What Is – and 8 Ways How to Leverage – B2B Co-Selling Partnerships

Getting your name out there is not always an easy feat; most markets are absolutely flooded, leaving potential customers with a veritable sea of competitors to wade through in order to find a product or brand they want to utilize. That is where a co-selling partnership can bring immense value to your company. What Are Co-Selling […]

Getting your name out there is not always an easy feat; most markets are absolutely flooded, leaving potential customers with a veritable sea of competitors to wade through in order to find a product or brand they want to utilize. That is where a co-selling partnership can bring immense value to your company.

What Are Co-Selling Partnerships?

What Are Co-Selling Partnerships?

Co-selling partnerships between B2B companies are essentially examples of a partner team in which two different businesses carry one another’s products. These can be developed between businesses that operate within the exact same niche–two children’s clothing retailers carrying products from one another, for example–or between seemingly disparate businesses. Co-sell partners are able to reach more potential customers by teaming together, and can even cross their usual target market in the process. 

Partner managers within this type of business relationship are able to widen their target markets, share the cost and energy requirements of marketing, and maintain a reliable business arrangement that can help flagging sales or stagnant customer bases. Although precise co-selling strategies may vary from one partnership to the next, the co-selling process is usually the same, with both parties coming to the table with specific products they’d like to utilize in the co-selling relationship and rules regarding the partnership. 

Sales opportunities may be greater and the sales process may feel less difficult when you have a reliable, trustworthy partnership with another business. Because these types of partnerships involve a shared sales pitch and shared products, there must be a strong degree of trust between both parties. Whether the deal size is quite small or truly substantial, both business owners and employees must be able to trust that the products and partnerships involved in the deal will be honored and handled professionally. When these deals are handled appropriately, a partner program can truly bolster the sales and reach of a brand or company. 

The Importance of Co-Selling Partnerships in B2B Channel Sales

The Importance of Co-Selling Partnerships in B2B Channel Sales

This particular type of partner program is an excellent way to extend market reach. This is because they are using the might of not only their own customer base and following, but the customer base and following of an entirely different company. This means the partner’s sales teams, sales reps, and direct sales are all at the hands of the partner, in order to potentially double (or more) sales reach and increase marketing potential. 

Using strategic partnerships, both businesses within the partnership can experience a bump in revenue and growth. Using the aforementioned example of partnering within shared niches, let’s take a look at how different partnerships can increase revenue and growth. If a technology company offering CRM software were to pair with a company providing marketing analysis tools, that partner program would reach a previously untargeted or untapped market that fuses both niches and provides an increase in value for both products. If a systems management software partnered with a communication app, they may experience increased traffic to their site, while exposing existing customers to the partner’s product and demonstrating the value of using both products in tandem. These partnerships function as something of an ecosystem partner, as it allows an interdependence between brands that can be lucrative for both.  

Although growth and increased revenue can happen fairly organically between any partnership, partner companies can also help lift one another up by providing innovative solutions that might not have been on the radar of the partner. Let’s say, for instance, that one of the sales partners excels in launching new products. Whether they have superb ad copy or they know how to motivate existing customers, your product can benefit from the expertise of the partner. The partner benefitting from that expertise may provide a much more involved and reliable customer service experience, which can then be used to increase customer loyalty for the respective partner. In the partner ecosystem, successes and failures are often shared in equal measure, and businesses can experience enormous levels of growth and have a third-party eye on any areas of lack. 

8 Ways How to Leverage B2B Co-Selling Partnerships

Now that we’ve broken down the basics of co-sell partnerships, let’s take a deeper dive into how exactly you can successfully leverage B2B co-selling partnerships to arrive at joint solutions, increase prospective customer bases, and ultimately increase revenues.

1. Select the right co-selling partners

Select the right co-selling partners

Not all co-sell opportunities are created equal, and it is important to identify partners with complementary products or services. Note here that we said “complementary,” not identical. You can use some ingenuity here to create partnerships that may not initially seem ideal, but that can dramatically increase your exposure and sales. If you already have a friendly relationship with a company and that company can come alongside yours, that may be a great place to start, rather than trying to create something from scratch. 

When selecting a partner, research the expertise, market reach, and compatibility of the business in question. The company should align with your own in terms of ideal audience and general industry. The goal is to have your current customers experiencing a bump in value while making sure that your products and marketing will be handled with the same level of quality you expect of your own business.  

2. Align sales processes and strategies

When creating a co-marketing plan, you can develop a joint marketing strategy to fall back on. This is valuable, because different companies have different approaches, and you can each provide some value and insight into new ideas. While developing this plan, you can share customer leads and market intelligence to increase reach and revenue, while coordinating sales efforts and combining resources. While the old adage might say that two heads are better than one, in business, two business approaches may be better than one, and may help each of the partners in the co-sell relationship scale new heights.  

3. Collaborating on marketing and promotional efforts

One of the greatest co-sell opportunities is the opportunity to collaborate on marketing and promotional efforts. Developing joint marketing materials and campaigns can fulfill several functions: while it is obviously able to introduce both products for both companies in a single ad campaign, it can also demonstrate the function and use of a product, which may help people more easily apply it to their own lives and needs. Marketing efforts can include co-hosting webinars, attending trade shows as a team, and attending industry events as a team. By leveraging each partner’s marketing resources, expertise, and practices, you can take a single campaign to a whole new level.  

4. Fostering strong relationships with co-selling partners

Fostering strong relationships with co-selling partners

In addition to developing beneficial relationships, co-selling allows two companies to foster strong relationships by maintaining open and effective communication channels. Because there are two companies involved, there is plenty of accountability and motivation, as partners must provide regular updates on product developments and company news. Both privately and publicly, successful co-selling relationships can recognize and celebrate the achievements and successes of their partners, further bolstering their products and image, and providing a sense of goodwill for one another and prospective customers.  

5. Tracking and measuring the success of your co-selling partnerships

Average deal sizes notwithstanding, as a partnership, you can establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and develop success criteria based on your unique approach to sales and expected (and necessary) earnings. Both sides should regularly review and analyze all co-selling performance data to make sure that the co-sell model is delivering as it should, and to determine if any additional co-selling activities would further improve the partnership. 

Tracking and measuring performs the dual role of keeping yourselves up to date on any successes and developments while also allowing both parties to adapt to any speed bumps and optimize the future of your co-selling relationship based on the results you covered during your initial campaign. This business model often works because it involves sharing leads, maintaining a collaborative mindset, and maintaining accountability while drawing in multiple audiences.  

6. Navigating legal and contractual aspects of co-selling partnerships

Developing a sales strategy between two businesses does not always have clear-cut rules and guidelines, so it is vital to establish clear agreements that outline the expectations and responsibilities of each partner. Ideally, partners will bear equal share, but that can look different for different partnerships, so detailing all expectations prior to launching a partnership is essential. 

One aspect of legal agreements that cannot be overlooked is establishing protections for intellectual property and confidential information. Typically, this will come in the form of a non-disclosure agreement, and all agreements should be reviewed by a legal team or legal expert to make sure both parties are protected. All conflicts of interest should be sorted through during this time, and guidelines for dispute resolution are best put within the body of the contract.  

7. Integrating technology and tools for effective co-selling partnerships

Integrating technology and tools for effective co-selling partnerships

Different sales managers and companies focus on different technologies and tools, and partnering can help reap the benefits of multiple systems. Companies can share CRMs and platforms to collaborate seamlessly. Joint project management tools can be used to make sure all teams and moving parts are kept in the loop and on track. By joining analytics and reporting tools, partnership performance can soar. By leveraging the expertise and experience of multiple companies, co-selling programs can increase partner revenue and breathe new life into their businesses. 

8. Training and enabling co-selling partners for success

A collaborative approach is not always intuitive. Many companies are quite set in their way of doing things, and may find it difficult to adapt to the different pacing and demands of a partnership. Prior to beginning a campaign, be sure to provide comprehensive product training and sales materials between partners. Doing so will get ahead of any issues that may arise with the challenges of working within a partnership. 

Because developing a beneficial partnership requires intention and forethought, it is also important to provide ongoing support and accessible resources to help both partners succeed during the campaign. This also means providing continuous learning and skill development opportunities for both partner companies in order to successfully adapt to any marketing changes or industry trends that arise during the partnership, whether that be a single campaign, or a years-long teaming-up.  

Conclusion on the Value of a Co-Selling Partnership

Co-selling partnerships may not be discussed with a great deal of frequency, but they can offer enormous benefits to both of the parties involved. Partnerships can extend to include more than two businesses, and have the potential to increase revenue, spur growth, and better businesses’ approaches by exposing them to new ideas and collaboration opportunities. B2B co-selling has the potential to open new doors for businesses, and with the proper preparation and strategies, can truly invigorate a team’s marketing efforts and reach.

If you’re looking to build or better leverage a co-selling partnership, make sure you sign up and join Zugit today!