Microsoft’s Co-Sell Model: From Competitive to Collaborative

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CEO Satya Nadella spearheaded the vendor’s pivot toward collaboration, which opened the way to co-selling success.

Before Satya Nadella stepped up as CEO of Microsoft in 2014, Windows and Office were the center of the technology giant’s universe: Nearly every aspect of its business and go-to-market strategy hinged on these flagship products. The concentration, however, cost Microsoft dearly as it began falling behind more aggressive cloud-oriented companies. Nadella moved swiftly to change that.

The cultural shift under Nadella framed Microsoft less as a provider of a specific operating system and business productivity suite and more as a provider of general business solutions, be they on-premises or cloud-based.

Nadella laid out a fresh philosophy for the company: Rather than attempt to be the center of the universe, Microsoft’s new aim was to be everywhere in the universe, ready to collaborate and build solutions with other companies if necessary. In practical terms, this shift resulted in a number of changes within the company and a number of new initiatives. One of those was a venture into “co-selling” that began in 2017.


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