What is one more tool you can add to your sales arsenal that’s guaranteed, when done right, to produce positive results for your sales revenues? Co-selling.Co-selling (also, Co-branding or Co-marketing) is harnessing the collective strengths of two brands to achieve greater sales and marketing results.
This could be two brands selling each other’s products together to a buyer who needs both at the same time or a reseller packaging your product with their services as a “solution package”.
In this article, we’ll show you how co-selling partnerships can boost your sales and how you can create one with the right partner(s) to drive impressive results.
Why is Co-selling Important?
Direct sales can be hard. You have to carefully guide your prospect down the sales funnel and try your best not to lose them. But how about leveraging the sales and marketing efforts of a partner to sell your product/service?
Co-selling is about mutually beneficial leverage. And like, 90% of companies in this survey by Wakefield Research agree, it is easier than re-selling. The same survey showed that 77% of companies who offer a co-seller model get direct or indirect profit increase since they began using it.
When companies want to scale their sales strategy, co-selling is one of the highest ROI paths to take.
Top Examples of Successful Co-selling Strategies
Nike and Apple
Both brands have teamed up in the past, but one of the best was when they seamlessly integrated Nike shoes with iPods for real-time fitness tracking. They recognized their strengths and co-sold to reach each other’s loyal fans — Nike loyalists to buy iPods and Apple fans to get the Nike shoes.
Imagine how you can team up with another brand to leverage their features to create a combined product that your customers want.
Red Bull and GoPro
Did you hear about the co-branding partnership that broke 3 world records? That’s the one between GoPro and Red Bull where Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a helium balloon to set new world records for maximum vertical speed, highest exit (jump) altitude, and ‘vertical distance of freefall’.
They both sell the same lifestyle — action-packed adventure lifestyle — and leveraged each other’s strengths (GoPro’s point-of-view camera popularity and Red Bull’s reputation and events) to reach the common audience they share.
And not just the big brands...
Co-selling partnerships can also be between a reseller with an established audience base and a brand whose product/service can be integrated into a solution package.
Which brands would your customers benefit from that you could partner with? If you don’t have a specific capability, could you partner with another brand to provide that capability for increased value and higher revenue?
These are examples of how you can incorporate strategic partnerships via co-selling to drive revenue growth like the big brands:
- A designer partnering with a printer
- Car dealership and a car detailing or insurance provider
- The partnership between mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and lawyers as a solution package
- White labeling software and adding services on top of it
How can you implement this for your own business?
How to Build Your Sales-Driving Co-sell Campaign?
Before you build a co-selling partnership with another brand, assess the brand to be sure they’re the right fit for you. You want to ensure a win-win outcome.
How do you assess the brand? Ask these 3 questions:
- Do we sell to the same ideal buyer? — It’s difficult to present a united front in marketing if you’re reaching out to different people.
- Are our core values similar? — You want a partner who subscribes to similar ideologies, so there can be trust and coherence in the relationship.
- Do our sales and marketing techniques align? — If your sales strategies and messaging are opposites, you may confuse the one specific buyer you’re both targeting, therefore distorting the public perception of the partnership and ruining results.
The key is to portray a cohesive team effort in the co-selling partnership. So, ensure you keep your audience in the loop. Create a page on your site that discusses the partnership, discussing the reason for the partnership, and how customers will benefit from it.
For your next steps, pay attention to these tips:
1. Strive for long-term benefits
When starting your partnership, focus on those actions that inspire trust, such as accountability, providing value, and being genuinely helpful. This will help you forge relationships where your co-selling partner would care about the success of the partnership.
2. Build co-selling guidelines
This will set the tone for the sales process for both parties, including the ideal buyer persona and targeting criteria, sample call scripts, and email templates. You don’t have to create this before you start because it will always be in constant development.
3. Keep it mutually beneficial
Always bring something to the table, same for your partners — marketing insights, leads, or sales. As much as you’re selling each other’s products together, there should also be a provision to grow together.
Key Takeaways: Best Practices for Co-Selling
Just like any other partnership, you need strategic management to keep co-selling functional and beneficial.
Start with rules you both agree to, including how you will align your sales strategy, track revenue attribution, and manage conflict. Continuous communication is essential for this purpose.
Of course, you will also commit to not competing with each other — you are essentially on the same team; an extension of each other’s sales efforts. Put these all together and you have a co-selling partnership that drives sales revenue up.