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Co-Sell Ready Best Practices for Consulting Services

Microsoft Go-To-Market

Co-Sell Ready Best Practices for Consulting Services

 |  7 min read

Matt Soseman
Matt SosemanCTO

Why list my services in the Microsoft Marketplace?

My favorite restaurant in San Diego has one of the largest menus I have ever seen, it must be over 10 pages of a foodie's dream. Upon every visit, I quickly glance through the menu to see if anything has changed, but I always ask the server for the popular dishes - and I prefer to place my order based on their recommendation.

Now think about your partnership with Microsoft as a services provider, the north star is to engage in co-selling with Microsoft and have the server recommend your item from the menu; I will save the broader co-sell topic for another blog post, but one of the most important pillars to building a co-sell relationship with Microsoft is to list your services in the Microsoft Marketplace (Appsource and Azure Marketplace)

Having (multiple) listings not only enables customers from around the world to discover your services and engage with you, but it more importantly gives Microsoft visibility to who you are and what you do. In other words, it builds the menu and gives the server recommendations.

Now, I know what you're thinking "Matt, the Microsoft Commercial Marketplace was built for ISV solutions - I provide consulting and managed services, do I really need to do this?"...

"Co-selling with the field is only one type of co-selling. When you list in Marketplace you are enabling Co-Sell with engineering, marketing, partner, and other corporate teams"

Reasons why a marketplace listing(s) matters:

  • A Co-Sell Ready offer unlocks your ability to notify Microsoft you are working on a deal with a prospect (aka Outbound Referral), so you can request assistance from Microsoft to help you in closing the deal. (More on Referrals in another blog post).
  • The Microsoft field cannot share leads directly to a partner. They can only send leads to an offer (aka "marketplace listing") that has achieved Co-Sell Ready status.
  • Co-Selling with the field is only one type of Co-Selling. Marketplace listings also open the door for Co-Selling with corporate teams (i.e. engineering, product marketing, partner, and other organizations in Microsoft). Without the listing - they don't know who you are or what you do!
  • Listings act as a customer lead generation source.

Note: A "solution" can be any consulting service or managed service that you offer to a customer. Our recommendation is any services that you go-to-market with, should be listed in the Microsoft Marketplace; assessments, deployments, managed services, etc. This helps Microsoft with capability and capacity in the channel and gives them greater visibility to you.

Anatomy of a Marketplace Offer (Consulting Service)
Anatomy of a Marketplace Offer (Consulting Service)

What requirements must be met to enable listing in the Microsoft Marketplace?

The following are requirements and prerequisites to getting a solution listed in the Microsoft marketplace:

  • Have a commercial marketplace account in Partner Center.
  • Enrolled in the Commercial Marketplace Program.
  • Create a publisher profile in Partner Center.
  • Achieved a Solution Designation, Legacy Competency, or enrolled in the ISV Success Program.
    • Important: Your service offering must correspond to your Solution Designation / Competency (e.g. you cannot list a Security offer if you don't have the Security Solution Designation). See this document for more information.

We are overthinking the title, how important is it?

  • The title is the most important component of your entire listing. If you have the wrong title, not only will customers not understand what you do - but so will Microsoft.
    • Ensure your title is clear and makes sense, avoiding sales/marketing jargon.
    • Bonus points if you can align the title with a Solution Play or priority industry. (As you know, Microsoft's GTM strategy is with specific workloads in specific industries).
  • How do you want your solution name to appear in Microsoft's back-end systems to corporate and sales teams?

How do I write a good description?

When writing a description for a consulting services offer, we recommend the following checklist:

  • Don't over engineer it, what's your elevator pitch?
  • How does your service, drive the Microsoft product your listing is aligned with? For example, if it's a professional service to do a deployment of Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), describe how it drives consumption for AVD.
  • What is the customer value proposition of the service?
  • What is your approach in the service?
  • What are the deliverables of the service?
  • What are the business outcomes of the service?
  • Put your best foot forward! This is for customers and Microsoft to learn about your service.

What is a promotional image?

A promotional image are visual aids that unpack the description of your offer. Some examples of promotional images can include:

  • Slides from a customer pitch deck.
  • A slide that describes your approach to the consulting service.
  • A reference architecture or landing zone architecture.
  • Screenshots of your solution.

Note: The minimum requirement is at least one promotional image.

What is Co-Sell Ready?

There are multiple status levels of a Marketplace solution. When the solution is live in the Marketplace, this is referred to as "in-market" (It's important to note there is no real differentiator with this status). The next level up is Co-Sell Ready, and for the reasons described earlier in this blog - your goal should be to get every offer to Co-Sell Ready status. Now, if your offer has IP (i.e. code that runs in Azure) then you may be eligible for Azure IP Co-Sell - I will save that topic for another blog post.

There are multiple requirements to get your in-market listing approved by Microsoft to achieve Co-Sell Ready status:

  • REQUIRED: The listing must have a customer presentation deck (10 slides or less). Essentially, this is a deck that can be used to position your solution with a customer.
    • If you already have an existing sales deck, consider using it for this requirement. Try not to create collateral only for this excercise. Whatever collateral you create, consider reusing it with customers in webinars and other lead generation activities.
    • Note: This deck may be used by Microsoft teams to evaluate your solution for customer needs and could be shared with a customer.
    • The structure of the deck can be whatever you want it to be. Again, you want to have your best foot forward, consider the following:
      • About the partner
      • About the solution
      • Value proposition of solution
      • Solution details
      • Call to action
    • If you do not have a deck, consider using this template from Microsoft and making your own.
  • REQUIRED: Next, the listing must have a Customer one-pager or "datasheet". This is the traditional front/back flyer that can be downloaded from your website, distributed at an industry conference, etc that describes at a very high level the service offering. Again, try not to re-invent the wheel and consider reusing any existing collateral. If you do need a template, Microsoft has the following templates available for one-pagers:

While the One-Pager and Presentation Deck are the only two document requirements, case studies, channel pitch decks and other collateral do go a long way - consider uploading them if applicable.

Co-Sell Ready Collateral
Co-Sell Ready Collateral

You're almost done!

The final steps in getting your offer Co-Sell Ready involve aligning your listing to the right platforms and solution type. For consulting/managed services, always choose "Solution Type = Service". Lastly, add three contacts for Microsoft to contact for co-selling (tip: use the contacts spreadsheet template).

Once ready, click Submit for Review and Microsoft will process and approve the request.

Co-Sell Ready Process
Co-Sell Ready Process

If you need assistance...

If you encounter issues, have questions, or need guidance on accelerating your Microsoft Partnership, please click the green "Contact Us" button at the top of this page. We would love to work with you!

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