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Improving Cloud Marketplace Sales Operations

Tackle’s Cloud Marketplace platform helps software vendors start selling on Marketplaces easily and quickly. But that’s just the beginning. 

In a recent Cloud Marketplace Office Hours session, we got to share how Tackle’s platform improves and optimizes Marketplace deal flows, particularly for sales operations teams. The group shared best practices and their own experiences with operationalizing these processes at scale. 

The Marketplace Learning Curve

While the reasons for selling through the Marketplaces vary, sales operations teams usually take an active seat in processing these deals. It can take time to get them comfortable with and enthusiastic about these new flows. 

“The number of tools that sales teams use, particularly in the operational space, can be tremendously overwhelming,” Brian said. “When we add in this new Cloud Marketplace channel, that can add another layer of complexity. The three major Cloud Providers—AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud—have very similar functionality, but different terminology. Or worse, they have the same terminology that means different things.” 

Finance teams, meanwhile, will expect sales operations to master the details of every transaction and answer questions like:   

  • When can they book revenue? 
  • When is that revenue posting to the bank account? 
  • Was the latest payment for the right amount, and who was it from? 
  • Was the Marketplace fee correct? 

“For customers who plan to do a lot of transactions, we’re now helping them align their operations and finance teams to make sure everyone is comfortable doing transactions in all the ways they want to transact,” said Jillian McNerney, Senior Account Manager at Tackle.

Tackle CRO Don Addington noted that sales operations will need to know how to efficiently create Marketplace-specific deals and factor in the governance around approvals of discounts and Private Offers. “We talk to sales operations teams a lot about the linkage between who’s creating the Private Offers and who’s creating the deals and how that all gets reflected in systems,” he said. “That’s where Tackle is a great resource to our customers’ sales ops teams who want to do custom and specialized offers they’re not used to doing.” 

Emily Carpenter, Director of Revenue Operations at Tackle, talked about our own process for streamlining deals on the sales operations side. “When Tackle delivers a Private Offer, the sales reps have done most of the hard work,” she said. “They’ve done the communication and they’ve uploaded all the details to Salesforce for me to get it out the door. I want the sales reps to have an easy repository where they can store information they collect along the way and I can then access it to get a deal out the door at a moment’s notice.” 

Starting Small

Don cautioned against sales teams trying to do too much early on. “Especially for our larger customers with large sales teams, we advise them to start their selling motion on the Marketplace by selecting a few top reps to work with and top accounts to work on—to be very surgical about the first few deals,” he said. “It’s much easier to hammer out details and create processes after you’ve been through a few deals with just a couple reps instead of trying to get everybody involved all at once.” 

Another incentive to start smaller: getting positive internal reviews. “Those first few deals are the riskiest aspects of the Marketplace journey, depending on the size of your organization,” Don said. “If an early deal falls through because of confusion and one rep has a bad experience, it can really hinder efforts to scale. Being surgical and hand-holding the first few deals can make the difference between Marketplace catching on among sales or completely derailing.”

Asked where organizations should start offloading Cloud Marketplace deals to Sales Operations, participants agreed private offers made sense. “That can be an easy or convenient handoff from a deal desk or whoever makes the approval on the pricing,” Brian said. “In fact, you could have someone on the deal desk that is the [Private Offer] process guru.” 

Sales Enablement and Readiness

Closing deals, especially on Cloud Marketplaces, is all about preparation. “From our experience, enablement’s been a huge part of our initial go-to-market push with Marketplace,” said one attendee. “We’ve learned a ton from each deal, which has helped set us up for what we hope is going to be a scalable process. To improve on revenue recognition and reporting, from an enablement standpoint, we’re working to keep that top of mind for reps. That’s how we build that muscle internally.”

“When you’re dealing with a new transaction mechanism like Cloud Marketplaces,” said another attendee, “there’s a lot of value in tools that demystify or ease concerns of the difficulty of mastering and executing on something new.” 

Don agreed. “This seems hard, but once you start to get the repetition down, and the revenue is showing through, it’s easier for the sales operations group to see how it all comes together,” he said.

How Tackle Helps Sales Operations

Brian concluded Office Hours by walking through the Tackle Cloud Marketplace Platform and how it makes the sales process simpler, more scalable, and more accessible.

He reviewed a few key Tackle’s features, like:

  • Private Offer Acceleration, Tackle’s solution for creating and tracking Private Offers throughout the deal acceptance stages.
  • Easy Metering, which makes metered and usage-based billing options easier on finance and product teams.
  • Tackle Connectors, like Slack and Marketo, which help companies bridge the gap between the ongoing movement of business & the Marketplaces.

Don’t forget you can join the conversation on Tackle Office Hours on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month. 

Schedule a demo with Tackle to see these features and more, and learn how we can make your Cloud Marketplace dreams a reality.

 

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