AWS Co-selling Explained- The open secret AWS won’t tell you


What does it mean to co-sell with AWS as an ISV (Independent Software vendor)? We will explain how AWS Co selling can help you achieve your revenue outcomes and market growth.

Fundamentals of AWS Co-selling

Let’s start with the fundamentals of co-selling and what it means.

  • Reactive: If your are working the sales pipeline of prospective customers you can request additional support via your AWS Partner Network (APN) or Partner Development Manager (PDM).
  • Proactive: In some cases, when AWS may have a direct relationship with your prospect, they will proactively want to work with you on this opportunity and will provide you with additional help and support in order to close the opportunity. When it comes to AWS originated opportunity, AWS will look to co-sell with an appropriate partner who have the right solution and credentials to ensure that the customer outcomes are served.

That is why co-selling is not just something you do as a secondary option but a must-do if you want to succeed with an improved revenue stream. But how do you make people recognise you as a good partner in the first place? What can you do to make your organization look good to AWS?

The problem with the way ISVs do co-selling

As most ISVs are tech-driven they tend to not have the best commercial structure that brings desired sales outcome. The leaders in such organizations rightfully believe they have a great product-market fit, but aren’t leveraging all the routes-to-market. There are over 40,000 ISVs listed on the AWS Marketplace and only a small proportion are able to turn their products into success. Why is that?

As per VeUP research, the reason for this scenario is that most leaders think if they build a good product, business from the AWS ecosystem will come. Based on our understanding of APN, this doesn’t work. What you, preferably as an AWS Alliance leader, need to do is cultivate your relationship and build confidence with AWS that you have a superior product that addresses specific customer needs.

The initial actions an AWS partner must do

Starting with your partner status, have you taken your AWS partner level from the Enrolled status through to Validated and subsequently Differentiated status? This is important, as the first place that any AWS representative will look is your Partner Scorecard, within the Partner Central portal, to find your status. If you have a great product but your organization is only at Enrolled status, the different AWS selling teams will not see you as a good bet for a partner who can deliver effective sales growth within the AWS ecosystem .

Therefore, to move up the partner tiers, pick the Software partner path, complete the Foundational Technical Review (FTR) and get to the Validated Status. Then look to apply for additional AWS Programs that can boost internally your AWS capabilities and externally your AWS credibility. Next make sure your partner listing is up to date and reflects your capabilities e.g. the number of deployments made.

AWS Co-selling & your reputation at AWS

Now as an ISV, you did the right fundamental steps on the APN – you listed your product in the AWS Marketplace, created your listing and conducted a FTR. This is where most leaders stop working on their AWS partnership, believing that AWS will be passing opportunities to them. But that is never the case as we always hear the leader bemoaningly state “why is no one buying our products” and “I’m listed in the marketplace but I see no sales.”

Now we come to the part where you will find out what is the cure to the problem.

The ‘secret sauce’ to succeed with AWS co-selling is to implement actions that builds your reputation at AWS.

Reputation matters as AWS needs to see the value you bring to your partners and your chance of success in converting prospects to paying customers in the AWS Cloud. Higher the reputation you have, more confident AWS will be in engaging with you on deal support and proactive prospect sharing.

Partner reputation & AWS Alliance Strategy

Having an AWS Alliance strategy that includes your co-selling plan is a very big part of building that reputation with AWS. It is important to not only define a value proposition that targets customers directly but also push a secondary value proposition that is targeted at AWS and your co-sell opportunity. Your co-sell plan must include activities around working with your PDM and Vertical seller teams from AWS. Your plan must also find consulting partners with whom you can create private offers as new route to market.

So on the face of it if you do everything correctly you will see success, but reality is that success is something that needs a lot of effort. VeUP has worked with many AWS SaaS partners through our services who had struggled to find success in co-selling and build their reputation at AWS.

At VeUP, we have formulated an AWS Alliance methodology that if executed successfully will increase your chance of success. Just like a super tanker coming to port needing the help of a seasoned pilot, who knows where all the sandbanks and rocky outcrops are, to navigate the waterway and dock the ship, VeUP can help you to navigate your way around AWS and the opportunities with the co-sell program.