Scaling into new markets with P2P co-sell mastery

We previously spoke with Crissy House, a Microsoft Partner & Channel Manager with the OCP Go-To-Market (GTM) team, about how to leverage the Microsoft partner ecosystem for growth. She gave us a crash-course on P2P co-sell, the growth potential for partners, and the resources Microsoft has in place to accelerate go-to-market.

In this post, we take a look at P2P co-sell from the perspective of geo expansion with Wendy Ditmore, Geo Expansion lead for the OCP GTM group, which helps partners accelerate time to market, generate demand, and grow your business.

Partners will learn about the role and opportunities of including co-sell in a geo expansion strategy and how to take the first step toward co-sell mastery.

Begin interview

As a refresher, can you tell us what geo expansion is and why partners should pay attention?

Geo expansion is an internal growth strategy centered on expanding your business offerings into new geographic markets.

We created this program because through conversations with partners, we learned that many struggled in their efforts to grow into new markets. There was no consistent process, set of resources, or guidance, and no person to talk with and figure out how best to grow into new markets. We decided that it would be a benefit to our partners to coordinate a process of best practices and ways to grow, and also help them plug in and navigate the different subsidiaries. That was our purpose behind creating a more consistent and predictable program.

What are the typical ways partners expand to additional locations?

There are a few different pathways. For many partners, it’s about finding a local partner and expanding through a partner channel. One approach may be linking up with a local partner which already has strong foundation and building out their channel. Another way is by creating a new headquarter location, a very expensive lift that requires significant resources, time, and funding.

Another interesting approach is when partners enter a new market virtually, often through an agency that carries their business cards, driving connections with clients and stakeholders in a new market. We have an agency in Asia helping partners with this model today, and it has been very successful.

A final approach is what we call the ‘Fly-in, Fly-out’ method, where partners don’t set up a presence in the target location, but initiate sales calls by literally flying in to meet customers and flying back out again. This is, again, a very difficult approach.

What role can co-sell play in a partner’s geo expansion strategy? What are the advantages?

Our field people, sellers, different channel managers, are all tightly aligned around metrics for the co-sell motions and want to work with partners in their markets. Co-sell is a valuable engine for driving visibility and elevating a partner’s solution when they work to take advantage of guidance available through the co-sell desk and engine. For example, if they have a co-sell-ready solution for that target market and start to drive initial co-sell wins, they begin to show up on the radar of those sellers, channel managers, and go-to-market teams, leading to great access opportunities.

The extent to which a partner invests in becoming an expert in using Microsoft’s co-sell engine is the extent to which it can help accelerate visibility and traction in those new markets.

What are common issues Microsoft partners face when it comes to geo expansion?

There are three areas partners struggle most with: messaging, navigating new markets, and driving visibility.

First of all, the business culture and the right target messaging can be notably different between the host country and the target country. Partners can struggle with how to truly localize their approach, not just translate.

Another challenge is simply figuring out which Microsoft sellers and network members to talk to in those new markets. It can vary widely market by market and be difficult to navigate independently.

Finally, partners struggle with how to drive visibility of their solution and put together a strong go-to-market strategy for a new market. It can be hard to determine whether to do a campaign or special offer, or which social engines they should use. These are obstacles we see partners regularly come up against and where we can help through the Geo Expansion program.

You talk about the Geo Expansion success formula. Why was this developed and how does it work?

The Geo Expansion success formula was based on the success factors we observed during a pilot we ran in the US and Europe last year. We found that partners had to do their homework to enter the new market and begin to drive co-sell before they could get into deeper engagement – I cover this more in my webinar. Based on this insight, we developed a success formula which provides tiered support depending on where a partner is in their journey as well as how far they are into landing in new markets. This formula nurtures partners along a path to success at the end of the program.

What is one thing a partner can do today to start exploring or preparing for geo expansion through co-sell?

The first step is to take our free readiness assessment which reveals how well-developed their go-to-market strategy is. The assessment provides scores across a few different categories, and partners can review their results during a free 30-minute consultation.

You recently hosted the webinar ‘Scale into New Markets with Co-sell Mastery’ for the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) – what do you hope partners take away from it?

My goal is that partners who want to expand into new markets feel better prepared and walk away with a plan to get ready and take advantage of what Microsoft can offer. It’s important that they understand the homework and preparation that’s so critical to be successful in new markets and build that into their strategy.

End interview

A big thank you to Wendy for giving us a crash-course on geo expansion and how partners can leverage Microsoft resources and relationships to better navigate and succeed in new markets.

Next step: Register for the webinar

If you’d like to hear more about how to boost geo expansion through P2P co-sell, watch Wendy’s partner-exclusive webinar – Scale into New Markets with Co-sell Mastery– on demand.

Learn more about geo-expansion through co-sell

Find additional resources for P2P

Other posts you may like

Geo-expansion assessment

Partner-to-partner readiness assessment