How I Tackle Marketplace with Ruthy Ross, SailPoint

Tell us about yourself

I lead the AWS technology alliance at SailPoint. I’m responsible for the global AWS partnership’s vision, strategy, and field enablement.


What does your company do?

SailPoint is the market leader in Identity Security. With 94% of all identity-related data breaches being identity-related, SailPoint is more relevant than ever. As technology brings more users, applications, and data together, these connections bring more vulnerability. Identity security is the easiest way to implement your digital transformation faster and reduce risk.


What has your career path included?

AH, that’s always a fun question! I got into high tech because of my ability to speak German and Spanish. Little did I know that 20 (or so) short years later, I would have made a career out of building profitable long-term strategic partnerships. My focus has always been on international business and making it easier to work with  American companies.

Living in Seattle, it made sense to align with the cloud giants – before they were cloud giants! Microsoft was selling computers, and Amazon was about to start selling books online! Little did we know how Amazon would change the face of shopping and now the face of enterprises with their cutting edge cloud solution – AWS.

I chose to focus on partnerships because it’s the best of both worlds:  sales and marketing. Add the power of technology alliances, and you have the trifecta of partnerships:sales, development, and marketing.


What characteristics make for a successful Alliances leader?

By definition, an alliance is a union or association formed for shared benefit.  You must recognize and lead towards a shared desired outcome. Be a team player with a fair and equitable joint approach that delivers customer value and rewards your business and partner with mutual, profitable growth. 

Enablement and empowerment are two other critical requirements for an Alliances leader. Ensure both companies are equipped with aligned messaging that resonates with your targeted buyers. Continue reinforcing the common value that makes your partnership unique and meaningful to the market. I love connecting the SailPoint sales team with our partners. I try to join as many of these sessions as possible to open and expand the lines of communication. However, you must empower your teams to handle these discussions by themselves confidently.  

Successful collaboration breeds continued collaborative success.

Why did Sailpoint decide to add Marketplace to your GTM strategy?

Our initial goal with Marketplace was quite simply to be there. Security is far and away the most popular segment on the AWS Marketplace. As a market leader in identity security, we were noticeably absent. With the growing adoption of cloud marketplaces, it was strategically important for our company to have a presence on the AWS Marketplace. 

How have your Marketplace goals evolved?

Today, our Marketplace goals are twofold. We want to make sure that we have an element of a billboard, something that allows users to go to the Marketplace and better understand Sailpoint. Our second goal is to focus on co-sell with AWS as we’re a very complimentary solution. We want to be available for procurement in ways customers increasingly want to buy.

What advice do you have for people thinking about leveraging Marketplace?

When thinking about listing on the Marketplace and using that as a sales platform, my advice is to make sure that you have the appropriate buy-in across your company. It’s not a single person’s decision. It’s a cultural shift in how you sell and do business. I would make sure that you have the proper representation. In my case, I had the right buy-in from our executive team. I involved legal, finance, deal desk, order management, and others to ensure we were all aligned and everyone’s questions were answered.

How did you gain cross-functional alignment to move forward with Marketplace?

I developed a business plan that highlighted Marketplace adoption and other key trends. I shared feedback and success stories across a variety of ISV sellers. I offered a multi-year vision that outlined a crawl-walk-run approach aligned with crucial growth initiatives for SailPoint. 

Of course, the voice of our customers and prospects that expressed interest in buying via the Marketplace was also of great importance. Finally, we met frequently to talk through the requirements, risks, questions, and concerns across the various organizations. We collectively built out the process, identified essential milestones, and established guardrails to ensure a repeatable model. The result of the internal collaboration was a well-defined workflow that allowed us to essentially maintain our traditional sales methodology while incorporating the value-add capabilities of the AWS Marketplace.

What successes have you seen with Marketplace?

The success we’ve seen thus far with the Marketplace is genuinely global. The ability to transact with customers anywhere was crucial to us as a company. Recently, we closed a significant deal with a large European company. This proved that deals could be done no matter how massive or small, wherever the customer is located in the world.

What is a fun fact about you?

I speak three languages and have two adult boys. In my spare time, I enjoy boating, entertaining, and gardening. I love hockey and football, so naturally, I am a die-hard Kraken and Seahawks fan!

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