If you’re still skeptical about the growing power of marketplaces in the B2B world, the following stats might just begin to sway you:

·  61% of B2B buyers say they have purchased software through Cloud Marketplaces in 2021 – a 39% increase over 2020. (State of Cloud Marketplaces Report)

·  83% of B2B buyers say they are likely or extremely likely to purchase through marketplaces in the future. (State of Cloud Marketplaces Report)

·  73% of B2B buyers say that they find buying through eCommerce, web direct, or marketplaces to be very convenient. (Forrester)

The message is clear: B2B marketplaces are here to stay. More to the point, they’re a key engine that you need to be running in your SaaS growth strategy. “B2B marketplaces unlock larger buyer budgets, accelerated deal velocity and valuable co-sell opportunities with the cloud providers,” says Tackle CEO John Jahnke in this OpenView blog. “Once buyers buy via the marketplace, it’s hard to go back to the friction-filled experience of traditional software buying,” he adds.

Here’s how marketplaces provide a frictionless software buying experience and can help to amplify SaaS growth strategy:

(Source: State of Cloud Marketplaces Report)

Marketplaces boost SaaS growth by simplifying procurement.

One of the great joys of B2B marketplaces – for both buyers and sellers – is that they ease the headaches associated with long, involved procurement processes. “Procurement today requires many steps for a new vendor, but the marketplace can eliminate the frustration by easing new vendor onboarding, opening opportunities for better deals on core services, and—the big win—consolidating budget and contracts,” says Jahnke.

Jahnke goes on to explain that often, bespoke contracts aren’t necessary when buyers purchase additional software or services through a marketplace. When a buyer already has a contract in place, additional purchases can simply be added as line items on the existing cloud provider’s bill.

SaaS marketplaces give B2B buyers faster access to the tools they need.

Traditionally, the B2B buying process is lengthier and more complex than the B2C buying process. However, B2B buyers today want to have a ‘B2C experience’ when making software purchases. Marketplaces fulfill this need by allowing B2B buyers to self-serve when browsing a selection of products, tools, and services. Having the tools and services they need at their fingertips – and being able to circumvent arduous procurement processes – is a huge attraction of marketplaces for buyers.

To enjoy a frictionless B2B buying experience, buyers need to be able to choose from pre-packaged ‘top seller’ service bundles or request custom quotes from one or more providers. Similarly, sellers need to be able to simplify and accelerate the sales process through the use of a tool that allows them to create custom quotes. Flexible payment methods are likewise non-negotiable; for example, Milestone Payments are often useful when collecting fees for longer projects.

Private marketplaces provide a better B2B customer experience.

When including a marketplace in your SaaS growth strategy, there’s one fundamental decision to be made first: should you go the public marketplace route or embrace your own private marketplace instead?

Private SaaS marketplaces provide the best B2B customer experience, for a range of reasons:

 Only trusted and accredited providers are listed.

In a closed, private SaaS marketplace, only your accredited partners are featured. This means that the buying and procurement process is made even simpler and faster for your customers. They know that every provider listed carries your stamp of approval and can be trusted to provide an expert service. In addition, your accredited providers are all trained in your SaaS tool and therefore able to assist your customers with related issues. In a public marketplace, on the other hand, quality varies widely and expertise cannot be guaranteed.

You have more control over the customer experience offered by your partners.

In a public marketplace, you’re unable to monitor the customer experience or service provided by other sellers, including that of your own VARs. In a private marketplace, however, you have more control over the wider experience, and are able to monitor fees, delivery, content, and sales offered by each of your partners. This means that you’re able to easily jump in to assist in closing deals or sorting out technical issues. Should a customer have a bad experience with any of your partners, they’re likely to escalate to you, allowing you to step in to help the customer, and then take action to upskill the partner in question.

Customers are able to self-serve within the context of your ecosystem.

In a closed marketplace of accredited partners, customers are able to compare prices, services, providers, and packages within the context of your wider ecosystem and work out which provider is the best fit based on which of your tools and features they use the most.

Private marketplaces generate more business opportunities within your ecosystem.

Because a private marketplace only includes your own partners and VARs, you’re never sending sales opportunities outside of your own ecosystem. Connecting your existing customers with your partners generates more opportunity for collaboration and referrals within your partner program. As your partners grow, so you grow too, and on and on it goes. This snowball effect is one of the cornerstones of encouraging SaaS growth through collaborative partnerships and cutting-edge marketplaces.

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