When chatting to some of our customers, one common pain point tends to come up. That pain point is around how companies optimize packaging on marketplaces to sell both tech and services more effectively.
New providers, especially those who haven’t focused on marketplace sales for long, often ask us for advice around finding the right ways to embrace B2B-specific marketplace features to package, price, and sell their apps or services (and, of course, those of their partners).
Here’s our quick guide on how companies optimize packaging of apps, integrations, and services via marketplaces.
Services and apps require different selling strategies.
It’s no surprise that figuring out how best to package and list your B2B services and products in a marketplace can be confusing, as most B2B sales don’t fit well in traditional B2C-style marketplaces. However, B2B-specific marketplaces include features designed to support the longer, and often more complex, B2B sales process.
That said, the first thing to realize is that B2B services require different selling strategies to B2B apps and integrations. Let’s take a look at how to package services first.
How companies optimize packaging for services on marketplaces
We’ve written this super helpful guide on how to productize services in the context of project-led growth. In short, it’s essential to tick the following boxes when productizing your services:
· Understand which services you’d like to package and why.
· Define the details.
· Include frictionless sales tools.
Erika Childers of Tackle.io advises that lower-priced items, or pay-as-you-go, trial-based, and freemium offer types are particularly helpful for partners looking to acquire organic public interest from your marketplace, due to the low barrier to entry. Generating interest in these offers then creates opportunities to open conversations with your customers. Once you’re in conversation with a potential customer, you have the option of offering a higher-value or custom solution that might better meet the customer’s specific needs and requirements.
Design top seller pre-packaged service bundles
To group services into pre-packaged bundles with a high chance of selling, it’s best to begin by looking at your sales history. Look for purchase patterns and commonly grouped services to come up with ‘top seller’ solution bundles. List these on your marketplace, and remember that these can likewise function as ‘conversation starters’ that open the doors to negotiations around a bespoke service offering.
Offer custom solutions, especially for higher-value purchases
Childers reports that private offers are the most successful avenue for software sales via marketplaces. Particularly for purchases over $20K, private offers allow you to create a custom offer for a client via your marketplace hand-in-hand with a direct sales motion.
The Morphed marketplace tech facilitates and accelerates this process by enabling your partners to use the solution builder (digital RFPs) to craft bespoke, once-off service solutions for customers. These proposals are commerce-enabled, and include conversation and payment mechanisms.
Use B2B-specific payment functionality when selling services via marketplaces
Asking customers to prepay a full lump sum upfront, before a project has been completed, can make a sale more difficult, especially for high-value projects. We recommend implementing milestone payments to remove this friction. Milestone payments allow you to collect project fees in installments, based on agreed-upon project deliverables.
This system benefits both services providers and customers:
· It lessens the risk of projects moving outside of your marketplace by keeping you more in control of the work and timeline delivered by each partner.
· Partners are able to get projects off the ground faster, as they don’t need to wait for full payment upfront.
· Breaking a lump sum down into more manageable deposits means clients are more likely to meet payment deadlines.
· Milestone payments help providers maintain a steadier cash flow.
Resist penalizing the buyer by raising your pricing for marketplaces
When making the switch to marketplaces, many tech and services companies consider raising their fees to offset costs associated with transacting through a marketplace. However, we advise against this. In fact, we recommend being as transparent as possible when it comes to displaying pricing structures on marketplaces. Modern buyers value transparency and want to understand the breakdown of what exactly they’re paying for.
Don Addington agrees, adding that the long game pays off. Once your products and services are established on a marketplace and you begin transacting at scale, deals will close faster and require less and less assistance from your sales team. Long-term, the costs associated with transacting through a marketplace are very appealing.
How companies optimize packaging for apps and integrations on marketplaces
Selling apps and integrations via a marketplace is a slightly different ball game compared to selling B2B services. To help your partners sell tech solutions more effectively via your marketplace, it’s helpful to go back to the foundational pillars of productizing an app.
This useful article suggests taking the following points into account:
· Is your app scalable enough?
To ensure a scalable UX architecture, aim to keep the IA open-ended, use an object-oriented CSS architecture, and keep the visual design scalable enough.
· Is your app flexible enough?
A flexible UX allows you to make changes to the interaction, information, or visual elements safely and relatively easily. Following modular CSS architecture can help in this respect.
· Can your app change dresses easily?
The article recommends identifying all configurable elements of the interface in terms of branding, as this allows the app to be easily customized to align with prospective customers’ branding guidelines.
· How transitional is your app?
It’s the responsibility of every UX team to clearly and meticulously document all key aspects of the app’s UX strategy, information architecture, front-end engineering and so on, so that the app can be seamlessly handed over to another team in the future. Include a user guide, a UX style guide, a look-and-feel guide, and a front end guide.
Showcase packaged apps via your marketplace
Once an app or integration has been packaged and productized, they’re ready to be showcased via your marketplace. Each tech partner can list multiple apps and integrations under their profile. Third-party developer products can also be listed. In this way, your customers have access to a plethora of useful apps and integrations, in one place.