By Ellen Gomes
Plenty has been written about bringing products or services to market. Practices have been developed to manage both direct and indirect sales channels. Literature has been written about product development models versus customer development models. And, the traditional process of creating demand is now very well known.
However, the exponential growth of products, solutions, and applications in the B2B space have created a new type of a sales channel—one that resembles, something we’re all familiar with, an appstore. In fact, leading platforms, like Marketo, have taken notice and built ecosystems and programs to facilitate the discovery of complementary independent software vendors (ISVs) for their customers.
These ecosystems require a fundamental change in how ISVs think about managing sales opportunities. Specifically, some questions an ISV should be able to answer include: How to quantify the opportunity? Do you need a dedicated person to manage the engagement and who should that person be? And, which ecosystems make sense to participate in? But unfortunately, the reality is that many organizations struggle to successfully evaluate and manage the opportunity. This blog will take a look at how you can successfully navigate the galaxy of enterprise ecosystems and choose a partner and an ecosystem that will work for your business.
Find The Right Partner
The growing number of opportunities—in the form of an appstore, a program or an ecosystem—means that you’re more likely than ever to find one that offers the right product-market fit and therefore helps you promote your product.
As you look for the right partner, it’s important to consider the benefits a program offers and how the platform’s program drives success for its participants. As you evaluate, you’ll find that some programs are backed by a solid plan to help you drive business, while others merely provide affiliate options. Make sure the program you choose has offerings that make sense for your business in its current phase, and as you look toward the future. For example, an early-stage startup may not need the same acceleration options that a later stage startup needs.
After carefully considering those criteria, you’re likely to end up with only a handful of programs to choose from. Ask yourself how many “merchants” are already promoting their merchandise in that ecosystem and its respective program; will you be able to stand out? Or, is this market saturated? Consider the distribution and the growth of the platform’s customer base. Ask yourself if the ecosystem is a known and established place to promote solutions like yours, or if you will standout—either as a refreshing outlier or an odd one. Then, prioritize your options and register for the program where you’d like to publish your solution/product/app listing. You should be able to quickly identify and validate if the right customers are there and will react positively to your product.
Assess The Opportunity
Many marketers and business development (BD) folks I have met underestimate the opportunity they have in aligning their go-to-market strategy with a large enterprise ecosystem. Most of them will size the opportunity by Go to the full article.