Co-Selling and the value of Partnerships - What's In It For Me

Partnering is a big idea with a lot of interpretations. To understand the point of partnering, we need to know the value of the partnership.

Partnering is a big, bold, and bodacious idea. It’s the word on the tip of everyone’s tongue. The thing is…we are busy people. We want to understand the point of partnering. We need to know the value of the partnership.

Partnering can mean different things to different people. It might mean a vendor relationship. It may mean a single or ongoing selling relationship. It may be finding a new way to serve your customers and expand your customer base at the same time.

It is a big idea with a lot of interpretations.

Like many other words, the partner must be defined. 


What Is The Definition of Partner?

One of the simplest definitions is: a partner is one who sells complimentary products, services, or solutions into the same marketplace as yours.

In other words, this person or business is not a competitor. They are a partner because add value for the customer; they want to reach the same customers and markets as you do. They add value to what you are offering your customer.

Because of this overlap, you can both gain insights by exploring mutually beneficial relationships. It’s the ultimate descriptor of a win-win situation.


What is The WIIFM?

One of the ways to define partnership is one that you’ll remember from your early sales training. WIIFM. This stands for: What’s In It For Me.

At first glance, this may seem self-serving. You may be wondering, “Hey, aren’t we supposed to think about the partner?” Yes, and that’s why WIIFM is so critical. With this technique, you understand their point of view. You spend time imagining what is going on in their minds. You are thinking from their perspective. That’s why this is critically important…and so useful in developing lasting partnerships.

It means that when you are thinking about partnering, you have to step into the shoes of your partner. You need to present the idea of partnering in terms that make sense to them. You need to understand their current pains and how partnership can solve these pains. And, you need to uncover why the partnership with you creates a truly strategic advantage for them.


Exploring Partner Relationships

With WIIFM in mind, it’s a whole lot easier to explore partner relationships. You can clearly articulate the advantages because you’ve been thinking from their perspective.

Here are just a few examples of benefits in terms of access: 

If your business is partnering with a larger business, you may gain:

  • Access to a broad customer base who has already identified a specific need (your product, service, or solution)
  • Access to a defined market that is seeking your service 
  • Access to underserved niche markets seeking what you offer
  • Access to key decision-makers with warm introductions 
  • Access to a vast scope of funding, marketing, financing, legal and other services
  • Access to historical data about geographies, markets, and buying trends
  • Access to company insights such as direction, mergers, strategies 

If your business is partnering with a smaller business, you may gain:

  • Access to creativity and collaboration
  • Access to done-for-you product creation
  • Access to personalized boutique training
  • Access to expert coaching and consulting from thought leaders
  • Access to rapid innovation and product development
  • Access to diverse perspectives and new technology

As you are defining your WIIFM, look out for the biggest problems, issues, and concerns that your potential partner is facing. Show specific examples to illustrate the value of solving these problems – in terms that matter most to them. 


Partners Work To Overcome 2 Barriers 

In thinking about the WIIFM for your partners, you’ll be proactive and most successful when you anticipate and can overcome two barriers. These 2 big hurdles are: sharing data and data accuracy. 

Here’s a way to work together to minimize the obstacles and move forward in partnering.


01. Data Sharing

When exploring partnerships, one of the big hurdles to overcome is sharing data. 

This usually comes with a fair amount of emotion. As in, “What?! Are you out of your mind…we’re not going to share our data with them.”

This kind of knee jerk reaction is understandable. In the old context of competition, why would you ever give customer data to the other guys? You wouldn’t dream of it. 

However, in the new context of complementary partnership, sharing data allows you to find mutual opportunities. It requires a mental shift to think of collaboration instead of competition. 

To make smart decisions, share warm introductions, and achieve all the strategic inroads you envision—you need data. Sharing data is one of those things that requires openness and builds trust.

This is why it is so critical to make sure your partner is truly seeing their WIIFM. When they see the upside, they want to achieve the value. It is from this point of view of mutual benefit that your most strategic partners move forward with sharing data.

Naturally, software such as CoSell has developed security protocols to enable you to share the data you deem ‘sharable’ without requiring you to share the rest of your data.


02. Data Accuracy

Using software like CoSell for mapping data, it’s easier for partners to verify that their information is accurate. 

Let’s face it. In the old world of spreadsheets, data became questionable as soon as it was entered on the sheet. People move jobs. People get promoted. People change position.

If you’re relying on old data on spreadsheets, you always have that nagging question in the back of your mind, “Is this stuff still current?”

Instead of relying on uncertain data from a spreadsheet, partners using software like CoSell, can rest easy. They know that the data is entirely accurate and up to date. 

Handling these two concerns of security and accuracy goes a long way towards healthy and productive partnerships.


Sum Up

Exploring the WIIFM is a way to engage prospects and clients in mutually beneficial partnerships. By spending time identifying your WIIFM, you can increase the value you’re adding to your partnerships.

By optimizing your virtual sales performance, you can join successful businesses that are shaping the market and realizing significant revenue potential. Partnership Co-Selling is how you can virtually qualify B2B sales opportunity. You can use this to boost sales, expand your network, and grow profitability.

Using a platform like is the simplest way to get your sales team on board. CoSell is a robust platform that makes it easy and fast to automate and scale collaborative co-selling across sales teams. 

If you’d like to explore how partnership co-selling can help you and your team boost sales and win major clients fast - check out our selection of free eBooks.

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