How to Arm Your Sales Team to Talk to Prospects About Marketplace

Nicole Wojno Smith on Apr 22, 2020

Enabling your sales team to talk about Cloud Marketplaces to prospects can seem like a big undertaking. We outline the three steps to take to start building your new Marketplace sales motion early on in the buying cycle.

While more buyers are embracing Cloud Marketplaces with open arms, these sales channels are still in their early development. Your sales team has spent countless hours perfecting their sales processes, so having them ask a prospect to purchase your SaaS product via Marketplace might feel like a curveball.

It’s understandable if your team is reluctant at first to talk to prospects about Cloud Marketplaces. Selling via the Marketplace can be a major home run, though. Deals happen faster, and there’s more expansion opportunity just waiting to be captured. All your sales team needs are a few hits under their belts, and they’ll be hooked.

Here’s what your sales team needs to know to start talking to prospects about Cloud Marketplaces early on in the buying cycle.

Keep your leading questions general

Your sales team, no doubt, has lots of questions they need to ask in the discovery phase to qualify a potential account, and it can seem daunting to add more questions to the repertoire. That’s why we recommend adding two basic questions to determine if this is a potential deal that can be done through Marketplace:

Does your company have a strategic relationship with one of the major Cloud Providers? Figure out if they have a relationship with AWS Marketplace, Microsoft Azure Marketplace, or Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. If they have a relationship with a Cloud Provider where your software is listed, that’s a green light to continue the Marketplace discussion. It’s also worth noting that your contact might not yet know much/anything about buying via the Marketplace, and that’s ok!

Who owns the Cloud relationship? Identifying key decision-makers is always essential, but stakeholders in a Marketplace deal may be different. For example, does the CIO, IT infrastructure team, or sourcing department act as the liaison between the prospect’s company and their Cloud Provider? These are the people that your contact will need to talk to about Cloud budget and commitments. While your buyer might not have experience purchasing through Marketplace yet, chances are, someone else in the organization has.

Partner with Cloud Providers

Your sales team has an ally on the outside—Cloud Provider reps. Each Marketplace lets you register your opportunities, which can be cross-referenced with the Cloud Provider’s field sales team. There are two main benefits to working alongside these reps:

Gather customer intelligence to fuel conversations. Cloud Providers who have an established relationship with your prospect have information about their company, usage, needs, and decision-makers. All of this is useful for adding context to your discussions to help expedite the sales process.

Leverage the Cloud relationship and co-sell opportunities. Not only can Cloud Providers give you customer intel, but they can also act as a partner. You and the Provider rep both have a vested interest in getting these deals done, so learning to navigate these programs and relationships can be a game-changer.

Plus, you can leverage Marketplace incentives, such as Enterprise Discount Programs (EDPs), Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs), or various Partner/Reseller-centric programs for larger deals.

Explore the different ways to do Marketplace deals

If your sales team wants a quicker win, then try focusing their Marketplace efforts on customer renewals. In these scenarios, you move an existing customer who’s up for renewal over to the Marketplace. There are a few reasons why this may have a higher success rate than an entirely new account:

Customers may not have budgeted for necessary expansion, but they have Cloud budgets. Have you ever come across a customer who hasn’t planned for necessary growth? Perhaps they weren’t sure how many of their year one licenses they would burn through, and when it comes to year two, they aren’t sure what expansion looks like, and haven’t received approval to add licenses.

Outside of the Marketplaces, this would be a frustrating conundrum. However, incentives from Cloud Providers make upsells more viable. Each Cloud Provider handles commitment burn down for purchases made through their Marketplaces a little differently, but they all treat these purchases as a way to fulfill your buyer’s spend commitments.

Multi-year deals become possible with greater access to budget. Another scenario where Cloud Provider budget commitments can benefit your sales team is multi-year deals. Similar to the incentives mentioned above, excess in an already-committed budget could mean your customer can extend their contract upfront. Even without incentives, your customer can leverage the existing Cloud budget to pay for an expansion or extension.

It’s understandable if any change to your sales team’s workflow causes confusion or apprehension, but your team can learn as they go (and grow). Starting broad conversations early and leveraging the established Cloud Provider relationship, your company can begin building your new Marketplace sales motion. Plus, starting the transition with renewal accounts is a more natural way to test the waters.

Want to help your sales team even more? Get them excited about leveraging this new sales channel with this guide to why buyers are flocking to Cloud Marketplaces.

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