© 2019 American Physical Society. Optical imaging surveys measure both the galaxy density and the gravitational lensing-induced shear fields across the sky. Recently, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Collaboration used a joint fit to two-point correlations between these observables to place tight constraints on cosmology (T. M. C. Abbott (Dark Energy Survey Collaboration), Phys. Rev. D 98, 043526 (2018)PRVDAQ2470-001010.1103/PhysRevD.98.043526). In this work, we develop the methodology to extend the DES Year 1 joint probes analysis to include cross-correlations of the optical survey observables with gravitational lensing of the cosmic microwave background as measured by the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and Planck. Using simulated analyses, we show how the resulting set of five two-point functions increases the robustness of the cosmological constraints to systematic errors in galaxy lensing shear calibration. Additionally, we show that contamination of the SPT+Planck cosmic microwave background lensing map by the thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect is a potentially large source of systematic error for two-point function analyses but show that it can be reduced to acceptable levels in our analysis by masking clusters of galaxies and imposing angular scale cuts on the two-point functions. The methodology developed here will be applied to the analysis of data from the DES, the SPT, and Planck in a companion work.