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Improve Your Partner Co-Selling: How To Close Your Next Big Deal With Relationships

Have you ever thought that the key to unlocking your next sale might actually lie…outside of your company? Probably not. An emerging trend of tapping into an ecosystem economy is the process of joining together with another organization with similar customers and goals. Leveraging this process to work together to create a joint opportunity for your prospect might be the key to your success. As Michael Jordan famously said,

“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.”

Over the past few years, the ecosystem economy has become a key business strategy for many organizations. That’s why ecosystem-led sales strategies have become more commonplace. According to Forbes, “over a four-year period, firms using APIs saw 12.7% more growth in market capitalization compared to those that did not adopt APIs.” With the rise of the API economy, partnerships between companies are booming. 

As ecosystem-led growth and sales strategies continue to mature and become an integral part of any go-to-market motion, the importance of businesses forming alliances and partner co-selling will become even more commonplace.

What is partnership co-selling?

Partnership co-selling is a strategic collaboration between two or more companies within a sales motion, designed to leverage each other's strengths, customer base, and expertise to drive mutual business growth. This approach involves aligning sales teams, resources, and strategies to target shared customers or markets. 

Through partnership co-selling, organizations can expand their reach and provide customers with more comprehensive solutions that address a wider array of needs by building off of their connected ecosystems. It's not merely about selling one another's products or services but about jointly identifying opportunities, sharing insights, and combining forces to deliver more value to the customer.

One of the key tactics in identifying and qualifying potential partners to form strategic alliances and go-to-market strategies is account mapping.

What is account mapping? 

Account mapping is one of the first and most essential steps in the co-selling go-to-market motion. It is the process of systematically sharing accounts, leads, and prospects with co-selling partners to identify customer overlaps and opportunities. With account mapping, sales leaders can get a better understanding of the value of a partnership by using partner data to forecast potential deal sizes, account expansions, and retention. 

In the past, account mapping was a tedious process that involved manual data exports, Excel spreadsheets, and VLookup. Sounds exciting, right? Luckily, nowadays there are newer tools on the market like Crossbeam and Reveal that will automate the account mapping process by integrating with partner CRMs and provide an always up-to-date source of truth.

While these new tools can save tons of time, when it comes to actually closing deals, they can only get as far as sharing the data itself.

Why does account mapping fall short?

Account mapping can only take you so far with co-selling; it’s an activity that is performed by partner-managers within a company and can provide lots of high-level, tactical data. But when the rubber hits the road, and it comes to selling to actual customers, building relationships needs to take the wheel. 

Let’s face it: everyone knows that sellers always act within their own self-interest. Artificially trying to push two sellers who have never met each other to co-sell with other partner sellers is an uphill battle. Why? Because relationships come first. 

You can’t make a seller introduce another partner seller into a deal. In simple terms, you can’t manufacture trusted relationships. Sellers are interested in working with partner sellers they know and trust, and they don’t need partner managers getting in the middle of it.

That’s where relationship-led sales comes into play.

How can relationship-led sales take partner co-selling to the next level?

Trust is everything in the sales process, not only when it comes to getting your foot in the door or closing a deal, but also when building partner co-selling relationships. A seller can’t vouch for another product or service, let alone another seller, without trusting that the partnership won’t harm their reputation with the customer. This is why relationships matter so much.

At Hifive we believe that enabling sellers to connect and co-sell with people that they already know and trust is the key to unlocking introductions for sales. Making this process easy and seamless will help sellers achieve their goals without the friction of manufactured co-selling relationships led by partner managers.

The incentives also need to be aligned. Simply put, you can't just keep going back to the well for intros over and over again. Your connections will help you a few times with intros, but not forever. That's why at Hifive, we've built our network of Premium Connectors so that you can establish a paid partnership. It's a win-win for both sides. 

How can Hifive help?

Hifive breaks down the walls between sellers by enabling them to partner co-sell on their own. By using the Hifive Chrome extension to drive relationship-led partner co-selling by providing introductions to anyone in their network, sellers can not only achieve their sales goals faster with less friction, but also have the opportunity to drive meaningful value beyond just the size of the deal. Hifive helps build a lasting partner seller community by providing a platform for sellers to:

  • Lend a hand in providing warm introductions to partner sellers, thus creating a positive system of reciprocity and paying it forward.
  • Get paid to make introductions via our Premium Connector network.
  • Gain clout as a super-connector which is helpful to other people in their network.

In the near future, Hifive will also allow for sellers to form strategic alliances with other sellers on the platform, selectively share relationships, request introductions, and offer introductions all in one place.

Ready to start connecting with partner sellers in your network? Here’s how:

  1. With the Hifive Chrome extension installed in your browser use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify opportunities and then filter through your network to find common connections. 
  2. When you’ve narrowed down an individual to whom you’d like to help facilitate the introduction, click the “Get Intro” Hifive button.
  3. Hifive will provide an auto-populated message which can be tailored and customized for the referral request from your connection.
  4. You can even make it easier for the person making the connection by customizing the message they’ll be sending for them.

If your connection request is accepted by you will both receive emails that the connection has been made. Hifive uses a double opt-in system, so both you and your connection have been verified and consent to the connection. 

Building meaningful partner co-selling relationships has never been easier, or more mutually beneficial. 

Posted December 7, 2023