Co-selling with Nearbound

Co-selling with Nearbound 10 min

Co-selling is way more than referrals, and if you’re approaching co-selling with a “revenue first” mindset, your program will fail before it ever gets started. 


Successful co-selling involves engaging and leveraging partners in the long run to get the intel and influence needed to close deals. This requires building a trusted relationship with your partners.


At the recent Nearbound Summit, the topic of finding the balance between winning revenue and building relationships with partners in co-selling motions came up again and again. Our speakers tackled this complicated question, and explained the ways they’ve been able to successfully co-sell using a nearbound strategy. 

What is co-sell anyway? 

Co-selling is not one-size-fits-all; every company needs to adapt this motion to its goals. But in general, co-selling is: 


“A modern partnering process where two or more peer-level partners with complementary offerings come together to provide a holistic solution to a shared customer need and work collaboratively to sell together.”–Workspan 


This process can be compared to a bank. The more you make “deposits” you make with partners of things like time, enablement, and trust to ensure both you and the partner win, the more “withdrawals” or asks you can make of the partner—and the more benefits you’ll get. 


Both you and your partner must stay aligned on the goals of your co-selling motion, the solution you provide, and who you’re going after. 

Co-selling is easier said than done 

While at first glance this seems pretty simple, there are some common challenges GTM pros often face in co-selling programs: 


However, the most significant challenge is the lack of partner leverage. To build a co-selling motion, getting referrals is not enough; you need to leverage the 3 I’s of Nearbound: intel, influence, and intros.


It’s important to involve your partners in every stage of the deal, and that you give back as much (if not more) than you receive. If you don’t, two things will likely happen: 

  1. You’re only building a one-way relationship. If your partner doesn’t see the value of your partnership, gradually they will stop working with you. 

  2. You need the three I’s of nearbound. Neglecting the three I’s—partners’ valuable intel, influence, and intros—puts you at risk of missing major opportunities to engage effectively with potential buyers and be top-of-mind in deal-making.

Co-selling includes collaboration and partners from the get-go. However, Sales teams aren’t always included in the motion. Instead of fostering relationships and starting the co-selling motion from the onboarding phase, sellers often simply request referrals without building a solid foundation.

Solving the issues with nearbound

Here’s where nearbound comes in. 


Once you have identified your IPP, account overlaps, etc. with the help of tools like Reveal, you need to turn those “contacts” into advocates. Make sure that during your partner activation, you make them fall in love with your product, your value proposition, and your brand. 


Tell that better together story, not only to your partners but to your internal team. Your sellers need to be informed on how your partner product fits into your customer’s tech stack and ecosystem.


For example, one way you can leverage nearbound to activate your partners and your internal teams to co-sell is to share intel and context on the accounts they want help on (share the partner type/tier, role, etc). Share that intel in the channels they are already working on, like Slack, email, or even their CRM. 


And most importantly, build relationships not only with your partner’s Partner team, but with their Sales and Customer Success teams, as well. 


Nearbound focuses on tapping into the power of your ecosystem. When you partner with those your buyers already trust, you close more deals faster, and you can fill the gaps in your co-selling motion. 


GTM shared in their Understanding Partner-Led Growth report that Nearbound helps empower both Partnerships and Sales teams on both sides to:

  • Get aligned and execute the plays that reduce your sales cycle by 33% 

  • Close deals with a 46% higher win rate (when partner-sourced) and a 99% higher win rate (when partner-influenced).

Nearbound co-sell plays 

During the Nearbound Summit Xiaofei Zhang Head of Platform and Strategic Partnerships at ActiveCampaignSam Yarborough VP Salesforce Ecosystem Evangelist at InvisoryJudd Borakove Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Red Monkey ConsultingRasheité Calhoun Director of Channel Partnerships at Axios HQ, and Scott Leese CEO and Co-Founder of Scott Leese Consulting, shared co-sell plays you can steal now to get your nearbound co-selling motion started. 


Let’s jump in! 

Xiaofei Zhang: Define co-selling


When initiating your co-selling initiative, begin with an internal assessment of your company’s strategy.


Schedule a meeting with the leaders in your Go-To-Market (GTM) teams to evaluate the strategy and determine how a co-selling initiative can align with it. Don’t overlook the desired outcomes you aim to achieve.


During the meeting, present the process and tools you intend to use to attain the promised results. Acknowledge that sales collaboration and account mapping tools are indispensable in this process, and consider developing enablement sessions for your internal teams.


Include a list of accounts from the Sales team that do not currently involve a partner, and integrate your co-selling initiative into these accounts. Clearly articulate how collaboration with partners can expedite deal closures by 33% on both sides, emphasizing the advantages for both your partner and your company.

Sam Yarborough: Focus on people

“Don’t wait around. You have the power to be proactive about co-selling. It’s not going to come to you. Go and build internal champions. Go to your partners and build relationships first.” 


If you want to have a successful co-selling strategy, you need to focus on the people you’re selling to. Don’t treat them as accounts or companies; people buy from people. 


When you focus on the who instead of the company logo, asking for referrals, intel, and influence becomes way easier. This means you need to systematically track who are you talking to, where they are influencing, and how are they bringing you into deals. 

The data generated from those touching points will help you answer the $1B question: How is your co-selling motion doing?


Get all your partner data in your source of truth (HubSpot or Salesforce)–their clients, the accounts they own, and with which accounts you can help them with. With this intel, you will be able to market with them appropriately. 


Judd Borakove: Data as a tool

“Partnering is not an easy thing, but the value you get is exponential. If you don’t have a partner program, nearbound is here to help you with that. Trust and value are at an all-time high, and partners and relationships are led by trust.” 


To make your co-selling motion work, you need to consider the “5 T’s” framework: terminology (definitions), tools, tactics, team, and target partner. 


Here are some questions you need to answer before starting your co-selling motion: 

  • Terminology: What does co-selling mean for your GTM strategy and how can partners help your Sales team close more deals?

  • Tools: What platforms and data are going to help you build an efficient motion and relationship?

  • Tactics: What are you going to do and how are you and your partner going to win together?

  • Team: How are your Sales, Marketing, Product, and Customer Success teams working? What’s the current GTM strategy? How do you plan to align all GTM teams?

  • Target partner: Who is your IPP and how can you build a win-win relationship? What are your overlap and common open deals?

All of the above are important, but teams need to pay special attention to tools. And no, we’re not only talking about account mapping tools, but data itself. 


If you have data to justify your decisions, you’re more likely to get buy-in, deliver better results, and drive more value. The play here is that you need to take your time to get that data right. 


It’s pretty much like Abraham’s Lincoln phrase: “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax.” If you have unavailable or wrong data you won’t be able to share intel or share your success accurately. 


Your CRM needs to be trustworthy enough for the data, and then you must be able to comprehend it. This is where tools come into play. Account mapping platforms act as dictionaries, assisting you in translating and unifying data into actionable intelligence.

Rashieté Calhoun: Grassroots approach

“Use your resources. The partner community is so giving and helpful, and there are so many resources out there. Dive into the community to learn more about co-selling”. 


Once you have your co-selling motion rolling, and you have a pretty good relationship with your partner’s partner team, now it’s time to act. 


“Being friends” with your partner’s partner team is only the beginning. You need to build relationships with their Sales teams. Only in that way, both Sales team will work together. Once you have found the perfect reps match (look for the best performing AE in your partners’ organization) make them do the groundwork. 


To be able to find the ICP, they need to live in the market. And the best way to do it is by joining the communities, reading the content, and connecting on LinkedIn with the people your potential customer is surrounded by. 


All those insights will help them connect better with their customers and will make them co-selling champions. And once that happens, they can make introductions with other people within their team. This makes collaboration and enablement easier—plus, you can also grow your market share of that partnership. 


Scott Leese: Go-to-network


How are you planning to surround your customers with influence if you don’t have any network you can leverage? 


In this nearbound era, networking is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. If your buyers are no longer answering the phone or opening emails, and you have less budget, how are you planning to contact them? The key lies in that network and the relationships you build. 


You can start simply. Go open LinkedIn and start following the leaders that your customer is following. Interact with them. Join communities like PavilionRevGeniusGTM UnitedPartnership Leaders, etc. 


Here is where you’ll find what your customers want to know, and who are they leveraging to sort tasks out. This is also where recommendations take place. Your network is a sphere of influence you need to leverage if you want to start co-selling. 

A final note to co-sellers

Co-selling is more than chasing referrals—it’s about strategic collaboration. Nearbound introduces the 3 I’s: intel, influence, and intros, reshaping co-selling for success.


Traditional revenue-centric mindsets fall short. Building relationships is key—neglecting partners post-referral jeopardizes long-term success. Nearbound isn’t theory; it’s actionable, elevating your co-selling game and delivering a 46% higher win rate. 


And the best place to start your co-selling motion is The Nearbound Summit. 


Get the on-demand recordings here including the sessions with Rashité Calhoun, Xiaofei Zhang, Sam Yarborough, Judd Borakove, and Scott Leese. 10 min

Co-selling with Nearbound

Co-selling is more than chasing referrals—it's about strategic collaboration. Learn how to leverage the 3 I’s: intel, influence, and intros, to reshape co-selling for success.

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