You recognize the potential of Cloud go-to-market for reaching more buyers and driving revenue. Now you need to convince your C-suite to embrace it as well.
Getting executive buy-in on a novel approach isn’t always easy, which is why we created this post. Here, you’ll find compelling facts and contextual information to help you make your cloud business case: How Cloud GTM can drive value in your organization, foster strategic growth, and what the future holds. Use this trove of knowledge to present an air-tight pitch to your company’s decision-makers and come out looking like a hero.
First things first: What is Cloud GTM?
Start by making sure everyone understands what you mean when you talk about Cloud GTM—it’s a relatively new term so getting everyone on the same page is a necessary step. In the simplest terms, Cloud GTM is the strategy a software company employs to leverage Cloud Provider ecosystems to drive lift to their revenue strategy.
Cloud GTM helps sellers meet customers where they want to buy while nurturing strategic partnerships that can lead to more, higher-value sales opportunities for ISVs.
With Cloud GTM, software sellers leverage the Cloud Provider ecosystems (AWS, Google, and Microsoft) to drive revenue (more on this below). By selling through and with one or more of the Cloud Providers, software sellers gain access to a broad pool of enterprise buyers — along with their billions of dollars’ worth of committed spend.
Cloud GTM is a winning route to market, and more companies are headed in that direction. Today, 55% of companies are “progressing on a cloud-first strategy”—up from 40% in 2022—according to Flexera, while 63% of enterprise companies already buy SaaS via Cloud Marketplaces (Battery Ventures State of Cloud Software Spending.)
This level of growth comes despite the current economic climate, with 45% of companies reporting that their cloud usage/spend is higher than planned, while another 45% said that their cloud usage/spend remained within the plan (Flexera). Even more importantly, 32% of CXOs expect to spend more with Cloud Marketplaces this year (Battery Ventures State of Cloud Software Spending.)
Clearly, economic headwinds seem to have little effect on the growth of Cloud Marketplaces and cloud ecosystems. Rather, Cloud GTM may provide some degree of stability during times of economic flux.
Overcoming misperceptions and resistance to Cloud GTM
Fair warning: Your C-suite may have incorrect notions about how Cloud GTM works and the level of effort it requires compared to the value. Or your C-level decision makers may not even be familiar with it at all.
You’ll likely encounter some resistance along these lines: “Taking on a new go-to-market motion is disruptive.” But the good news is that Cloud GTM complements multiple routes to market, including direct, channel, consumption-based pricing, product-led growth, and Cloud Marketplaces — without the need to overhaul existing operations to provide the right experience for buyers.
Additional Cloud GTM benefits to emphasize in your pitch include:
Cost savings. One of the primary benefits of the cloud is cost savings. Discuss the potential savings from reduced capital expenditure (CapEx), lower IT operating costs due to burn down on cloud spend, and the pay-as-you-go model that many cloud services use. The CFO, in particular, will be interested in revenue efficiency.
Security and compliance/operational and finance mitigations. These are often a significant concern for the C-suite. Address this by explaining the measures that reputable Cloud Providers employ, the consultants or guides you’ve hired to aid you in the journey, and prepare to back it up with examples or a call.
Scalability and flexibility. Emphasize that cloud services allow companies to easily scale their IT infrastructure up or down based on demand. This flexibility can be a significant advantage, particularly for businesses with fluctuating needs. Scale with Marketplace and co-sell will bring in more business, less direct SDR motions, and more ecosystem plays that enable your teams to drive revenue with less overhead over time.
Cloud GTM is all about efficiently driving revenue through the clouds. Examples from leading software companies illustrate the tangible benefits of Cloud GTM for sellers:
Seeq started selling through AWS Marketplace and Microsoft commercial marketplace in 2019. By 2021, approximately 20% of Seeq’s total ARRwas transacted through these two Marketplaces, a 215% year-over-year increase.
Another example is SecurityScorecard. The company saw an 8X revenue increase through AWS Marketplace (700% growth) in just two quarters—and it’s forecasting similar results in subsequent years.
At this point, your stakeholders might be wondering if your company is large enough or properly equipped to justify Cloud GTM. The answer is a resounding Yes. As we noted in the State of Cloud Marketplaces Report, company size doesn’t necessarily translate to Cloud GTM success — cooperation and alignment across the organization is the key factor for success, and getting the C-suite on board is paramount to making this a top-down imperative. The report says:
“Historically, Alliances teams have owned the cloud relationship, but as the dollars get real, the C-Suite is paying attention. We see savvy Revenue, Alliances, and Marketing leaders joining forces to align on this as a GTM motion and ensure that partner-led initiatives are a part of their growth plan for 2023.”
This kind of alignment means team buy-in, particularly at the C-suite level, is an absolute necessity—not a luxury—so here are 4 tips for building a compelling case for Cloud GTM.
1. Get your ducks in a row and perfect your pitch
In business, good ideas live or die according to the quality of the pitch. You may only have one shot at getting the C-suite on board, so it’s important to make it count. Some general guidelines:
Emphasize strategic alignment. Discuss how Cloud GTM aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. Is the organization aiming for digital transformation, cost savings, scalability, or better customer experience? Show how the Cloud GTM supports these goals.
Create a compelling vision. Cloud GTM can be a transformational initiative, and it should be handled as such in your presentation. The C-suite’s buy-in is critical, so you need to sell them on the vision and potential.
At the same time, be realistic. Define what the program is going to be, what the end goal is, and, most importantly, the overall lift to get a Cloud GTM strategy started (or re-started), including engineering efforts, process changes, and sales enablement. In addition, address how long it will take to get this strategy off the ground, and what success looks like in year 1, 2, 3, and so on.
Keep the pitch C-level appropriate. Break the vision down into easily understood and realistically achievable chunks. Don’t get into the weeds. Choose your top three milestones, what it takes to get there, and any specific asks for the C-suite (which may be something along the lines of communicating to the organization that Cloud GTM is a company-wide initiative supported by the executives).
Use data and case studies. To make your arguments compelling, use data and case studies wherever possible. For example, leverage your peers in other organizations and highlight their Cloud GTM wins. Reach out to the Tackle Cloud Community or reference Tackle’s customer success stories. Are there specific examples of companies in your industry who have benefited from a Cloud GTM motion? When possible, use data from your own customers: Who is buying via Marketplace? Where? What do your customers want?
2. Emphasize how Cloud GTM offers a competitive advantage
Part of a Cloud GTM strategy means leaning into the ecosystem of one (or more) of the cloud hyperscalers (AWS, Google, or Microsoft)—typically starting with the cloud on which your product is built. This has the distinct advantage of aligning your org with a trusted logo, which improves co-selling, and engenders trust among buyers, making them more likely to purchase or renew—and at the end of the day, that’s the first (and most important) step toward driving revenue.
Just a few of the competitive advantages Cloud GTM helps build through close relationships with Cloud Providers includes:
Market expansion: Forming alliances with the hyperscaler Cloud Providers opens up a broader customer base for your products. These partnerships can catapult your software solutions into new markets that would be challenging to reach alone.
Enhanced credibility: Validation with the Cloud Providers enhances your brand and product’s credibility. Customers often trust products integrated with or recommended by their preferred Cloud Partners.
Innovation drive: An active partnership with Cloud Providers keeps you on the cutting edge of cloud technologies and trends. This partnership can fuel your product innovation, allow for rapid deployment of new services, and keep you ahead of your competition by allowing you to adapt quickly to market changes.
According to Crossbeam, an ecosystem partnership also offers these advantages:
Deals close 46% faster when a partner (such as AWS, Google, or Microsoft) is involved.
Deals are 53% more likely to close when a partner is involved.
3. Emphasize that co-selling is the key to scaling revenue — which really matters in times of economic uncertainty
With co-sell, ISVs collaborate with Cloud Partners on targeted accounts (that’s where data enters the picture) to show buyers how your solution fits into their current ecosystem.
Successful co-selling helps you strengthen access to new buyers, new budgets, and build meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with the Cloud Providers. When combined with Marketplace (more on that below), co-selling drives the Cloud GTM engine and makes it truly possible to scale revenue.
Here are examples of two ISVs that have successfully launched and scaled co-sell programs:
Between co-selling and creating private offers, Weka built a strong AWS pipeline and closed an increasing number of AWS deals. In less than a year, the company landed several Fortune 1000 customers via AWS Marketplace and increased its cloud pipeline by more than 20x. Read more about Weka’s story here.
Because of its Marketplace and co-sell successes, Datometry leads with Microsoft commercial marketplace as its preferred procurement vehicle for every deal in its pipeline. By contributing to Microsoft commercial marketplace’s thriving co-sell ecosystem, Datometry not only provides a valuable solution to Microsoft customers, Datometry also helps to drive cloud consumption for the Cloud Provider. Read more about Datometry’s story here.
4. Stress that Marketplaces are the buying and selling platform of the future (and the present) — and part of a long-term strategy
Building a Cloud GTM strategy that emphasizes transacting through Marketplaces has been gaining steam for some time now. In fact, Tackle’s State of Cloud Marketplaces Report says that Marketplaces could see as high as $15 billion in throughput by the end of 2023 and $50 billion by the end of 2025.
In 2022, Tackle saw the number of new Marketplace buyers increase 200% from Q1 to Q4, with more than half of that growth happening in the second half of the year, even as the economy continued on a downward trend. That’s a clear sign that there’s enormous potential for ISVs to drive revenue by identifying and reaching buyers who are ready to buy software in a way that actually benefits their bottom line.
48% Draw down on committed spend with Cloud Providers—Marketplaces are the way to meet buyers where they want to transact and capture cloud dollars—growing 37% year over year—that sellers cannot afford to ignore, especially when efficiency is the name of the game.
46% The simplification of vendor management—The procurement process is consolidated on Cloud Marketplaces.
44% Consolidation of IT spend—Buyers want everything to be on one bill.
The acceleration of time to value (43%) and faster access to tools (41%)—Time spent on processes that would otherwise be undertaken outside of a Marketplace transaction, such as a procurement process or legal discussions, is mitigated.
With global software spend predictions topping $750 billion and cloud spend growing at more than 35%, Marketplaces will become the fastest growing cloud services over the next five years. In short, ISVs not in Marketplace will lose to competitors who support their buyers’ preferred way to buy.
Here are a couple more predictions to help sweeten your pitch:
By 2024, Marketplaces will be a dominant channel for the procurement of infrastructure operations software, according to Gartner.
80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels by 2025, according to Gartner.
There are no signs of slowing down, as buyers continue seeking more convenient digital means of buying, especially those that have a positive net impact — and the best way to reach those buyers is through a carefully orchestrated Cloud GTM strategy.
The most important thing to emphasize as you pitch a cloud business case is that Marketplace really is one part of a long-term strategy. The end goal is not getting listed in a Marketplace; it’s integrating Marketplace into the way you do business. That’s why the C-suite conversation is so pivotal: Cloud GTM is more than just a new channel, it’s a way of doing business that opens new doors and opportunities.
Simplicity seals the deal
You’re sure to make a splash with the C-suite when you lay out the case for “why” you should adopt a Cloud GTM strategy. But your decision-makers will inevitably want to know more about the “how.”
Building a Cloud GTM strategy that unites people, processes, and technology takes time. But having the right tools can go a long way toward unlocking the potential of Cloud GTM. Armed with cloud buyer data that helps define the co-sell opportunity, along with streamlined workflows for co-sell and Marketplace transactions, an ISV will be well-equipped to handle Cloud GTM.