Apple has beyond any shadow of doubt proved that a monetized marketplace delivers great returns for them, an awesome go-to-market opportunity for their developer community and passionate customers.
B2B software vendors, however, are slow to take advantage of this phenomenon. There are numerous reasons for this but that is another topic. Here are some reasons why software vendors SHOULD be looking very seriously at building their marketplace … even if it is only a small one.
The Most Important Reason - Generate More Deals
Ultimately it boils down to two facts above all as to why software vendors should have a marketplace included in their multi-channel sales and marketing mix …
- It generates more core sales; and
- It builds a great echo-system!
How is this achieved … see the list below!
The user experience expectations of customers is shifting and being driven by their consumer experiences at marketplaces such as the Apple AppStore, Android Markt as well as their purchases from on-line stores such as Amazon and Zappos.
This is increasingly adding demands on software vendors to provide a similar user experience to their customers when they are looking for, evaluating and purchasing business software.
Functionality Critical to Closing Deals
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.
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.
Earnings to Invest Back Into The Channel
Budgets for channel development are always under pressure and yet for the average software vendor their channel is critical to revenue growth. So which comes first – investment into channel or revenue?
A marketplace can and should be a profit centre where the extra earnings generated could be used to top up the lagging budgets for channel development, which in turn would have a positive impact on core revenue generation.
Increased Internet Marketing – For Free
Gaining high rankings in search engines together with the demands on software vendors to use social networks to promote themselves on the web is a time consuming and costly exercise.
A well constructed marketplace that provides an environment for the vendor’s echo-system to congregate, communicate and transact would result in large volumes of traffic, links and in-bound content being created for the marketplace.
As opposed to paid search, on-line advertising and paid staff to create blogs, tweets and other social network updates, this can be achieved at zero cost through the marketplace and the echo-system.
Enhanced Service Delivery
The web is a low cost and efficient way to deliver new or enhanced services to a software vendor’s echo-system. These services can include skills sourcing, project resourcing, training and support.
This service delivery can improve the effectiveness of the channel and provide a convenient way for customers to consume products and services.
The marketplace is a great way to deliver these services and as a by-product the traffic also creates the opportunity to on-sell additional products and services.