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Co-Sell vs Resell: Understanding Key Differences in B2B

Co-sell and resell are two common partner types that comprise many B2B ecosystems. While both are advantageous, each type has idiosyncrasies to consider when determining where to focus your efforts. This article will cover the differences between the two types of partners, examples for each, and best practices for engaging both types.

Co-sell vs. Resell – The Key Differences

These types of partnerships operate very differently. When co-selling, you and a partner team up to sell collaboratively. Typically, you both have solutions to sell, but they work better together. Meanwhile, in a reseller relationship, your partner purchases and resells your solutions to customers. They may or may not add extra value by pairing add-on services.

Working with resellers can be advantageous up-front due to the guaranteed income from product and service purchases. However, working with co-sellers unlocks greater potential for revenue and long-term growth.

Co-sell Partnerships & Examples

Co-selling partnerships tend to be the typically “better together” sales approach. You and your partner join forces to approach prospects together. Typically, this begins with mapping current and target accounts to identify overlap. Here, you can see exactly where your opportunities to collaborate lie. From there, you’ll decide to target a set of accounts together and will craft a collaborative approach.

A key benefit of co-selling is earning your customer’s trust faster with the help of a partner. For example, after conducting account mapping and finding a set of overlapping target accounts, you and your partner decide to develop a joint promotional campaign.

When running your campaign, you combine your resources to have the most impact. When it comes time to talk to customers, you approach the conversation jointly, highlighting how your solutions work well together to drive better user results.

Resell Partnerships & Examples

In a reseller partnership, you’re focused on empowering your partners to resell your products or solutions. You may choose to provide a discount to reseller partners purchasing from you to empower them to do more.

When working with resellers, your efforts aren’t split as evenly as with co-sell partners. Typically, you will provide resources and discounts to help empower resellers to sell. These might include sell sheets, marketing materials, or ready-made campaigns. Meanwhile, your partner is wholly responsible for making the sale.

For example, you may offer a 30% discount on your software to resellers. Your partner would then purchase in bulk, then work to resell them at the original price, earning themselves a 30% profit. Your organization enjoys the security of a guaranteed purchase, while your partner benefits from selling your ready-made products or services.

Which is Best For Your Organization?

In a mature B2B organization, you may end up with both co-sell and reseller partners. However, when you’re just getting started, it’s vital to focus on only a few partner types, and you may have to choose between the two.

Onboarding co-sell partners is best for your ecosystem if you’re prepared to go into sales efforts jointly. These types of partnerships require a greater investment from your team as you’ll work together to win accounts.

Meanwhile, reseller partnerships may better suit organizations with fewer resources. You can build sales and marketing resources once, and your reseller partners can use them for months, meanwhile co-sell partners require more ongoing efforts.

Enabling Co-sell & Resell Partners

Whether you choose to onboard co-sell partners, resell partners, or both, you’ll benefit from leveraging a PRM. Within your PRM, you can house resources, like sell sheets, co-marketing assets, and more, that your partners can utilize during the sales cycle.

Additionally, through your PRM, you can track the entire sales cycle, monitoring when your partners take action with prospects, so you know exactly when to step in. By managing partners within your PRM, you ensure you have access to deep insights into which types of partners are most profitable for your organization, so you can continue to focus on the initiatives that help you achieve your goals.

Grow Your Partner Ecosystem

Co-sell and resell partners each have their unique benefits. Depending on the goals for your partner program, you’ll need to work with different types of partners. In a mature organization, you may end up with various partner types supporting your ecosystem. 

Explore additional resources on refining your channel partner strategy:

6 Benefits of Using Channel Partners — If you’re unsure about introducing channel partners or beginning a program, start here. Explore the benefits of onboarding channel partners, along with the challenges you may need to overcome.

Channel Partners vs. Distributors — Distributors are a type of channel partner that can be immensely beneficial to the right program. Discover if they’re right for your organization, along with best practices for managing these types of partners.

Channel vs. Direct Sales — As you explore sales models, it’s critical to understand the difference between channel and direct sales and how each works. Read this article to discover the pros and cons of each, along with how to decide which is right for you.