility. When you are both putting your money into a campaign or the development of products, you can both reap the benefits and take the hits, reducing the possibility of a larger loss. 

Improved customer satisfaction. Different businesses have different customer service practices, and by bringing a collaborative approach to customer service can make for significant increases in customer satisfaction. Co-selling programs can leverage the best of both customer service practices to create a more robust and satisfactory customer service response. 

The Benefits of Co-selling with Partners for Software Vendors

Expanded market reach. Software is a highly nuanced product, with plenty of loyal fans that often do not venture outside of their usual products. When businesses come together, sharing leads and target accounts, they can reach different markets, and may have the social proof necessary to interest others in their software. 

Increased credibility. A co-sell model is also excellent for software vendors, because it lends an air of credibility to both companies; after all, who better to recommend a certain type of technology or product than others in the same field? Who would you be more likely to trust: a hired actor offering a product, or a tech company who has partnered with the software company in question? By engaging in co-selling activities, both brands are lending an air of credibility to one another’s products. 

Accelerated sales cycles. Partnership has the ability to accelerate sales cycles, in large part because of the aforementioned co-sell partnership credibility. When an already-trusted entity carries another business’ products, or endorses another business as a co-sell partner, the co-selling partner is likely to see a stronger increase in sales than a standard marketing campaign may yield, because the legwork of research and evaluation has largely already been completed for potential customers by the partner managers. 

Streamlined implementation and support. From sales reps to marketing teams, to customer service representatives, a co-selling partner program can essentially function as a doubling of existing resources, and an easy means of streamlining both the implementation of a new product campaign and the support necessary to carry out that campaign. Why? A partner program has already had to complete a great deal of the hard work of a campaign before launching, to make sure that both parties are on board with what is being promoted, to make sure both are in agreement over the co-sell motion, and to make sure all bases are covered within the partner program. This can streamline the entire process, from launch to sale, without completing additional work or expending additional energy. 

Continuous product improvement. Having multiple sets of eyes from different backgrounds and areas of expertise can more effectively make sure that market demands are being reached as effectively and efficiently as possible. By having different eyes on the partnership and products, including a possible different approach to sales, to promotion, and even to execution of an order, you can rest easy that your product is likely to be under a microscope with the intent to succeed. 

Building a Strong Partner Ecosystem for Co-Selling

Building a Strong Partner Ecosystem for Co-Selling

Although we have discussed the immense value of a collaborative approach, without stepping into this process adequately equipped, your campaign may not actually experience an improvement. The value of building a strong ecosystem is essential for co-selling to actually succeed. The necessary components include: 

Identifying the right partners for co-selling

There are any number of businesses and markets you can select from to identify the right partner for you and your business. You can use a mapping exercise to sort through system integrators, resellers, distributors, and other strategic partners, or you can sort through any existing business relationships you have and identify any opportunities for partnership. Whichever approach you utilize, by using a collaborative mindset and evaluating potential partners’ expertise, market reach, and compatibility, you may find the best partner/s for your business.  

Establishing a successful partnership for co-selling

B2B partner ecosystems are not successful without time and effort; you must put some forethought into the partnership to make sure it is as lucrative as possible. Co-sell and resell partners must define the scope of the partnership to make sure everyone is on the same page, and all expectations are being met. From evaluating the expectations regarding partner revenue, to determine how and when all campaign efforts are being carried out, the scope of the partnership must be clearly laid out and agreed upon prior to launching your partnership. 

Successful partnerships must also align their processes and resources. While you may be hesitant to open up the back end of your business to scrutiny and what may have previously been a competitor, effective partnerships share their processes and resources to make sure collaboration is seamless, and channel sales partners are continually kept abreast of all developments. 

Successful companies partner on revenue, as well. Prior to making your partnership official, identify the best revenue-sharing model for you and your business, as well as your potential partner, and agree upon your partnership terms.  

5 Best Practices for Co-Selling with Your Partner Ecosystem

Collaboration among ecosystem partners will look different from seller to seller, but there are the most common partner types and the most agreed-upon ways to go about building that ecosystem. The 5 most commonly acknowledged best practices include: 

1. Aligning sales processes and strategies

Aligning sales processes and strategies

Co-sell and reseller partners do need to agree on the most important points of their partnership, and sales processes and strategies are among these points. While each team can handle their precise marketing campaign differently if they so choose, it does leech some of the benefit from the arrangement to do so. By developing a joint go-to market strategy, sharing customer leads and marketing intelligence, and coordinating sales efforts and resources, the entire partner team can save time, money, and energy, while enjoying greater exposure, an increased market, and higher revenue streams.  

2. Collaborating on marketing and promotional efforts

The effective execution of partner teams relies upon the ability to collaborate–and to do so consistently. Without developing joint marketing materials and campaigns, one or both implementation partners may fall behind.  By co-hosting webinars, trade shows, and industry events, and leveraging each partner’s marketing resources and expertise, you are showing a united front to all prospective customers, and demonstrating why the company or business you’ve chosen to collaborate with is the ideal partner–and, by association, the ideal product for your customer base. 

3. Leveraging partner networks and relationships

Leveraging partner networks and relationships

Sharing does not stop at business processes and business goals; instead, sharing between partners means sharing a customer base to increase market reach and help both members of the partnership grow and expand. This type of sharing can be a challenge for businesses, but by identifying opportunities for joint sales efforts and customer engagement, the partners can continue to foster existing relationships with customers, and invite new ones from each respective partners’ customer base. When business leaders also share expertise and insights to help improve products and practices, both partners experience the enormous benefits of co-sell joint business planning.  

4. Ensuring seamless customer onboarding and support

Customer training and support can be overlooked, but both are often the most significant difference between a one-time customer and a lifelong one. When current business models can come together to collaborate on customer training and support resources and provide continual customer success management and support, both may be more likely to retain customers. Sharing resources and best practices in co-sell deals can help ensure that handoffs between sales and implementation teams are smooth and efficient.  

5. Fostering clear and effective communication between partners

Developing co-selling solutions requires clear and effective communication. It is not enough to come up with a collaborative solution at the outset of your partnership and call it a day; instead, both parties need to make sure they have co-created solutions, including the plan for communication depth and frequency, and the precise channels through which the partners will communicate. As part of the comprehensive solutions necessary to developing a successful partnership, both parties must agree upon regular meetings and progress updates to make sure they are continually in alignment and fully coordinated.  

Measuring the Success of Co-Selling Efforts

Measuring the Success of Co-Selling Efforts

Another important metric to measure is the success of your efforts; after all, the co-sell process is not worth it if both parties do not experience growth and revenue increases. That being said, there are different ways to measure success, and sharing a budgeting process and monetary goals is only one aspect of the whole picture. To measure success, consider the following:

Establishing Performance Metrics and Success Criteria

You cannot determine what success looks like without first identifying what an effective co-selling process looks like. Track sales revenue generated from co-selling efforts, measure customer satisfaction and retention rates, and evaluate how joint marketing campaigns impact both. This will provide a more organic and robust window into the efficacy of the partnership, and can also help both partners identify any weak spots or areas in need of tweaking.  

Continuously Improving Co-selling Strategies and Processes

In a collaborative sales relationship, you must continuously re-evaluate and improve your co-selling strategies and processes. Why? When there are two parties, they are focused on co-sell opportunities, rather than solitary sales. Campaigns may not be as evergreen in two-product or two-company efforts because there are more components involved. By regularly reviewing and analyzing your performance, you can quickly identify any areas that need improvement or optimization, and adapt your co-selling strategies to meet changing market conditions and customer needs.  


Co-selling is an increasingly valuable form of selling, with enormous benefits for both members of the partnership. By leveraging two different companies’ sales practices, customer service acumen, and products, co-sell partners can develop a truly compelling marketing campaign that demonstrates value and increases both companies’ target audience and reach.

Whether you are ready to start a co-sell relationship with a new partner or improve an existing one, join Zugit today by clicking here to begin the process if improving your co-selling!