The buying behavior of B2B customers is evolving, and adapting your sales channels to keep up with that evolution is essential to staying relevant in a world where the online customer experience (CX) is king.

Your customers are no longer interested in sitting through ear-numbing sales calls or having to play endless games of email ping-pong before finally making a purchase. Modern buyers want the easy ‘browse, compare, buy’ experience of B2C, with a generous side helping of digital RFPs, a secure, centralized comms portal, and milestone payment capabilities.

That’s why B2B marketplaces are no longer just another sales channel; they’re fast becoming THE sales channel. Whether you’re selling tech or services, you need to get in front of your customers where they want to shop: on your own cloud marketplace platform.

The success of your cloud marketplace platform depends on a range of factors.

Before you go live with your own cloud marketplace platform, it’s worth noting that a successful marketplace doesn’t operate in a silo. Just as a physical storefront needs an easy-to-navigate layout, capable staff, a well-oiled warehouse, tried-and-tested processes, and quality products, so the success of your cloud marketplace platform relies on a range of vital supporting factors.

1. Use your internal resources wisely.

The fact that you’re a technology company doesn’t automatically mean that you should develop your own cloud marketplace platform from scratch. Why divert your development team’s valuable time to building a marketplace when you can use ready-to-go, white-labeled, B2B-specific marketplace infrastructure instead? Leave your dev team’s focus where it should be: on building brilliant, innovative software.

While it might make sense to skip building your own marketplace platform in-house, you do want to make sure that someone on your team is given ownership of running the marketplace. To perform well, your marketplace needs focus and attention. This person needs to understand the buyer journey and be well-placed to execute a comprehensive marketplace strategy.

Your marketplace owner needs to be able to tick the following boxes:

·   Know exactly what your customers want when it comes to products, services, and customer experience;

·   Understand how your marketplace can positively impact your revenue;

·   Understand how to optimize your marketplace to convert leads faster;

·   Be capable of guiding the company from traditional sales practices to embracing eCommerce-focused methodologies.

2. Translate knowledge into holistic solutions.

When you list your accredited partners’ services on your eCommerce-enabled marketplace platform, you have the opportunity to solve for both your partners and your customers in two ways:

·   Via integrations

Integrating with relevant partner tools and apps listed in your marketplace increases your customers’ productivity by making their daily workflows smoother. By ensuring that your solution seamlessly shares data with your customers’ other favorite tools and systems, you’re also making your product stickier by firmly embedding it in your customers’ must-have tech stack.

·   Via service bundles

Creating and listing pre-bundled solutions and services packages is a powerful co-selling method that provides your customers with end-to-end solutions and gives your partners a helpful selling boost. For example, in Morphed’s Partner Portal, your partners are walked through a form that helps them set up solution packages to be listed on your marketplace. In addition, partners can use the solution builder to build custom solutions for customers. These proposals are commerce-enabled and include conversation and payment mechanisms.

3. Commit to a marketplace strategy.

Let’s get real: your marketplace probably isn’t going to be a radical overnight success story. Like most good things, marketplace success takes time. Maximizing your marketplace revenue requires real commitment to changing your ingrained selling behaviors – and that of your partners.

To get there, your marketplace owner needs to have a clear strategy in place, and that strategy needs to focus on finding ways to make the buying process as simple and as frictionless as possible. In a nutshell, your marketplace strategy needs to answer one fundamental question: How can I make buying easier for my customers?

It’s also important to make sure that there’s consistency across all brand channels. Accenture agrees: “From now on, the battle for mindshare – and market share – will rage on digital marketplaces. To win, brands must repair broken omnichannel experiences.” No matter which channel your customers use to engage with you, there needs to be a sense of a holistic brand experience that builds trust and tells your brand story. “The key is to deliver convenience and one-click customer journeys with creative storytelling that puts brand experience on the digital shelf.”

4. Stimulate the growth of your marketplace through collaboration.

In a previous post, How the best digital ecosystem orchestrators run their ecosystems, we spoke about leveraging network effects to stimulate exponential marketplace growth. Network effects refers to the snowball effect created when your marketplace attracts more users, which in turn attracts more sellers and partners, which in turn attracts more users, and so on.

Encourage your marketplace to grow by filling the gaps in your own product by integrating with your partners’ products or co-creating innovative new solutions. Strategic collaboration and integrations allow you to simultaneously expand your marketplace user base and your ecosystem.

Our white-labeled cloud marketplace platform is specifically tailored towards selling software and B2B services.

cloud marketplace platform

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