Industry Insights

Why the Azure Cloud Marketplace is Key for Channel Partners: Darren Sharpe, Microsoft Marketplace

Microsoft offers a co-selling program and marketplace platform to maximize sales success for their partners.

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Building Partner Ecosystems

The shift toward cloud marketplace-driven growth for SaaS vendors is evident, and channel partners are now emerging as key accelerants.

In this Partner Insight video Darren Sharpe, Microsoft’s Commercial Marketplace Lead for UK Services Partners, recently shared his insights on this critically important trend for partners.

Key Insights from Darren’s Talk:

Cloud Marketplaces: Hubs for Modern Partnering

Darren emphasized that cloud marketplaces are now focusing on “co-selling, delivering together, and being the best partners for a customer.” This shift aligns with the trend of customers becoming buyers, not builders, seeking nearly complete solutions that are customizable at the edges. Here, partners, working alongside ISVs and cloud marketplaces, excel.

Customers are increasingly seeking ecosystems of partners that deliver the best value in their specific areas. Partners play a crucial role in guiding customers through cloud maturity, offering cloud-agnostic perspectives and technical expertise. The value of channel partners as trusted advisors is significant.

Channel partners are finding new roles and opportunities in cloud marketplaces, moving past initial competitive concerns. By working with marketplaces, they open up avenues for “digital procurement advisory” and application portfolio modernization. This approach helps channel partners not only retire customer cloud commits but also delve into more lucrative digital transformation projects.

Accelerate Your Cloud GTM Strategy

To develop your Cloud GTM (Go To Market) strategy, join the Partner Insight 5-week course to accelerate your growth in cloud marketplaces, featuring deep dive insights from experts in a community of alliance leaders.

Accelerate Your Microsoft Co-Selling Business with the Commercial Marketplace

The Microsoft Co-Sell program is a key pillar enabling their partner ecosystem. It is structured to organize partners around solutions and support their collaboratively selling together. Resources include go to market guides, sales playbooks and solution partner designations.

A flagship component of the program is the Commercial Marketplace, a catalog of solutions from their partners, listed together with their Microsoft solutions, connecting you to businesses, organizations, and government agencies around the world. The marketplace is available in more than 100 countries and regions.

Jake Swenson, VP of the Commercial Marketplace, sets the scene in this interview. The market is becoming increasingly competitive for ISVs and they need to develop smarter routes to market that grow revenues while reducing costs, tapping into the massive market for Cloud services, and the marketplace provides a platform for achieving that.

Customer Experience Model

In this session Elliotte Dunlap, a Microsoft Partnership Leader, demystifies and decodes Microsoft’s Sales Engagement Methodology (MCEM) for this partner audience to help them best align for effective co-selling with Microsoft.

The Microsoft Customer Experience Model (MCEM) is a framework designed by Microsoft to help organizations optimize their customer engagement and experience strategies. MCEM provides a structured approach to understanding, managing, and improving the customer journey through various stages, from awareness and consideration to purchase and post-purchase interactions.

In this presentation they explain that the commercial marketplace is the key that unlocks co-sell and activates over 35,000 field sellers to be an extension of your sales and marketing team.

Learn how to partner with their field and land enterprise deals by selling through the marketplace and get best practices on how to leverage new features and enhancements like multi-year SaaS, private offers, Azure consumption commitments, and more to grow your business.

Here they describe the Rewards scheme, and in this guide explain how to master the marketplace.

Video Library

Recently Microsoft hosted a webinar summit to provide a comprehensive showcase of the marketplace and how best to participate:

Series Navigation<< Why 2024 Will Be Known as the Inflection Point for Marketplaces and Partners: Jay McBain, CanalysAWS Marketplace: Co-Selling Strategies with the World’s Largest Hyperscaler >>

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