How to Scale Your Cloud Marketplace Revenue

Taking The Next Step in The Cloud Partner Relationship

Tackle recently completed a three-part webinar series examining the keys to success for sellers at different stages of their Cloud Marketplace maturity. In the second installment, experts discussed roles, processes, and other considerations for sellers in stage two of their progression: scaling revenue and operations through Cloud Marketplace. 

Participants included: 

  • John Jahnke, CEO, Tackle
  • Joe Osborne, Director of Sales, Tackle
  • Aldo Dossola, AVP, Worldwide Cloud Sales & GTM at HashiCorp
  • Will Hornkohl, VP of Alliances at Nasuni
  • Shelly Landsmann, VP of International Sales & Global Alliances at Sisense 


Co-selling with the Cloud Providers

“We closed one of the largest transactions in our company’s history through Marketplace, and it required very close co-selling with our partners.” —Will Hornkohl, Nasuni

Buyers and sellers aren’t the only ones to benefit from Cloud Marketplace transactions. Cloud Providers have a vested interest in brokering more and larger deals. If you haven’t already at this point, initiating a co-selling with your Cloud Provider(s) is a critical step to kickstarting a flywheel of opportunities.

“Nasuni has been co-selling with Azure and AWS for several years,” Will said. “We assumed our role as a co-sell partner, which entails doing the heavy lifting to execute deals and keep customers happy. This brings new workload into the cloud, which drives more consumption for the Cloud Provider.” 

Co-sell programs reward and incentivize active Marketplace sellers with access to exclusive resources, tools, leads, and opportunities. “We ask the Cloud Providers to endorse our solution so we get the benefit of exposure and their brand recognition, and we do the rest,” Will said. “We have teams dedicated to these relationships that know the languages of the different Marketplaces. Their job is bringing the sellers together, having constructive conversations, and then executing.”

Sellers can also piggyback onto Marketplace incentives that Cloud Providers offer their customers, including Enterprise Discount Programs (EDPs), Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs), and Partner/Reseller-centric programs designed for larger deals.

“We closed one of the largest transactions in our company’s history through Marketplace, and it required very close co-selling with our partners,” Will said. “As the deal began to expand and become a multi-year picture, the customer realized this would be a strong opportunity to help reach their multi-year spend commit they had in place with the Cloud Provider as well.” 


SaaS Pricing and Packaging for Cloud Marketplace

With the benefit of hindsight, sellers may reevaluate their pricing and packaging to scale revenue for Marketplace. For instance, sellers offering public sales listings may consider building in follow-up prompts to ensure customers ordered the correct SKU (and start relationships that could generate future sales). Sellers can also attract more organic interest for their public listings by creating no-risk freemium, trial-based, or pay-as-you-go options. 

Private Offers & Private Plans are the most successful avenue for closing deals, growing revenue, and building relationships on Marketplace, as sellers can customize terms and conditions and more easily tap into the buyer’s committed cloud spend. It can take some time to find the best way to integrate Private Offers into your sales process, but it’s well worth the effort. 

Whether refining public or private deals, history provides the best guidance. Reviewing past sales tells a story of customer demand that reveals trends and opportunities for bundling features and add-ons. 

As for product and service packaging, best practices advise sellers to mirror their direct sales process as much as possible for initial deals, expansions, and renewals. This is especially important when you’re just getting started with Marketplace, to keep the barrier to entry low for your sales team, but it’s helpful to limit process sprawl as you scale. 


Engaging Sales Teams for Marketplace Success

“We believe online Marketplaces will be one of the biggest opportunities and disruptors to selling software.” —Shelly Landsmann, Sisense

After a year or so, sales teams should be able to see Marketplaces’ value and their potential to help close more deals faster. Increasing their understanding of its processes, language, and concepts is crucial for continued growth. 

“In one quarter, we had 32 different sales representatives transact on Marketplaces,” Aldo said. “It was great to see more people realizing how easy it is and how they can compress deals that [previously] would have taken weeks into just a couple of days.” 

Savvy sales teams quickly learn how to sell customers on the benefits of Marketplace transactions. They build customers’ Marketplace incentives into their sales pitches and convey value to Alliance sellers, including quota credit for customers going through Marketplace. 

Check out this article on How to Arm Your Sales Team to Talk to Prospects About Marketplace. 

Cloud Providers may offer scientifically formulated sales support via propensity to buy analyses. “Cloud Providers will use algorithms to determine if a customer’s likelihood to buy on Marketplaces is high or low based on factors like the size of their spending commitments, EDP agreements, and how much they transact on the Marketplace,” Aldo said.  

Sellers looking to scale revenue on Marketplace should lean in to activate these programs. And consider how they reward and incentivize sales on the channel. “We believe online Marketplaces will be one of the biggest opportunities and disruptors to selling software and we encourage people to compensate and incent their sales teams to push some customers to an easier self-service model in order to lower sales cycle times and friction with procurement,” Shelly said.

Aldo offered a word of caution. “Compensation is a big incentive, and you need to make sure compensation neutrality is a thing so sales representatives aren’t dinged on the backend for Marketplace listing fees.” 


Branching Out: Going Multi-Marketplace

One logical route for sellers seeking to scale growth and revenue is to expand their Marketplace presence. Software sellers typically begin the Marketplace journey on one of the big three hyperscalers—AWS, Azure, or GCP. Each one has its own terminology, requirements, and way of working, so it’s not a matter of simple replication. Prioritization is key. 

Even if you feel that you have a meaningful business relationship with all three of the major Cloud Marketplaces, start with one, invest in that, and then grow with the next one. This way, you can fully invest the time and effort to build a great relationship (and the knowledge) with one before you’re juggling multiple at a time.

Catch this entire webinar in its full series, Cloud Marketplace for Revenue Leaders, on-demand here. You can also check out our complete Cloud Marketplace Playbook for all the strategies and advice you need to succeed at each stage of Marketplace maturity from leaders like Aldo, Shelly, Will, and more.

To see how Tackle can help you get listed and scale your Cloud Marketplace revenue, schedule a demo