When you think of reaching customers through AWS, Google, or Microsoft, you probably first think about creating a listing on one of the hyperscalers’ Cloud Marketplaces to try to tap into that potential. And to be sure, there’s certainly validity to that: we’ve seen enormous growth in Cloud Marketplace buyers over the last few years. In 2022, we saw the number of new Marketplace buyers increase 200%.
Yet the key to scaling revenue through Cloud Marketplaces goes beyond creating a listing. Although Cloud Marketplaces — and your listing — are an essential part of the revenue puzzle, they’re actually pieces of a larger Cloud go-to-market strategy, which is a strategy for leveraging the Cloud Provider ecosystems to drive revenue.
Read more: What Is Cloud Go-to-Market?
We often illustrate the concept of Cloud GTM with a flywheel:
The flywheel depicts the process of how Cloud GTM works — by selling to and with the Cloud Providers for faster and larger transactions through their Cloud Marketplaces. And the mechanism to make it happen is through technology that connects people, processes, and workflows.
What we’ve found is that Tackle customers who have seen the most success with Cloud GTM have product positioning that complements the Cloud Provider, a well-established co-sell discipline, and transactable listings on the Cloud Marketplaces where their customers have an incentive to buy. But how does that look when applied in practice, and how do each of these areas fit into the day-to-day workflow of a SaaS company?
Fortunately, there’s a good example of the flywheel in action: Tackle’s Cloud GTM strategy.
How Tackle thinks about Cloud GTM
“There’s no story better than the Tackle story,” said Jeramee Waldum, Tackle’s VP of Sales.
Our teams — from revenue to alliances and operations — all use the Tackle Platform to drive our own Cloud GTM strategy. “It’s pretty cool to see that we genuinely drink our own champagne,” said Jeramee.
And since most ISVs probably follow an evolutionary path similar to Tackle’s, it might be instructive to break down Tackle’s own approach to Cloud GTM and how the flywheel works for us.
At the outset, Jeramee notes that many ISVs tend to approach the flywheel and Cloud GTM by isolating certain sections of it — most likely co-selling — and focusing on that one element. “They view the Marketplace as a series of check-boxes on the way to co-sell,” he says. “They’re trying to get leads, and are looking for the Cloud Providers to bring them those leads.”
Although co-selling is a critical component to Cloud GTM (more on that below) and there’s certainly nothing wrong with “entering the flywheel” at that point, that approach ignores the bigger picture.
The flywheel, and Tackle’s approach to Cloud GTM, is all about understanding that each piece of the flywheel flows into the next, and keeping data flowing between those segments ensures agility and operational efficiency. It marks the difference between simply “having a listing on Marketplace” versus a successful Cloud GTM strategy that drives meaningful revenue.
That’s Tackle’s approach to the flywheel, and it begins (and ends) with data.
Leverage data to identify the right buyers
Tackle’s State of Cloud Marketplaces Report notes that data is the missing link for both Marketplace and co-sell success. Data is the essential ingredient that keeps the Cloud GTM flywheel spinning. In particular, the report indicated that sellers need to understand which accounts in their pipeline are most likely to buy through the Cloud Providers so they can build momentum focused on these best-fit accounts.
Tackle Prospect provides sales reps with critical intel on which cloud each opportunity has the most affinity for and the best path to closed-won. These insights mean that sellers can identify the right deals for Marketplace and co-sell, run highly targeted campaigns, and, ultimately, drive revenue from high-value accounts. For companies just launching Cloud GTM, it gives them the ability to know where to focus.
Read More: Leveraging Tackle Prospect to Identify the Right Buyers
Leveraging cloud buyer intent data from Tackle Prospect — as well as buyer intent data from tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, 6sense, and G2 — helps Tackle understand how to more precisely craft sales conversations that will have real impact. “We identify who our ideal customer is,” said Jeramee. “And as part of that, we leverage the Prospect data as a metric to determine whether someone would prefer to procure through the Marketplace — and that’s a great customer for us. We have all the data right there in Salesforce and in everybody’s target accounts, so they know which ones to go lean into and which Cloud Provider to leverage.”
“The flywheel starts with data,” said Tyler Harless, Tackle Sr. Emerging Account Executive. “We use our own data to not only validate the opportunity, but make decisions on how to act on what we know about our buyers.”
Read More: Tackle on Tackle: How a Data-Driven Sales Strategy Boosts Efficiency
Telling that story is only possible when sales reps are armed with data, and it becomes particularly important for co-selling (more on that below). “Are you sending over quality deal registrations for co-selling?” said Tyler. “How many of your deal registrations are actually being accepted, or are they being denied? Why is that the case? Well, data helps you get to the bottom of that.”
Tackle’s deal registration acceptance rate with the Cloud Providers — and the registration rate for any ISV working with the hyperscalers — has a direct correlation with a company’s brand within the cloud ecosystem. In other words, a company that has a proven and successful deal registration rate will be more likely to garner favorable attention (and possibly more deals) through and with the Cloud Providers — and harnessing data is the direct path to making that happen.
“How you enable co-sell starts with the data, it informs how we handle renewals and deal registrations, how Tackle co-sells with the cloud, how our sellers work with cloud reps,” said Tyler. “The data unlocks all that for us.”
Data underpins every sales motion at Tackle and helps us keep the flywheel turning. “How we evaluate customers and how we do our account research is evolving to include even more data, just as it is for our customers,” said Tyler.
Grow relationships through co-sell
Traditionally, co-sell has been a very “human-to-human” type of interaction—and in many ways, it still is. Those human relationships are a necessary piece of the puzzle. But the overarching message is this: “Co-sell is at the heart of the flywheel,” said Jeramee. “At the end of the day, every company wants to get to those top-of-funnel opportunities.”
By its very nature, co-sell is based on building relationships with a variety of personas and roles at the Cloud Providers. Tackle’s sales team relies on Tackle Co-Sell to help them build those relationships with cloud reps. “When you think of the end result of Cloud GTM being more transactions and more dollars flowing through Marketplace, how do those dollars actually end up filtering there? Through co-selling, which is the connection of a seller at an ISV, and someone with the Cloud Provider who has the ability to somehow impact or influence that deal,” said David Striker, Tackle’s Cloud GTM Sales Manager.
“When you have a co-selling interaction, it’s really important to measure and track those interactions, because what we find is that those relationships have the ability to impact those deals, those specific opportunities, and it tells you who to work with from that Cloud Provider and how to work with that Cloud Provider to ensure success,” said David.
“This is really important to our business, because it shows that all the strategic partnerships that we’re building with the Cloud Providers are paying off through driving our pipeline and helping us discover new opportunities, tap into new markets, or break into new accounts. It shows that we’re able to build a really strong reputation within the Cloud Partner,” said Vathsalya Senapathi, Tackle Cloud GTM Sales Specialist.
What’s more, developing those meaningful relationships with Cloud Providers is only possible if an ISV has a well-developed “better together” story. Coupled with automation and data, a strong brand message built around what your product can do to both drive consumption for the Cloud Provider and solve problems for the customer. “You have to have the right message when you get in front of the Cloud Providers,” said David. “Our co-selling motion and our Cloud GTM Platform work together to help us do the right things in that interaction about telling our story. You have to do it consistently, that is the art of co-selling,” said David.
For the automation side of the equation, Tackle’s Salesforce integration is key to helping David and his team focus their energies where they matter most. “Traditionally, there has been operational strain in getting all of the required information into the Cloud Providers’ co-sell portals, along with the updating of the opportunity as it progresses through the cycle,” he said. “Our Salesforce co-sell app helps with the logistics of moving information from one system of truth to another system of truth — instead, everything we need is in one system. That means our sales people are spending less time moving information from one portal to another and managing the logistics, and they have more time to be strategic to think about how these crucial co-sell conversations should happen.”
Read More: The Alliance Leader’s Cloud Co-sell Playbook
Further, making better decisions around co-selling is only possible with data, which improves with each transaction. That kind of consistent co-sell motion keeps the flywheel spinning, and in turn, helps to deepen critical relationships with Cloud Providers.
“The Tackle Platform helps us track all of our co-sell activity, to have the visibility we need into the sales cycle from a partner focus, which allows us to intentionally drive momentum behind the co-sell motion,” said Vathsalya. “The operational efficiencies are one thing, but the visibility of certain data helps us easily track what behaviors are going to drive strategic uplift with the Cloud Providers. Because we’ve been doing this behavior consistently, and we’ve been building on it, repeating it over and over again to drive the co-sell engine, we have strong relationships with Cloud Providers.”
These strong relationships mean that the Cloud Providers are more likely to assist Tackle with co-sell efforts and inbound leads.
“Marketplace and co-sell are so tightly wound together now,” said Jeramee. “They used to be very separate, but now you almost can’t co-sell without Marketplace, and you’re seeing that push with the hyperscalers. As those two continue to get more intertwined, that is really where the flywheel comes into play — you don’t want those to be separate teams internally with separate processes or separate systems, since they are so tightly coupled.”
“When we look at the co-sell motion as a way to strengthen the partnership that we have with the Cloud Provider, our pipeline is going to be healthier because of those relationships because of the impact that we’re able to leverage,” said Vathsalya. “As we look at our strategic partnership with the Cloud Partner, by co-selling we’re lighting up their dashboards, and it helps them see us as a valuable partner. We’re not only building our own reputation with the Cloud Provider, but across the market.”
Accelerate deals and grow revenue through Marketplace
Naturally, it’s difficult to grow Marketplace revenue and scale Cloud GTM without closing deals.
At this stage, it’s critical to accelerate Marketplace deals to completion, resulting in quicker closes and shortened timelines. That frees up the sales team to close more deals, more efficiently, even around multiple sales motions such as renewals or expansions, without spinning their wheels on trying to get deals over the finish line.
For Tackle RevOps Specialist Kelsey Smith, the process begins in Tackle Offers where she receives an alert that a deal is ready to move to the final stage: the private offer. “Right from the opportunity in Salesforce, I can create an offer through Tackle Offers, and then it will guide me through that process based on what’s populated in the opportunity, including the SKU and the pricing,” she said. “From there it becomes ‘draft status’ and I review it. If everything looks good, there’s not much I have to do manually.”
When it comes to Cloud GTM, efficiency is the name of the game, and Kelsey credits Tackle’s Salesforce integration with streamlining the workflows and keeping Tackle’s Marketplace deals on track. “With the Salesforce integration, I’m in one system and all the information is getting pulled in. In the past, I’ve had to create offers in the Marketplaces themselves, and that’s just so much harder. The Salesforce integration has shaved off crazy amounts of time and in creating private offers. It only takes me one or two minutes to create an offer in Salesforce, whereas creating one directly through the Marketplace would take 10 minutes or so. Multiply that by five or 10 private offers a day, and that saves a big chunk of time.”
Learn more: Webinar: Leveling up Your Cloud GTM for Strategic Growth
For companies wrestling with multiple deals every day, creating and tracking numerous offers can quickly morph into an unmanageable complication. Having a system in place to create, track, and book deals allows Tackle to not only operate more efficiently, but also make sure nothing falls through the cracks — and risk losing a deal. “Without some system in place, it’s hard to track and book deals, right?” said Kelsey. “Trying to manually create these offers in multiple Marketplaces, send them out, track them without Tackle Offers would be so messy.”
Invest in Cloud GTM
More companies today are investing in Cloud GTM and the strategies that make it possible. According to Tackle’s State of Cloud Marketplaces Report, 83% of organizations are investing more in their Cloud go-to-market strategy in 2023.
As cloud-driven revenue grows, the investment in keeping the flywheel spinning grows. Cloud GTM is a channel just like any other that necessitates an intelligent blend of technology, strategy, and people. “A lot of companies aren’t using data to drive Marketplace,” said Jeramee. “They’re still viewing it as a procurement vehicle. Maybe they’ve hired some people to manage their co-sell opportunities, so they’re kind of doing that themselves, manually registering everything. There’s a much better way to do that.”
Read More: Infographic: The Dawn of a New Go-to-Market Age
Knowing who to sell to and sell with helps sellers adopt Cloud GTM and leads to faster and larger transactions via the Cloud Marketplaces — and generating the momentum required for a successful Cloud GTM begins and ends with leveraging the right technology to make it happen. “Like anything else in your tech stack in today’s day and age, you try to do everything with one vendor, and the same applies to Cloud GTM,” said Jeramee. “You wouldn’t want to approach any route-to-market in a piecemeal fashion.”
A crucial part of scaling Cloud GTM and keeping the flywheel in motion requires the proper alignment of people, processes, and technology — which is the purview of Tackle’s Strategic Services.
A successful Cloud GTM strategy requires a careful balance of best practices, efficient workflows, and co-sell discipline. At Tackle, the strategic services team keeps our own Cloud GTM flywheel spinning. “Our team really helps our Tackle co-sell business, because we are delivering our co-sell managed service internally, just like we would with a customer,” said Seth Kahn, Senior Director of Strategic Services. “We’re right there with the co-sell team helping them build that motion.”
That means the managed services pros work hand in hand with Tackle’s co-sell team to effectively manage co-sell opportunities throughout the sales cycle, streamline workflows, and cultivate Tackle’s relationship with the Cloud Providers to accurately tell our “better together” story. This partnership is the “rocket fuel” that helps Tackle efficiently scale a Cloud GTM strategy that keeps the flywheel in motion. Strategic Services helps to keep the trains running on time, and that means the co-sell team can concentrate on what they do best co-selling.
The upshot of this is that with the guidance and support of Strategic Services, Tackle can ensure that all of the pieces of the flywheel work together properly.
Crawl, walk, run
Adopting a Cloud GTM strategy isn’t “one-size-fits-all,” but investing in it early and learning how to make it work for your organization can pay off in the long run. “Every ISV is at a different place on their Cloud GTM journey,” said Jeramee. “In fact, one of the first things that we do with every new prospect is a readiness review where we really map out where they’re at on the journey. Do they have a cloud and alliances owner? Do they have somebody who is going to own this initiative? If not, that’s okay. A lot of companies actually start with co-sell, or start with the data they need to get a better picture of who and where their customers are.”
Tyler acknowledges that, for some companies, the concept of Cloud GTM can be daunting at first, but the “crawl, walk, run” approach helps. “Yes, it can be overwhelming to look at this entire Cloud go-to-market system, but it’s OK to take a phased approach. Identify the right accounts. Get to that first transaction. Now scale this. You are going to see success. You are going to want to add fuel to this fire. And how do you do that? By digging into co-sell, by taking advantage of automation through our Salesforce apps, by creating consistency in the process, and driving quality deal registrations.”
After all, that’s exactly what Tackle does.
Take our three-minute Cloud Go-to-Market Readiness Review to see where your business is on its Cloud GTM journey.