For every major ISV on the map, partnership selling – the practice of partnering with resellers and value-added resellers (VARs) to get products into as many customers’ shopping carts as possible – is a vital aspect of their sales and distribution strategy. Considering that 75% of world trade flows indirectly, VARs and channel resellers likely already make up a large chunk of your own partner ecosystem too.
Partnership selling can be the key to sustainable SaaS growth.
VAR networks provide an excellent path to scalable growth. This is because VARs take on most of the marketing and sales overheads for you, whether selling your software on your behalf or bringing top-quality leads to your doorstep. In addition, when VARs sell relevant services alongside your software, customers receive a more holistic solution and a coherent customer experience. Another great advantage of partnership selling through VARs is that they often execute onboarding, training, and customer support on your behalf.
The overall outcome? Bigger reach, lower sales and marketing overheads, and higher customer success rates. Big wins all round.
Gear your apps marketplace towards enhancing your partnership selling aims.
Given that channel sales are so important for getting your software into new customers’ tech stacks, ensuring that your own apps marketplace is geared towards encouraging partnership sales should be a top priority. In fact, done right, your apps marketplace represents a huge amount of opportunity for your channel partners.
Forrester’s Jay McBain agrees. “For buyers (or prospects), marketplaces offer a full array of self-service buying tools. These are tools for early journey research, partner selection, product stack configuration and pricing, final vendor selection, contracts, purchase, and renewal,” he says. “Provisioning, implementations, integrations, monitoring, and reporting all become longer-term benefits of marketplaces, and partners have huge opportunities to take advantage of these opportunities.”
McBain goes on to explain that the average cloud deal represents a 5X value multiplier for partners and VARs. That means that for every $1 made by the software vendor, around $5 goes to the ecosystem in the form of software, hardware, and services sales.
Here are four ways to guarantee that your apps marketplace makes the most of your partnerships with resellers and VARs:
1. Create pre-packaged ‘tech + services’ bundles.
One of the most effective ways to sell your own products while simultaneously promoting your partners’ services and providing customers with holistic, 360° solutions is to list pre-packaged bundles on your marketplace. Save your customers the headache of searching for the supporting tech and services they need to excel by grouping your products along with VARs’ services and integrated solutions in ‘best seller’ bundles. Check out our quick guide for SaaS on how companies can optimize packaging.
2. Facilitate co-innovation and collaboration.
The best partnership selling strategies go beyond simply selling your product as-is through partner sales channels. Leverage your partners’ collective tech, skills, and expertise by using a marketplace interface that makes partner-to-partner collaboration and co-innovation easy. For example, Morphed’s Ecosystem Marketplace infrastructure allows partners to invite other tech and service providers into their Partner Portal. This creates a frictionless environment for partners to co-create tailored, end-to-end solutions for shared customers. Customers are likewise able to collaborate with partners and providers through secure, centralized chats in their Customer Portal.
3. Prioritize automation and partner self-service.
Selling partner apps and services via your own marketplace is a powerful partnership selling strategy. However, it’s important to prioritize automation and partner self-service to ensure that your marketplace remains scalable. Specifically, partners need to be able to easily upload their own profile information and update their product and service listings without needing your help. If your marketplace is difficult for partners to use, you’ll soon find yourself shouldering a huge admin burden of hand-holding VARs and other partners as they struggle to manage and update their marketplace listings and profiles. Take a look at our Partner Portal Setup Demo for an example of a user-friendly marketplace interface.
4. Develop marketplace tools that deliver a great user experience for both customers and VARs.
Marketplaces that are designed to sell partner services alongside your apps and tech solutions require additional tools and functionality to ensure that transactions are as frictionless as possible for both customers and partners. (I’ve written an in-depth post about the different requirements of marketplaces for apps and marketplaces for services here.)Any services marketplace worth its salt needs to provide a streamlined process for handling RFPs, quotations, briefs, and deal finalization. For example, Morphed’s ‘Submit a Brief’ function streamlines the proposal process by providing customers with a digital briefing template that the provider can then transform into a finalized proposal. Once the customer clicks ‘Accept Payment’, they’re immediately directed to make a secure Stripe payment. (Find out more about this function here.)