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Adobe co-sell success

Adobe and Microsoft co-selling leads to wins with enterprise companies including 24 Hour Fitness.

Adobe and Microsoft co-selling leads to wins with new customers

Co-sell wins with over 60 brands include 24 Hour Fitness, W.B. Mason, and Avianca.

A unique partnership

Adobe and Microsoft forge a strategic partnership that integrates the companies at multiple levels.

Co-sell success

Joint co-sell opportunities lead to substantial growth and revenue for Adobe.

Helping 24 Hour Fitness

Adobe and Microsoft help 24 Hour Fitness improve its end-to-end customer journey.

A unique strategic partnership

In 2016, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stood on the main stage of Microsoft’s Ignite event and announced plans for a strategic partnership that would help enterprise companies embrace digital transformation and deliver personalized customer experiences. “Customers today expect a well-designed, personalized, and consistent experience every time they engage with a brand,” said Narayen in an announcement about the partnership. “Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.”

Less than two years later, Adobe and Microsoft have forged a unique strategic partnership that integrates the companies at multiple levels. “For both companies, we’ve never seen a true partnership at this level. It’s almost like a joint venture in some ways,” said Nik Shroff, Global Alliance Manager, Microsoft at Adobe. “A lot of times you hear about partnerships, and it’s sort of just a press release. I can tell you very clearly that this is very different from that. We’ve got teams working on joint solutions, teams working jointly with customers; we’re working on road maps together. It’s super-exciting.”

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Partnering to realize a vision

According to Shroff, Adobe historically had two core businesses that most people know them for: the Adobe Creative Cloud, which features over 20 apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign; and the Adobe Document Cloud, which includes Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Sign. In 2009, Adobe launched a third business called the Adobe Experience Cloud, which features a set of cloud services designed to give enterprises everything they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The Experience Cloud comprises three services: Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Advertising Cloud, and Adobe Analytics Cloud.

“The Experience Cloud is our true enterprise business,” Shroff said. “It’s really framed around this idea of what’s the next-generation platform for brands as they design and architect the overall experience for their customers. Brands, whether they’re customer-facing companies or business-to-business companies, are no longer in the product business. They’re in the experience business.”

While Adobe Experience Cloud is currently a USD2 billion-per-year business and growing quickly, Shroff said that Adobe realized they needed help to be able to fully realize their vision. “The challenge was that the vision we were painting was so big, and really encompasses so many components of a customer’s technology stack, that we really couldn’t realize that vision by ourselves. When we looked at Microsoft, it was obvious that the fit between the two companies was so complementary. There are very few areas where we compete,” he said. “We’re a big company, but as we aspire to go to that next level, we believe that Microsoft will be a fundamental partner in helping us on that journey.”

The software and services from the two companies were complementary as well, Shroff said. “With Microsoft, you have an outstanding cloud infrastructure in Microsoft Azure, and then from a business applications perspective you have Microsoft Dynamics and Power BI. When you combine that with our Experience Cloud, you really have all the pieces you need, in terms of how to design the next-generation experience platform for end customers.”

“Co-selling with Microsoft has led to wins with over 60 brands from around the world, including 24 Hour Fitness, W.B. Mason, and Avianca. In the first year of our partnership, we achieved strong momentum with these customers adopting our solutions.”

–Nik Shroff, Global Alliance Manager, Microsoft at Adobe

Co-sell collaboration

One area in which Adobe and Microsoft are strongly collaborating is their co-selling activities. “Regarding co-selling, we’ve built out a special program that includes incentives in place around our partnership on both sides,” Shroff said. “We have dedicated program management teams on both sides who play a role in terms of how to connect our sellers together on opportunities. We also have a whole process where we look at the accounts and opportunities that we each bring to the table that we want to work on together. It’s very much designed to be a mutual co-sell setup.”

Shroff continued: “Microsoft has been tremendously helpful for us in terms of identifying opportunities. They’ve also been fantastic about helping us identify green space accounts where there may be some high-propensity targets. We work with our program managers to cull the lists and figure out where they want to focus, and then connect the two account executives on both sides on any given opportunity.”

Adobe has also had considerable success participating in events with Microsoft, including conducting presentations at Microsoft Technology Centers (MTCs), and collaborating during major events from both companies as well as third-party events. “We’ve created content around Adobe and Microsoft joint solutions that we’ve rolled out to all of the MTCs globally,” Shroff said. “We were big sponsors and participants at all of Microsoft’s major events last year, and Microsoft is also a diamond-level sponsor at the Adobe Summit. We’ve also collaborated at third-party events, like NRF [the National Retail Federation conference] in January, where we had an awesome joint presence with a lot of lead activity flow out of that. We’ve participated in virtually every type of readiness and field enablement event, so we’ve tried to take advantage of every program that we can think of, and they’ve all been fantastic to help us get the message out.”


Exceeding targets and helping new customers

After a year of co-selling together, Adobe and Microsoft are seeing some impressive results. “Microsoft’s ability to custom tailor the GTM motion—to align their investments, messaging, marketing, events, partner, and product strategy with ours—has helped to drive visibility in the market. This has unlocked joint co-sell opportunities, which has led to substantial growth and revenue for us,” Shroff said. “Co-selling with Microsoft has led to wins with over 60 brands from around the world, including 24 Hour Fitness, W.B. Mason, and Avianca. In the first year of our partnership, we achieved strong momentum with these customers adopting our solutions.”

Shroff highlighted the 24 Hour Fitness win as a great example of how the Adobe-Microsoft combination can significantly help an enterprise customer. “24 Hour Fitness is a great story of a brand wanting to leverage the strength of both companies and really think about their end-to-end customer journey,” he said.

In 2017, 24 Hour Fitness stakeholders realized their existing tools weren’t working well enough together to allow the company to deliver omnichannel marketing for its 4 million members across over 400 locations. Besides paying for software that was underperforming, 24 Hour Fitness was outsourcing much of its analytics, data management, and campaign activities, which was costing the company millions of dollars annually. 24 Hour Fitness invited several competitors to present information about their digital marketing platforms but eventually chose the Adobe Experience Cloud, which integrates with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM platform they had recently implemented.

“By partnering with Microsoft, we saw an opportunity to show how a unified digital marketing solution can leverage CRM data, as well as data from many other touchpoints, to target messages to the interests of members,” said Chris Stark, an Adobe account executive at 24 Hour Fitness. “By bringing the Adobe solutions in house, 24 Hour Fitness can reduce costs from outside agencies and manage their own marketing efforts.”

“The 24 Hour Fitness win is a great example of Adobe and Microsoft working together over a long period of time, and with an additional partner, which helped in terms of the integration and from a system integration perspective,” Shroff said. “So, it’s not just Adobe and Microsoft. We’re also doing a good job in terms of working with an additional partner around the execution of our technologies into the customer. It’s a really great collaboration in multiple ways.”

Shroff said he sees the two companies becoming more tightly integrated going forward. “One of the goals is to continue to build momentum and make this co-selling activity and the motion with Microsoft a permanent component of our strategy as we go to market with customers. We’re also very interested in how we continue to make it truly a value-add scenario—for us, for Microsoft, and for our joint customers.”

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