Manage co-sell opportunities in Partner Center

Applies to

  • Partner Center

Appropriate roles

  • MPN partner admin
  • Referrals admin

Take advantage of co-sell opportunities. Co-sell opportunities are a collaboration of multiple parties to sell products that meet a customer need. This article will help you understand how you can use the power of Co-sell in Partner Center to effectively co-sell and acquire new customers.

Types of Co-sell opportunities

Co-sell – This is where one or more Microsoft sales representatives are actively engaged in the deal to help solve a customer problem. The opportunities can originate from a customer account where a Microsoft sales representative invites the partner to participate in a co-selling activity or from a partner where they need additional help from Microsoft sales to close the deal.

Partner to Partner (P2P) – This is where one partner can invite other partners in the Microsoft Co-sell ecosystem to collaborate. Partners can optionally invite a Microsoft sales representative to the deal to help close the deal. Both partners and Microsoft can be invited even after creating a deal, as long as it is prior to complete. (Note that complete includes won, lost, declined, and expired).

Private deal – This is when a partner decides to work independently on a deal that has been created in Partner Center. Partners have the option to invite Microsoft sellers after creating the deal to make it a collaborative selling activity. The details of the deal are not shared with Microsoft sales team until the time Microsoft sales help is explicitly sought by the partner.

Solution Assessment (SA) – These types of deals can be created only by a set of partners who are vetted by the solution assessments business team for performing technology assessments for customers using or planning to use Microsoft technologies.

Note

Private deals, even though they are not truly collaborative, are included here to provide an easy path to upgrade any pipeline deal in to a co-sell opportunity in any non-terminal stage (won, lost, declined and expired).

To access the Co-sell section, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Partner Center dashboard.

  2. From the left-navigation menu, select Referrals, followed by Co-sell opportunities.

    You will see three, top-level tabs in this section:

    • Inbound – All the opportunities that are sent to the partner from Microsoft sellers for collaborative selling are available in this tab.

    • Outbound – All the opportunities that are created by the partner are available in this tab. Partners can create three different categories of opportunities – co-sell, private, and partner to partner.

    • Favorites – Opportunities marked as favorites in the Inbound or Outbound Co-sell opportunities tabs will be shown in this tab. Mark any opportunity as a favorite by clicking on the heart icon on the opportunity in the list view. You can remove the opportunity from favorites by just clicking on the same icon again.

Creating a Co-sell opportunity

Important

To co-sell with Microsoft, partners need a commercial-ready solution, an engaged sales team, and a strong go-to-market strategy. They must also meet specific additional criteria. For more info, see Become co-sell ready.

You can create three types of opportunities.

Select your customer

Select the customer for this specific deal. Enter their location and start typing the name. The autosuggest will start showing recommendations based on the search criteria. Since many companies have more than one business entity in the same location, you may see multiple results. If you're not sure which to choose, you can confirm which D-U-N-S Number belongs to your customer. Be sure to select the exact match for the customer who you're working with.

Once you click Select the customer, you'll be prompted to enter the name, phone number, and email address for the person who's your main point of contact for this deal. These details are optional and are required only if you are planning to invite Microsoft sales to help you with the engagement. Select Next.

Important

Be sure that you have obtained the customer’s consent to provide their contact information to Microsoft for the deal. Microsoft may use this information to contact the customer directly.

Deal details

Enter the details of the current deal. The fields, defined below can change as you are actively working with the customer to close the deal.

Field name Mandatory/optional Details
Deal name Mandatory The friendly name to identify your deal at a later point of time.
Location Mandatory The MPN location scope of the referral. Referral users with this location scope can view the referrals if they are part of the team. Referral admins and referral admins with global scope can view the referrals irrespective of the location. Location cannot be edited after creating the referral.
Estimated value Mandatory The value of the deal based on the information available while creating the deal.
Estimated close date Mandatory The date by which you expect to close the deal with the customer.
CRM ID Optional Tag the deal with the ID of the opportunity in your respective CRM for tracking purpose.
Marketing campaign ID Optional Capture the marketing campaign that resulted in the deal. This filed can help you track the ROI of a certain campaign if you tag all the deals originating from the campaign with the same ID.
Notes Optional Update all the latest information to provide visibility to other employees from your company working on the same deal or trying to understand the current state of the deal. You can also use this as a communication on record for discussions between Microsoft sellers/other partners with your company.

Add team members

After adding the deal details, add the employees that will be working on this specific deal. You will need to enter the name, phone number, and email address of the employee. These details are mandatory, and you need to have at least one contact with all the details entered for you to create a deal. These details can be changed even after creating a deal. Recent contacts from your previous deals are shown on the right side for you to quickly add them to the deal. For P2P deals, the team can have employees from both your company and the company sending the invitation.

Add solution(s)

In this section, you need to provide the information related to the solutions that will be part of this deal. This is a mandatory section where you must add at least one solution to create a deal. The solution details can be changed after creating a deal. There are multiple types of solutions that can be added to a deal, which are described below

  • My company’s solutions: These are co-sell ready solutions that are published by your company
  • Microsoft: These are solutions owned by Microsoft
  • Other third-party solutions: These are co-sell ready solutions that are published by other partners in the Microsoft co-sell ecosystem
  • Solution Assessments: These are the assessment types, which an eligible partner can select based on the customer need

Important

Only one assessment type can be selected for a solution assessment deal and no other solutions can be added. Once a solution assessment is selected, the partner has to choose the location for which the assessment is being created. This is needed for correct incentive payouts.

Once you have provided the solution information, select Next to move to the section where you can decide the selling type. You have three options if you chose solutions from the first three options and not a solution assessment:

Private deal: If you don’t invite Microsoft and create an engagement at this step, it will be of the type private pipeline. Microsoft sellers will have no visibility into the details of this deal.

Important

Deal registration is not applicable for Private deals. Exercise caution while creating a private deal with incentive eligible solutions as they will not be eligible for deal registration in Partner Center.

Co-sell deal: If you select any option other than the default selection for the question “Identify the type of help you'd like from Microsoft”, the deal turns in to a co-sell deal where a Microsoft seller can potentially help you with closing the deal. A request for help from Microsoft is no guarantee that a Microsoft seller will participate in the deal. Microsoft sales representatives have 14 days to decide if they want to participate. In the notes section, be sure to identify the type of help you want.

Partner to Partner (P2P) deal: You can invite other partners to the deal by clicking on the Invite partner link. Below is the process for creating a P2P deal.

  • Select a partner: After clicking on Invite partner, you will be able to start typing the partner name to get suggested list of partners matching the name that you are entering. Select the partner you are interested in to fill additional details for that partner. You can only search for partners who are in the Microsoft Co-sell ecosystem and are transacting in Partner Center.

  • Estimated close date: This is the date by which you expect the invited partner to complete their part of the deal. The date is pre-filled so that you can choose to modify the date only if necessary. It is a mandatory field and can be edited by the partner you are inviting after creating the deal. You can’t modify this field after creating the deal.

  • Estimated value and currency: This is the value of the deal that the invited partner will have in the overall deal. Make sure that you enter correct value here so that the invited partner can decide if they want to be a part of the deal or not. The invited partner can change this value after creating the deal. You cannot modify this field after creating the deal.

  • Notes: Add the details for why you are inviting the partner to be a part of this deal. Detailed information will help the invited partner to decide if they want to participate.

  • Add your team: Add the employees from your company who will be working with the invited partner. If the invited partner accepts the deal, they can add their own employees so that both companies have a view of the entire team collaborating on the deal. You can only modify these details before creating the deal. Employee details entered in your deal data are pre-filled to make it easier for you to choose the employees who be working with this specific partner.

  • Add solutions: Add the solutions that you want the invited partner to bring to the table. At least one solution is mandatory. The invited partner can modify the solutions once they accept the invitation.

  • Identify the type of help: Identify the type of help: Finally, identify the specific help you need from the invited partner.

Repeat this for all the partners you want to invite to be a part of this deal. A partner to partner deal can also have Microsoft seller involved where you are inviting both Microsoft and the partners to the deal. You can also invite both Microsoft and the partners later, after creating the deal.

Responding to a co-sell opportunity

Each opportunity moves through a life cycle of its own.

Received stage

In this stage, if you have received a new Co-sell opportunity either from a Microsoft seller or from other partners in the Microsoft Co-sell ecosystem, review the details, and feel free to contact the customer if you want to learn more about their business needs. You can take two actions in this stage. accept or decline the referral:

  • Accept: Enter a name for the deal, edit the estimated deal value, and the estimated purchase timeframe based on your review. Once you established the contact with the customer, you should provide info in the Notes field to explain more about what the customer is looking for. You can optionally enter your CRM ID here (for your reference only), the marketing campaign ID that resulted in the respective opportunity and add contacts from your company who will be working on this deal.

  • When you're finished, select Next. We'll move the referral to the next stage, which means you plan to actively engage with the customer to address their need. We'll also use this information to help you find similar deals in the future.

  • Decline: Select the reason you're declining the deal and add any notes you'd like to include, then select Close deal. We'll archive it as Declined and notify either Microsoft or the partner who sent you this opportunity.

  • If you don't respond within the allotted time (currently 14 days), we'll archive it as Expired and notify either Microsoft or the partner who sent you this opportunity.

Accepted stage

Work to close the deal with the customer. If you want to change any of the information you've provided for an accepted referral, select Edit. You can then update the deal name, estimated purchase date, estimated value, notes, CRM ID and/or the marketing campaign ID. You can also select Add your team to provide the name, phone number, and email addresses of any additional people who are working on the deal. Solutions can also be edited based on the customer need.

All the deals you have created are in Accepted stage by default.

Once you started working on the deal, you can provide the details of the progress that you are making by marking the sales stages in the deal lifecycle. There are four stages in the deal lifecycle apart from the initial acceptance or creation and the final won or lost stages as mentioned below. Providing these details is optional, but you are highly encouraged to share these to get stage appropriate help from Microsoft sales representatives in a Co-sell deal.

Image showing the deal lifecycle where the sale stage can be marked.

Note

The sales stages will vary if the deal is a solution assessment deal. Marking sales stage is also mandatory for solution assessment deals. Won button will be enabled only after all the sales stages are marked as complete by the partner.

Below is the table showing the sales stages and the corresponding percentages for deals other than solution assessments as determined by the Microsoft Partner Center referrals system.

Sales stage name Sales stage percentage Definition of sales stage
Created 10% Creating an outbound deal.
Accepted 10% Accepting an inbound deal.
Qualified 20% Qualifying the value of the deal and the customer requirements before proceeding further.
Developed 40% Developing the deal further to understand the detailed requirements to either prepare a POC or any other artifacts required for a formal proposal.
Proposed 60% Making a formal proposal to the customer based on their requirements.
Negotiated 80% Negotiating the final terms based on the proposal to get to the final state – winning or losing the deal.
Won 100% Marking the deal as won.

When you're finished, you can take one of the two actions, which are marking the deal as Won or Lost to report the outcome.

Note

It is not necessary that your company follows the same sales stages. This is how Partner Center recognizes the deal sales stages and will automatically map the stages of your company to these standard stages if you are passing these values using the API. If you are using the Partner Center UX, the percentages as shown in the table are used to mark the sales stages.

Important

For certain eligible solutions, after you select Won, you'll be asked to provide additional information to register your deal. Microsoft will review the info you provide here and may ask for additional details during the review process. For more information, see Register your deals.

A deal will be eligible for deal registration only if it meets all the below criteria.

  1. Microsoft is invited to the deal.
  2. Microsoft has either accepted the invitation or marked the deal as won. You can understand the Microsoft status by looking at the Microsoft card below your deal details.
  3. There is an incentive eligible solution in the deal.

Important

Register the deal only if your company name and the incentive eligible solution in the deal are clearly mentioned in the contract with the customer.

If the deal is eligible for deal registration, there will be additional milestone added to the lifecycle of the deal called "Deal registration" as shown below.

Image showing the deal lifecycle, the location from where the deal registration can be initiated.

You can choose to register the deal immediately after marking the deal as won or at a later point in time through the deal lifecycle Register now button. Once the deal is registered, you can view the progress of the deal validation from the same lifecycle. If there is any action required from your company, appropriate errors are shown in the deal lifecycle view. The deal goes into the closed state when the deal validation is complete.

Important

Both the deal review and the final validation status are applicable only for the IP Co-sell deals.

Combinations

The table below shows the combinations of who can be invited at this stage of the deal.

Original deal type Who can be invited Notes
Private Microsoft and/or other partners The deal will be upgraded to Co-sell if Microsoft is invited.
Co-sell Other partners Other partners can be invited only if your company initiated the deal. Partners cannot be invited for deals in the Inbound tab.
Partner to partner without Microsoft Microsoft The deal will be upgraded to a Co-sell deal.
Partner to partner without Microsoft Other partners

Closed stage

This is the final stage for all opportunities. You can view all the deals that are in won, lost, declined, and expired in the closed stage. There are no actions that you can take in this stage.

Frequently asked questions

Q1. Can a deal be edited after it is marked as Won or lost?

No, deals can't be modified once they move into a terminal state. Expired, decline, won, and lost are terminal states where no further updates are possible to the deal. Exercise caution when you are moving the deal into any of these terminal states.

Q2. Who gets an email notification from Partner Center?

The workflow below explains how the emails are sent to the partners from the partner center referrals system for new partner inbound referrals.

Image showing the logic of how emails are sent to partners for new inbound referrals.

Getting more co-sell opportunities

Here are some tips to help you get more co-sell opportunities that are appropriate to your business:

  • Respond quickly to deals. When you respond in a timely fashion to incoming requests, we'll increase your visibility in future partner search results progressively. Make sure your team responds quickly with your intent.
  • Be choosy with the deals you accept. We monitor the types of deals that you accept and decline and use this information to help find you similar deals. Accepting deals that aren't a good fit won't improve your search results and could impact the quality of the opportunities that you receive.
  • Report back the estimated deal sizes, closing dates, and the final status of your deals (won or lost). We'll use this info to continue to provide you with quality referrals.

Next steps