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ACE is your secret weapon for selling NetApp on AWS

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Sara Chatt
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One of the greatest benefits for partners on AWS Marketplace is the platform’s deliberate aim to help boost sales. Because why shouldn’t they? Having engineered an obvious symbiosis between ISVs, AWS representatives, and partners, the platform thrives because everyone wins together, key players helping and being helped by each other.

This design is especially apparent in co-selling, a system in which partners and customers benefit from bundling AWS with complementary cloud solutions. By co-selling with AWS and NetApp, for example, you optimize growth because the program accelerates customer acquisition and sales in the customer’s native cloud environment.

The bounty flows freely because the partnership makes sense. In fact, AWS, the leading expert in public cloud, and NetApp, the industry leader in cloud data services, have a 12-year history of making sense together. 

AWS further advances sales by providing built-in systems, like ACE, that make co-selling easier. Whether you’re familiar with ACE or haven’t yet recognized its potential for customer management greatness, we’re about to fill you in. Because friends don’t let friends co-sell without it.

What is ACE?

Have you ever tried putting furniture together without a screwdriver? Of course not. It makes zero sense to start a project without the right tools.

For selling, you need a high-quality customer relationship management (CRM) system. For co-selling on AWS, you need Amazon Partner Network Customer Engagement (ACE). When you register as a co-seller, ACE becomes the joint CRM between AWS and NetApp, providing a platform for managing your lead pipeline and facilitating engagement. ACE helps you track your AWS pipeline and offers by giving you structure for building repeatable, expedited sales.

ACE does this by helping you:

  • Uncover opportunities to cross-sell, upsell, and co-sell
  • Grow revenue
  • Understand and respond to customer needs

It also comes with a couple of added bonuses:

  • Access to AWS contacts. Because co-selling is a group effort, your activity in ACE connects you to key AWS associates, like the account manager, partner development manager, and more.
  • Ability to leverage the AWS sales team’s expertise. The AWS sales rep is your primary contact, overseeing each opportunity in ACE. They receive compensation when partners close deals, so working in this platform means that you can lean on their knowledge as you forge relationships and make sales.

How it works

ACE makes it effortless to turn leads into new accounts through a consistent process:

  1. Discover the right opportunity. AWS field reps introduce new accounts to you and NetApp, and everyone collaborates to identify the right fit.
  2. Register leads in the ACE portal. For credit and visibility, you must register qualified leads in the ACE portal. Pro tip: When submitting your opportunity, be sure to select Marketplace in the Additional Details section. When the ACE opportunity is reviewed and approved by AWS, NetApp is notified of the deal registration.
  3. Make introductions. Using AWS automated emails, send multiple introductory communications before establishing prospects as new CRM contacts.
  4. Engage and inform (through AWS collaboration). Your sales team and AWS reps join forces (symbiosis, remember?) to contact prospects and explain the NetApp® value proposition.
  5. Close the deal. When all parties have agreed to terms and signed the contract, you simply update the deal to Launched status.
  6. Keep going. The process continues as AWS reps introduce new leads and your team maintains accounts in ACE (Closed, Won, Go-Live, etc.).

Pro Tip #1: Want to earn more customer success stories? Engage early with your NetApp sales contact (before deal registration).

Why it works: Early alignment is one of the top factors that impact co-selling success. Take advantage of NetApp’s robust co-selling resources and transactional expertise to drive your deal, and we’ll work with you on the best approach to deliver a seamless transaction to your customer to help you earn that sales win.

Pro Tip #2: To maximize your partnership with NetApp and AWS using ACE, you should educate and train your sales reps on the ACE platform and its critical processes.

Why it works: As everyone gains familiarity, the steps progress seamlessly and sales happen faster.

ACE best practices

Like any customer management software, ACE has features that you need to learn and understand if you want the platform to organize and simplify optimally. Consider these techniques:

  • Establish credibility. The heart of any buy/sell relationship is to identify the unique workload or issue that NetApp solutions help the customer solve. Clearly pinpointing this detail in ACE helps the opportunity get approved on the platform.
Partner Project Title
  • Be concise with key details. When filling out project description fields in ACE, continue adding relevant but brief points that relate the solution or solutions to certain problems. Don’t get bogged down with details that may not matter to the big picture. Those are usually better left to any day-to-day organization methods you use in addition to ACE.
  • Set the stage for co-selling and business development opportunities. When you add a new opportunity to ACE, you are asked whether you need deal support from AWS. Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, leave the box checked, just in case. Remember, you strengthen your co-selling strategy when you maintain a team-centered approach.
Partner Primary Needs
  • Quantify the opportunity. ACE works best when you not only understand how NetApp solutions improve the client’s cloud experience, but you’re able to translate your understanding to the platform. The more familiar you become with NetApp (don’t worry — we make it a cinch), the easier it will be to specify key details.
  • Update opportunities. Use the Next Steps field to maintain a running history of account activity, including requests for AWS reps and status updates. When working as a unit, staying on top of communication helps all sides to understand and move forward with each opportunity.
Next steps
  • Optimize opportunity lifecycles. Take advantage of every benefit and shortcut that ACE offers (there are lots of them). These benefits include scheduling your initial meeting with NetApp and AWS specialists, using email templates (why reinvent the wheel?), and continuously improving the quality and content of your communications.

Getting started

Co-selling with NetApp and AWS can turbocharge your business as a partner because:

✔ You can offer customers clear value.

✔ You get a partnership that makes sense.

✔ You receive support from two tech titans.

And the deal gets even sweeter with ACE. As you continue to submit and launch opportunities through the ACE platform, your sales take off, and you gain increased understanding of your customers’ challenges and needs. Plus, you get long-term, strategic allies.

Ready to leverage ACE to start connecting with AWS and NetApp opportunities? Start with a one-on-one with a NetApp AWS specialist. We’ll share our best practices and show you how to get set up as a NetApp cloud partner or as part of the AWS Partner Network (if you aren’t already). Connect with us to get started.

Sara Chatt

Sara Chatt is an AWS Partner Ecosystem Business Development Manager at NetApp. She is responsible for driving global recruitment, development and AWS co-selling strategy within an ecosystem of strategic CSP, MSP, VAR/SI, and GSI partners. Sara has over six years of experience in cloud marketplace, centered around Channel Partner and ISV enablement, business development, and leading process optimization efforts to scale revenue and market share.

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