NEWS AND INFORMATION
The common perception is that an AppStore is the start and end of a software marketplace. While an AppStore certainly forms a part of a B2B Software Marketplace, it is by no means the only important element of the marketplace. As defined by Collins, a marketplace is ...
marketplace (ˈmɑːkɪt,pleɪs) — n,
1. a place where a public market is held
2. any centre where ideas, opinions, etc, are exchanged
3. the commercial world of buying and selling
With this in mind, while a B2B Marketplace could exist with only an AppStore it really should include each of the elements in the definition to deliver a comprehensive service to a software vendor's ecosystem.
Lets take a look at a few of the different components that could make up a marketplace and how each impacts on the software vendor.
AppStore (or eCommerce driven product catalog)
No single product can provide all the functionality needed to deliver the complex systems required by the modern business.
Independent Software Vendors ("ISVs") form a vital part of the solution chain by adding those features and functions needed to close deals.
Further, on average, salespeople spend 25% of their time seeking out information to build customer solutions. This time is expensive and could be better spent on lead and deal generation activities.
If you consider that 65% of a buy decision for business software is based on information delivery, a marketplace that promotes both core and add-on software makes products and related information easier to find and evaluate thus making it quicker and easier to build solutions while also making the software vendor more competitive, customers happier and the ISVs motivated to continue investment into developing vital add-on solutions.
The people and businesses with a diverse set of skills that makes up the software vendor's ecosystem or supply chain is critical to the successful sale, implementation and support of systems for end users.
Having visibility of these skills on a global basis provides an invaluable tool for ensuring that the vendor remains competitive by knowing where skills can be deployed or where training and recruitment may be required.
Further, the ecosystem can advertise their projects, resources and skills and then share this information to better execute sales and project opportunities. This together with a comprehensive collection of information on the projects and skills available, makes it possible to quickly and easily find relevant information and to then review them in-depth. This will ensure that projects are efficiently resourced and that channel partners, with the appropriate skills, can be found and contracted.
A vendor can also monetize this skills market and utilise these funds to reinvest back into the ecosystem.
How many calls a day does the average vendor get from their ecosystem requesting information about invoices raised, licences sold, activation codes lost and account detail updates to name just a few.
Providing a set of self help portals to each of the members of the ecosystem saves vendors the time and cost of dealing with these issues while delivering an added service to their ecosystem by making this information easily accessible.
To have access to a portal would also require the community member to register for an account. This account can be designed to require the accountholder to enter various types of profile information and to subscribe to a marketing "opt-in". The profile information and opt-in provides a substantial benefit for executing marketing and promotional activities.
Traffic Analysis and Lead Generation
Providing a range of touch points to attract the ecosystem and new potential customers and partners to the marketplace brings with it new sales opportunities.
Effective measurement of the source of the traffic and profiling their activity in the marketplace would bring about intelligence that can be used to understand areas of interest, product demand, referring sources, marketing an promotional activity effectiveness and ultimately generate new sales.
Given the clear and important benefits of having a professional marketplace, vendors that do not have a marketplace must realise the strategic importance of having one and for those that have started the process but still only provide an online catalog, it is time to properly construct and monetize the marketplace.