WEBINAR

How to Leverage GCP Marketplace as a GTM Strategy & Drive Revenue

Nicole:

Recording this. All right, perfect. Well, hi everyone. Happy Thursday, and welcome to Tackles Webinar. The topic is how to leverage GCP Marketplace as a go-to market strategy to drive revenue. I’m Nicole Smith. I’m the VP of marketing at Tackle. You’ve probably gotten a few emails from me, so my name might be familiar and you’ll get more because we’ll be sharing the recording with everyone after the webinar.

Nicole:

If you’re not super familiar with Tackle where software company and we help our customers generate revenue through the cloud marketplace [inaudible 00:00:31]like this. And our platform eliminates all the engineering work that’s required to integrate with the marketplaces and we help you then drive revenue through the major cloud marketplaces.

Nicole:

So today we’re going to focus on how to build a go-to market strategy in your organization and a new channel for revenue on GCP Marketplace. And to help us with the discussion, we have some panelists here from Looker, and Google and also Tackle. And we’re going to be learning about Looker’s journey to GCP Marketplace, the benefits of marketplace to sellers, and advice for companies looking to get started there, and then how you can align your organization around marketplace as a channel.

Nicole:

We have some quick slides just to do interest to start the discussion, and then no more slides from us, we promise. Let me just do some intros to the panelists. First off, we have Don Addington, he’s our CRO at Tackle. Don has 20 years in software sales experience, and before Tackle, he led the sales team that was responsible for digital transformation at Pivotal and as a CRO, he leads the sales and customer joint team, so welcomes Don.

Don:

Hello, thank you.

Nicole:

Do you want to talk a little bit more about Tackle and kind of our go-to-market strategy?

Don:

Yeah, sure. And we could not get off this slide fast enough so, I’ll try to go fast. So tackle, we are ourselves, a software company. I think we bring a unique perspective to the conversation today because we work with companies like Looker as customers to help them get into the marketplaces fast and then start transacting and driving real revenue.

Don:

But we also use the marketplaces ourselves. So we sell through GCP, you can go buy a subscription to Tackle through GCP’s Marketplace. We’ve had to build our go-to market around selling through marketplaces. So 95% of the deals we do at Tackle happened through one of the three major marketplaces. We’ve got a lot of collective knowledge about operating a business that is heavily reliant upon these ecosystems, which are really, really valuable, but also pretty complex if you’re just getting into it, trying to figure out kind of how to really turn the wheel and make money here.

Don:

So what Tackle does is, and I think Nicole, you outlined it pretty well, first and foremost we have a platform that makes that integration with the marketplaces a zero engineering effort. And then the other pieces and parts of what we do is just make the marketplace process a lot easier from develop or delivering private offers to customers, to reporting on your business once you’ve actually scaled out and started generating business our platform handles kind of the life cycle of your business. And then the people that support that platform at Tackle are all experts in marketplace.

Don:

So whether it’s helping to enable you from a sales ops perspective or whether my team is working with our customers on how to sell, how to leverage marketplace, things like that, we’re here to really support and make sure that our customers are driving revenue. So that’s kind of quick nutshell of what we do.

Nicole:

Awesome, thanks Don. Next we have Nouras Haddad and he’s the Global go-to-market integration leader at Looker, and he’s been managing the go-to market and to Google Cloud post-acquisition there. And before that he managed the technology alliances team at Looker, and he was responsible for their strategic relationships with more than a hundred tech partners, including AWS, Azure, GCP and Snowflake, and Nouras is originally from Croatia and he’s actually there right now. So he’s coming to us from another country today. So we appreciate him joining us. Welcome, Nouras.

Nouras:

Thank you. Thanks for having me here. Good to be here.

Nicole:

Do you want to tell us a little bit more about Looker just to set the stage and how long you’ve been on GCP Marketplace?

Nouras:

Yeah, happy to, Looker is a data analytics platform that sits on top of database and it’s basically kind of a front, the last mile to the business, charts, reports, dashboards, API on data we’re kind of one new BI vendors in the space that work really well with cloud data warehouses. And so we work really closely with cloud vendors, AWS, GCP, Azure. And we were recently acquired by GCP, that transaction closed in March of this year. And we are a customer of Tackles, we use them for both our AWS marketplace listing and our Google Cloud marketplace listing. So happy to [inaudible 00:05:17] my experience today. So we’ve had the AWS listing for just over a year now, and the Google Cloud listing went live around Christmas of last year, so about six months.

Nicole:

Great, looking forward to hearing your story today and your journey to marketplace. And our next panelist is James Sather. And James is the business development manager at GCP marketplace, and his role is all about helping ISV to navigate the GCP Marketplace listing process and developing go-to market strategies with them. Before he joined GCP, he was at Oracle selling cloud software and also managing a team there. And James lives in LA now, but he is originally from Wisconsin and a diehard Green Bay Packers fan. Welcome, James. Thanks for being here with us.

James Sather:

Thank you. I can’t be from Wisconsin and not mention my fandom of the Packers, it’s not an ability that I have. So thanks for having me, it’s good to be here.

Nicole:

I feel like that’s a common theme among people from Wisconsin.

James Sather:

Yes, that and cheese as well. That’s what they do.

Nicole:

Do you want to talk a little bit more like about GCP marketplaces, maybe how long it’s been around any facts around the number of ISV selling there? Just anything you might want to share there?

James Sather:

Yeah, I’d say our marketplace has been around for about four or five years now. Really over the last three years, I’d say we’ve put a concentrated effort as an organization to really make this a channel that ISV can get excited about participating in and selling with.

James Sather:

We’ve rolled out some great incentive programs, which we’ll we’ll touch on later that have made it both an attractive channel for our customers to come and purchase as well as our ISV partners to really drive revenue in close to meaningful business. So as far as active numbers of sellers, we have hundreds of sellers today. I don’t know the exact number off the top of my head, but it’s growing at a great clip and we’re excited to continue to develop this platform and meet our customers wherever they are.

Nicole:

Awesome, all right. Well with that, I promise no more slides, so we can jump into the real discussion here. And I think it might be good to really kick it off with you Nouras and finding out what really drew Looker to the marketplace and maybe there also how do you talk about the process of getting listed?

Nouras:

Yeah, happy to, well, so in leading alliances at Looker one of our major strategies of building a business is the channel. At Looker, we kind of aim that anywhere from 15%-25% of Looker’s new business being generated by partners, whether they are technology partners like Google Cloud or consulting partners. And when you think about how you’re going to do that you have kind of a couple options the way we define partner-generated revenue. It was either going to come from marketing campaigns so you do a joint campaign with Google Cloud and generate leads that way. Or you do some co-selling you kind of get really close with certain Google Cloud sales teams, or AWS sales teams, and they understand your value prop and you go selling together. And those are both really valuable.

Nouras:

Or the third is, that kind of emerged in the last couple of years is the marketplace because that is where all third-party vendors that are building on that platform can showcase their solution. And what’s crucial is that the cloud sellers are compensated on selling through those marketplaces.

Nouras:

So while it can be kind of tough, I think for a lot of the independent software vendors out there to get mind share with an AWS rep or a Google Cloud rep or an Azure rep because there’s hundreds of solutions, a cloud seller sells probably… Google probably sells like 70 Google Cloud service and then they’re supposed to know about the ecosystem that comes around each of those, it’s impossible.

Nouras:

So the way you can really kind of break the ice and get closer to them is, and for us has been kind of building on the marketplace because in the case of Google Cloud, they get 100% of payment. If they sell Looker through the marketplace, they get paid on a 100% of that local contract. So it’s an immediate value proposition. The percentages vary across clouds, but at all clouds sales reps are incentivized. So it’s a quick and easy way to get co-selling going.

Nouras:

That was our, I think, impetus to go build on the marketplace. You also get closer to the cloud platforms. That way you can then build joint solutions. You can build all kinds of QuickStarts because you had a product that is kind of available from usually one click or something to deploy from the marketplace. So it just opened up a lot of new possibilities for marketing, a lot of new types of solutions we can build.

Nouras:

And so, we kind of took a piecemeal approach at it, to be honest, I don’t think if we were to do it all over again, we’d probably go straight to the SAS type listing that we have now. We started off with a VM type listing, which didn’t particularly work well for Looker’s product, it’s meant for different types of products. So we started with those, and then we pivoted to these SAS lists things for both Google and AWS last year, and that’s where we both it engaged Tackle for both of those as well.

Nouras:

So timeline-wise, it probably took us, I would say six to eight weeks maybe in total to launch. So I mean, it’s a hectic six, eight weeks, there’s just a lot of back and forth in getting it done, but it’s actually a pretty fast process. So yeah, I’ll stop there.

Nicole:

Did you have to change anything on your end as you’re listing on marketplace of how you’re pricing your product or things like that as you’re considering marketplace listing fees or things like that? What was different about it as you were doing that?

Nouras:

Yeah, so that’s a good question. There are a number of things I think about, I think when you’re thinking through whether you should list and then how you should list, you want to make the marketplace like any other channel, if you can, you want to make it channel-neutral for your own sales teams. So most marketplaces, I think all of the marketplaces have a revenue share model. So they’ll take a cut of the revenue that you’re selling. So you want to factor that in because we did initially by raising the price on the marketplace so that we could… the net price that Looker would get after the rep share would be the same for all channels. And that way we could pay our reps the same.

Nouras:

It did mean to the marketplace price was higher, but we figured that customers that wanted to go that way. There was usually a benefit to them, so they would just do that. We wanted to avoid channel conflict at any cost. So, but otherwise, in terms of pricing, we could keep most of the things that we already had. Looker’s pricing is not the simplicity. Some companies just have an easy kind of consumption model or something, ours is not that simple.

Nouras:

We price annual contracts with a platform fee and different types of users on top. And then we discount these by different percentages all the time. It’s very custom when we do it. So it’s not easy to fit into a marketplace model. And I’m sure a lot of people out there will empathize with that they probably have some sort of a little bit convoluted pricing model like that. So you will probably have to streamline it a little bit or just give up certain things.

Nouras:

We went to the marketplace, we said for these transactions, we’re just going to have to discount across all these different skews by the same percentage. So we have three types of users. We’re going to have to apply the same percentage discount to all of them. And it takes some education on the sales team and some getting used to, but it’s not actually a huge problem that. Because, again, something I should have mentioned that, well, the main reasons why we kind of went into this is that it just unlocks new things that weren’t available to us as an independent vendor. So today we’re part of Google, but when we listed, we weren’t part of Google and we were an independent company and by listing on the marketplace, we got… All marketplace listings are a part of the cloud billing.

Nouras:

So, when somebody buys Looker on the Google Cloud Marketplace they are just adding Looker to their Google cloud bill. So it’s conolidated billing. They don’t have to add Looker as a vendor in their system, which has really helped us with a lot of enterprise customers, frankly, because you’re talking to some really big names out there, adding another vendor into the procurement cycle can sometimes take three to six months easily. And so, we could kind of skip that just by, “Hey, just by something off the marketplace, Google or AWS has already a vendor of yours, you are just adding another line item to that cloud bill.” So that was one reason that, that really helped us.

Nouras:

And then others were that you could take advantage of these credits that all the cloud platforms have. Customers will have credits with Google or with AWS or with Azure that they want to burn down and they can use it because they’ve already prepaid for them or they were given to them so they could just pay for third party software for those credits. So, again, removing friction from the customer to buy. And so, all those things kind of add up where they open new avenues for business.

Nouras:

And so, by streamlining our pricing a little bit, we found it to be a very good trade-off. And frankly, if a deal cannot fit those parameters, then we don’t sell to the marketplace but we can still sell direct hopefully, that’s how we think about it a little bit.

Don:

I mean, there’s a lot in there. I think we could actually double click on a number of things that you highlighted. I want to go back maybe a little bit to something that you said earlier on, and that’s really around trying to make this a comp neutral channel. And James, you’ve got visibility across a bunch of ISVs as well. Tackle does business with 160 plus ISVs that are selling across marketplaces. And one of the things that we see, that’s a really key thing to get right, when you’re launching your marketplace business is to focus on, “Okay, how are we going to comp our reps?” And making it a comp negative situation.

Don:

We’ve all built channels before, they don’t work when it’s, “Hey, this one costs me more than that one.” We know where the sales team’s going, they’re going to the one that costs the least. They want to make the most money retire the most quarter. So it’s something that we really strongly advise our customers on and that we see a direct correlation to faster success in the marketplace when you make that comp neutral.

Don:

James, how do most of your customers handle it? We probably see people that knew Nouras, who are talking about kind of raising the price to accommodate the kind of pay the marketplace tax. We try to steer people away from that because again, to the buyer, they are getting benefit out of it. But especially in the early days, we try to steer people away from it. Not everybody does. I’m interested in what kind of you see out of it, James.

James Sather:

Yeah, I mean, I think across the board ISVs handle it differently, to Nouras’ point, some folks kind of add almost a tax on top of it to even that rep share. Other companies, I see simply comping their reps based upon the commit value of the entire deal as opposed to what’s flowing through the marketplace immediately. I think that’s particularly useful, especially when it comes to renewals and some of the other benefits that marketplace provides, for instance, our enterprise customers today have the ability to burn down their GCP commit through marketplace solutions.

James Sather:

So a lot of ISVs are looking to move their active kind of subscriptions and renewals to the marketplace to take advantage of that benefit. And if reps aren’t being compensated the same way they would if it was a direct deal, they feel as though this deal is essentially being taken away from them. So a lot of times what we’ll do is educate these ISVs that we need to start looking at what is the customer committing to overall, as opposed to kind of accepting these pre-payments up front, compensating their reps that way. Because ultimately, I think we all want to do what’s best for both the customer and of course, our sales employees. So that’s one way that we’ve seen it handled. The tax also works. There’s a lot of creativity that we see within the marketplace.

James Sather:

And part of that relationship with Tackle, and even myself or my peers who are in the same role is having those conversations and kind of walking through those best practices with you. So as we get into this channel and before our first transaction even occurs, we’ve had these conversations and began getting those wheels in motion to make sure that we’re aligned so that this, to Nouras’ point, there’s no channel conflict there.

Don:

Yeah, so a couple of things to talk about there. Both the burndown aspect of marketplace and then co-sell, I think are two areas we can chat about it a little bit further. So the burndown, I think, is really interesting. And to have a frank conversation on the burndown front, as a software vendor, the more your software costs, the more likely you are to be impactful in a burndown situation. And so, large companies are signing big. “Hey, we’re going to commit to 100 million, $200 million of commit to GCP over the next three years.” They almost never, maybe never, have that dedicated penny and dime to, “We know what we’re spending that money on. It’s a commit. In exchange, you get a certain level of discount across all your GCP consumption,” and things like that.

Don:

But they’ve got to consume what they committed to consume or else you can’t get a discount for something that you didn’t actually hit the attainment on. So this burndown concept, I mean, where we’ve seen it for some really good situations is both on the front end, when a buyer is negotiating a contract with Google, for GCP commit. Taking into consideration, “Hey, we’re about to buy this Looker software for a million dollars or whatever the case may be, can we account for that in the commitment that works signing?” And then, “No, we’re going to burn that down.” So then we can commit to more and get more discount.

Don:

I think that’s a really important feature of the marketplace, is all of a sudden, being able to sort of take a look at what’s my software spend? And what’s available in the marketplace? And can I source more software through the marketplace and then commit some more? So I know, Nouras, you guys, the contract value can kind of go all over the map, but have you seen much in terms of the burndown benefit for your buyers? A lot of our customers have, and again, I think it’s still early days, so some haven’t, but interested in kind of what you’ve seen.

Nouras:

Yeah, I mean, commits are huge for us and I think in general, once a customer commits to a certain size consumption with Google, they really want to burn that down to your point because, A, if they don’t, I mean, they’re on the hook for it and they get discounts associated with them. So anything they’re buying, they want to put into it against that commit. And the nice thing is that you, as the third-party vendor become part of the equation then, they can buy all this third-party software from the marketplace and have it count against the overall commit to Google.

Nouras:

I believe you have to make sure it’s part of your commit. I think it may not be there by default. But certainly, many of the commits that I’ve seen out there apply to market, just purchases as well. For us it’s moved the needle on a number of deals. Honestly, it’s more than I would expect because if a customer’s getting 15% discount on their commit, there’s a dollar value associated with that commit, it’s 15% off of let’s say $10 million. The value to them of putting and making sure it gets to get their permit, it’s actually even more than the dollar value that you would think. So, it becomes even kind of emotional. They need to make sure it goes against the commit. So if you’re there, I’m saying, if you’re in the market place and your solution can draw down on their commit and your competitors can’t, that can make the difference on that deal, sometimes more than what you’re selling. Are you a better product or not? Which is just kind of crazy to me, but that’s-

James Sather:

Yeah, and to just clarify, because I did see one of the questions come through in the chat, it is 100% burned down. So it’s a dollar for dollar burndown. So it’s as if it’s a first party Google service that they’re using. So that does provide, to Nouras’ point, a lot of leverage in the deal cycle if you’re able to come in and say, “Hey, we can count towards their commitment to Google, not only that, we’re on your approved vendors list because it’ll be on Google paper and it’ll just all end up on one unified bill for you all.” So this starts to become a pretty compelling sales story, both on the business side, procurement as well as the tech piece because everything’s certified by Google Cloud.

Don:

Yeah, it’s one of those almost counterintuitive things where you’re like, “Wait, we’re going to count against their burndown isn’t that bad.” like, “No, they have to spend money.” So we talk about the two sides of it. On the front end when a customer is in negotiation, the advice that we give to sellers like the team at Looker is like, “Hey, once you start your marketplace selling journey, you’re going to start to ask different questions of your prospective buyers.” And the person you’re selling to might not be the person who handles the GCP relationship, they probably aren’t most of the time. But they’re going to know if there’s a strategic relationship there and letting your buyer know, “Hey, if you guys are in the process of negotiating GCP commit for the next year, if you’re going to do that sometime within the next six months, we should really think about accommodating for our software in that and maybe you can commit to more and get better discounts.”

Don:

That’s kind of the front end side of things, which is proactive. And then the reactive or defensive side of things is like, “Oh man, we haven’t spent how much we were supposed to spend, so what can we put on this bill?” So there’s kind of two different strategies that I think you can run there. And the early days of marketplace were kind of mostly the defensive strategy of let’s help people out of a jam. We’re starting to see more kind of offensive strategy. So on the co-sell front, I know Looker is doing a really good job co-selling with the GCP field, which is awesome, I think. Getting that co-sell motion, going and getting it down is super important.

Don:

Maybe James, you want to talk about how co-sell works with your fields specific to solutions around the marketplace and then Nouras maybe you can follow up with some of the things you guys have been doing to make sure that you’re not just asking the field for money, but you’re really interacting with them and educating them. Because I think this is a really underestimated… I think the rest of the world assumes that all these reps for every single market place are just inundated with providers who are like, “Sell my stuff, sell my stuff, sell my stuff, ” and it’s really not the experience that we’ve seen. So interested to kind of get to take off from you two.

James Sather:

Yeah, definitely. So from a policy perspective, so Google Cloud today, we compensate our sales reps on Third-Party Marketplace Solutions at a 100% of the total contract value that flows through marketplace. So when we’re talking about SAS solutions, that’s not underlying consumption, but rather they’re compensated for the licenses that we’re billing. So as you can imagine, sales reps who get to retire third-parties as if it’s just a first-party Google service, gets them pretty amped up and jazzed up to work with you all. So what we see a lot of times, and Nouras can probably talk from firsthand experience is kind of joint account mapping exercises that we’ll do, or oftentimes either the ISV or Google will have a strong relationship at this client and they’ll go in together and do, really, a joint co-sell motion in which the Google reps talk about their area of expertise, which is the underlying infrastructure of Google and the power that our cloud provides.

James Sather:

And the ISV can focus on actually selling their product. I mean, it’s a good balance there. That way, reps don’t need to feel like they need to completely learn a third-party product, but rather can bring them into the discussions together and execute, and everyone’s striving towards the same end conclusion. So if it transacts through marketplace, there’s no deal registration or anything like that. It automatically gets attributed on the backend to those sales reps. So they’re not even taking on additional work for themselves by bringing you into these discussions. It just becomes all about executing for the end customer and making the transaction as seamless as possible through the marketplace.

Nouras:

Yeah, and from our point of view at Looker, I mean we leaned heavily into co-selling from beginning and we looked for ways to differentiate Looker to the sales reps. Not just, “Hey, we’re a cool solution,” but we could show them data that Looker group cloud consumption, database consumption compared to other BI tools and that was kind of our thing that really got us going with the cloud vendors. But then when it came to marketplace, we had an additional. Not only did we grow your Google Cloud consumption, your BigQuery, or Redshift, or Snowflake consumption, we also help you retire quarter directly. Because if you sell a Looker through the marketplace, you introduced us into a deal, we will make sure we sell through the marketplace, then you get comp. That’s kind of our contract with you, cloud seller.

Nouras:

And as long as we do our work on the backend at Looker to make this comp neutral for everybody so that we can honor that agreement, so that sales reps will want to do that and there’s no reason not to, then this can really work well. And I’ve even seen companies that have, for example, a self service product where somebody can just kind of click and deploy a product. We don’t have that at Looker, but if we did, I would have pushed really hard to get the marketplace link kind of front and center and somebody who was downloading, or not downloading but is spinning up your product can do so from the marketplace so that when they buy, it, again, counts against the marketplace and you get… because if you can get deals going on a marketplace and get cloud sellers with retiring quarter, word gets around with it quickly.

Nouras:

And then you become the champion, you become the darling that is helping them retire quarter, you get onto their sales team calls to talk about how you’re doing it, you just all of a sudden get more of an audience. And it’s usually, in my experience, been a bottoms up initiative. There’s some partnerships you can break top down, but it’s hard with the giants like Google Cloud or AWS. It usually helps to go bottoms up and get certain pockets, certain sales managers, certain directors really excited and then kind of grow away from there. That’s been our strategy. And so, if you can, A, get your marketplace listing app, make it comp neutral, make it easy for your sales reps to do it and then wherever you’re doing demand gen, why not do the market list listing if you can? And that way, you really get in and you get traction with the cloud vendors, so.

Don:

Yeah, I mean, having that strong ground game, I think I said it a little bit earlier, this is not a VAR type relationship, it’s really a strategic relationship. And a lot of times, kind of creating your own billboards of success right and going back to a rep and be, “Hey, we sold this deal in this account. You got paid on it. Let us tell you a little bit more about why we won, what that was, what happened.” Taking real control of that and invariably, whenever we win a deal in any of the marketplaces at Tackle, we always go back to who are the different hands that were impacted when that deal sold?

Don:

So invariably there’s number of reps within the ecosystem that get some sort of benefit. Whether it’s direct compensation, whether they have a private offer quarter, whatever, we’re helping to impact some of what gets them paid at the end of the day. So kind of finding those people, letting them know, “Hey, we closed business and here’s what we do.” We get a lot of feedback of like, “Oh, that’s awesome. I’ve got 30 more customers, how would we approach them?” So that ground game of working bottoms up is really important. And then we find once you do have some success and you sort of broadcast that success throughout the organization, little win reports, little win wire, I mean, just making sure that people know, “Hey, this is selling, this is working, people are interested in it. We have happy customers and I’m getting paid.” That’s a really important part of the game here. So it’s good to hear you guys are doing all those things.

Nicole:

Who from Tackle, do you have involves kind of like in that ground game to help spread the word about the success?

Don:

Yeah, so we, we have much like Looker has, sort of an Alliance lead for each one of the marketplaces. And this role I think is really critical, what Nouras does and what your peers do. And it’s really knowing and understanding a really complex ecosystem, and how does it work, and how does it fit together? How does the partnership team fit together with the marketplace team, fit together with the field team? All of those things kind of weave together and they all have incentives that are tied to each other. And knowing how to talk to each one of those groups in a way that’s impactful to them is super important, so having somebody that really knows that environment.

Don:

But then can also turn around internally. Brian for us, Brian would say, “Hey guys, here’s what I found out about GCP this week.” We’re continuously getting information on how these environments are changing and how to work with them. So I think those Alliance managers who focus on understanding how the cloud providers work and then leveraging that both from a product and customer facing perspective, but also internally with your sellers. I think that’s a pretty common pattern.

Nouras:

And I want also to just add from a partnership strategy perspective, when you’re thinking about how do you get closer to a Google Cloud. Google Cloud is a very big place so it’s hard to cut through the noise. There’s a lot of partners trying to gain traction in. So if you’re not a big business right away, you’re not an SAP that you can just knock on the front door sometimes and just get attention right away. So you may not be a super significant part, you can’t contribute a 10% lift of their business in a year, you’re just not that size. So they’re going to devote a certain amount of resources but if you can… I’ve seen ISV devote entirely selling through the marketplace.

Nouras:

And even if you’re a small vendor, relatively speaking, but you’re selling exclusively through the marketplace, for example, you’re then significant to the marketplace team as a channel. And I’ve seen that play out really well for those vendors because you might be relatively small overall, but to the marketplace team which has its own BD, which has its own marketing, it has its own… So you can become a poster company for a division of that cloud. And then you get the lift that comes with that from them, promoting you as a case study. So that’s probably something to think about if you a good to market and the way are deployed as a solution lends itself really well to the marketplace, you might even consider making that you’re main go-to market.

James Sather:

Yeah, that’s a great point and that just kind of builds on top of just kind of the out of the box programs that we in benefits that we offer to our sellers, to begin with. I mean, we have an entire, I think it’s some 34-page slide deck of all the various benefits and programs that we offer from the ability to issue credits yourself to new customers, to issuing press releases, to even ad word campaigns and spend that Google kind of helps offset the cost of. So we give you all the tools necessary to be successful. And then you’re of course aligned with someone like myself or a BD rep in your time at the marketplace. And as Nouras mentioned, we’re always looking for new partners to write case studies on and guest blogs and things of that nature. So you can get that uplift of a larger ISV without necessarily having that same stature yet as your way in and you’re looking to grow. So, yeah, we like to make sure that all of our partners are successful as they can be and then give you the tools to do it.

Don:

Cool, I think maybe one other way that we see this. I think about kind of what drives success and maybe we touched on it a little bit but it might be interesting, Nouras to talk about this motion of selling through the marketplaces. You touched on self-service and I think that’s kind of like the Nirvana of marketplaces. We don’t need salespeople. Customers are going to go find us, discover us and buy us. The reality of software is rarely is it that easy, even in a SAS situation, there’s still generally some customization that happens, there’s integration that happens.

Don:

So that sort of point-click, easy deploy, it can happen, it does happen, but largely we find the customers that are really doing significant revenue through the channel aren’t necessarily doing massive volume, they’re doing pretty big deals. And so as a sales team, taking it upon yourself to understand this as a channel and understand marketplace and how to message it, is important. Because it’s not, especially early days, in our experience the business does not generally walk up and knock on your door. Sometimes it does and that’s really cool and it happens because people are like, “Oh, I’m up against it on my Google commit, I’ve got to [inaudible 00:38:09].” And you’re like, “Oh cool.”

Don:

But taking this into your own hands and just having some kind of messaging for buyers on, “Hey, we’re really flexible to procure, we can land on this on your GCP bill, what have you. What are some of the things that you all did with your sales team to make sure they understood the channel and then maybe James what do you see your customers doing, the ones that are doing the best, how are they getting their sales teams onboard?”

Nouras:

We treat the marketplace and when we started we treated the marketplace as a primarily a fulfillment mechanism. So it’s a vehicle through which we can easier fulfill new deals. Yeah, sure. If new deals come, just somebody shows up on the marketplace and purchases, we’ll spin up the service for them and get them started. But I mean, Looker, many of the other companies, we don’t sell for a $100. Our typical, the three prices we have listed on the marketplace like 60K and plus a year. So people usually it’s a more high consideration purchase. So they’ll want us evaluate, they’ll want to spin up a trial, maybe they’ll want to talk to someone before they buy it and that’s also how we sell.

Nouras:

So what we do is we treat the marketplace… we’ve had really good success with the marketplace, I’ll say that. And, but a 100% of the deals that we’ve done so far have been customers that our sales team has engaged with either through them being brought in by a Google Cloud rep or being sourced by the [inaudible 00:39:53] directly from a marketing campaign or something. And then that’s when we evaluate the options based of what the customer needs, is it the right play to do a direct through Looker or is it the right play to buy through the marketplace?

Nouras:

Because going back to your point on do they have a commit with Google? Do they have credits that they want to burn down? Do they want to simply do joint billing and not have to worry about adding Looker as a vendor. Especially if you’re trying to do an inter-quarter deal, for example. And it’s an inter-quarter deal;the customer started the evaluation a month ago and they’re ready to buy now but if they go through procurement, they’re just saying, forget about it being Q2, it’s going to be Q4. In that case, it can really move the needle for you. And that’s how we use it as a real accelerator for deals by taking advantage of all of those kind of programs and vehicles that Google Cloud has to enable the deals and then Looker becomes associated with those programs, like a commit or credits or just unified billing and the like.

Don:

James, I guess, yeah. So what are some of the things kind of you see common, best practices in terms of enablement and getting those sales teams fluent?

James Sather:

Yeah, I think it’s to Nouras’ this point, it’s kind of dependent on your products. We see marketplace utilizing in the two ways, the traditional kind of organic self-service if your solution isn’t necessarily a high consideration purchase or there isn’t a lot of complexity to your pricing. But the second way we see is, to Nouras’ point, a fulfillment channel. You’re doing maybe your proof of concepts outside of marketplace and almost treating it as a direct sales cycle. It’s just when it comes time to fulfill the order or you’re just doing so via marketplace so that both the ISV and then seller can tap into all those inherent benefits.

James Sather:

I think the ISVs that tend to do the best or are the ones who really don’t treat this channel as just an afterthought, they’re just trying to get that real estate and say kind of check that box. Yes, we’re on Google cloud now. I’ve met my OKR, I’m off. I’m going to go focus on other things. The ISV that do the best tend to align themselves with our programs and educate themselves. And part of my role is actually helping to do that.

James Sather:

I like to have kind of almost QBRs focused on the marketplace with my ISV partners so we can tap in and see, “Hey, what are you missing right now? Are you aware of this program that we just rolled out? Are you aware of the sales compensation piece? Are you aware of the commit going down? Are you aware that we function as merchant of record? Things that I may take for granted that all of my partners know but not everyone does.” So making sure that you’re spending time on educating yourself on everything that we have to offer and then aligning your sales team with that. And then kind of pushing that messaging down throughout the organization having kind of a Google Cloud champion, so that your sellers know that this is a possibility, know that that their comp will be the same as if they’re taking this a direct deal. All those things are really key components to making sure that’s a well-oiled and established channel.

Don:

Cool, yeah, I think you’re a couple of ideas or thoughts that you stirred and I know we’re probably starting to get to the line down phase here. But I think that Nouras, you mentioned it a couple of times, not having to get at it as a vendor. Being able to move faster in a sales cycle and even go from, if you’re kind of multistage land and expand type of deal, marketplace can be great to do sort of the smaller first deal fast. And bringing a deal for 60,000, for example, with somebody who’s got the budget to buy that and they don’t have to get sign off and you can just land on a GCP bill. That deal is going to go faster than if you had to go in the front door, get at it as a vendor, go through protracted negotiations around contracts.

Don:

We see those deals moving faster and then the second deal is typically larger and also moves faster because there’s also there’s precedent, you’re already doing business. So we see that faster first deal as a feature of marketplace. I think that kind of dovetails into sort of this idea of what are the KPIs you should be thinking about when you’re building a marketplace business and how do those KPIs change over time? And so year one, what should we be looking to drive, year two what should we be looking to drive, year three?

Don:

And some of the things that people don’t think about are faster deals maybe you’re not looking for customer acquisition as the main thing that you communicate to your executive team, you’re going to move in year one, that’s probably year two, year three. But a faster deal when you compare a marketplace deal versus a direct deal, you can show moving the needle on that or fewer hands touching that deal. So we’ve done a little bit of work on what that roadmap looks like. Nicole can share that with any of the participants. If you email her after this, we can share kind of a three-year KPI journey. But, maybe some closing thoughts around the KPI journey and where you see that evolving Nouras, and then also just kind of what anything you would share, lessons learned that you wish you knew before you got into it. Help those who come after you if there’s any of that.

Nouras:

Yeah, good question. I mean, on the KPIs, I think it depends on where you are with Google Cloud when you’re launching the marketplace listing; where’s your partnership overall. If you already have good prep [inaudible 00:45:48] co-selling with Google Cloud reps, you’re going to get a big bump up because now have a way to get… That was our situation. We already had good co-selling for someone, for an ISV, and we were getting a decent amount of kind of Google Cloud sourced opportunities for us. And then once we launched in the marketplace and they could retire quarter directly on Looker, obviously, grew significantly from there.

Nouras:

If you are new to partnering with Google Cloud, this can be your foot in the door. And to your point Don, maybe the customer acquisition becomes something that’s 12 months, 24 months in but your own deals get accelerated. You were able to close those deals, which you can then communicate back to Google Cloud executives as success stories. And so, you can get traction and kind of get that flywheel going. That’s what I would look at.

Nouras:

And then in terms of any kind of best practices or got yous or things that we wish we had done. I think it’s really important overall to just like any channel or any project you’re spinning up to make sure you have buy-in from your own sales leadership. That they understand why you’re going into this, that this is not like a partnerships initiative, that’s kind of siloed. And you’re off doing this yourself to hit your partnership OKRs or something or show you’re doing something. But it needs to fit into the overall go-to-market of your company.

Nouras:

And if you get your sales managers, your sales VPs bought in, this is going to help you close those bigger deals. And so whenever you have a customer who is known for having long procurement cycles. Think marketplace first, can we go marketplace first on these deals? Because, again, the same way you want to communicate success to Google Cloud, make sure you get traction with them. You also want them to communicate success internally so that your own reps understand and believe and kind of want to gravitate towards marketplace and are not afraid of it. So the faster you can get them to think about marketplace as a valid procurement vehicle gets them successes, communicated back to the sales teams and then give them more successes, that’s kind of something I would definitely focus on as well.

Don:

Great, Nicole, did we hit time here?

Nicole:

I think so, we answered, I think all the questions that came in and I think we covered all the ground that we had planned to cover. So that was a great discussion. Any closing, other closing thoughts from anyone?

Don:

I think if there’s lingering questions or anything like that, obviously, reach out to Nicole, we’ll share the KPI slide we talked about. Tackle’s always happy to help everybody kind of understand you how we marketplace and how you can marketplace. So reach out to us if you have any questions for sure, Nouras and James, thanks a ton.

Nicole:

Yeah, and we will share the recording today and we do office hours every Thursday too at 1:00 PM Eastern time. So if you have more cloud marketplace questions, you can always join those. But again, James, Nouras and Don, thank you guys so much. This was awesome. And hope everyone has a great rest of their day, thanks.

Don:

Thanks everybody.

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