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What “Cloud Marketplace Selling” Actually Is—And How To Align With AWS/Google/Microsoft Sales People

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Photo Courtesy: Gary Gatiss

By: Maria Williams

We sat down with the Founder of G3 Coaching Gary Gatiss to learn the full scope of selling alongside the hyperscalers, aka “Cloud Providers” (AWS, Microsoft, Google), as an ISV salesperson—and how to maximize the Cloud Marketplace Opportunity.

The relatively new route to market for companies that sell software—Cloud Marketplaces—has seen impressive growth in recent years. In the fourth quarter of 2023, enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services reached $73.7 billion—a 20% increase from the $61.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, and by 2032, the cloud computing market is expected to be worth USD 2,495.2 Billion

The gravitational pull of the Cloud Marketplaces is happening and all of the companies in the ecosystem are being pulled in. But despite the powerful draw and the notable momentum of the Marketplaces, there are many “knowledge gaps” in the go to market process that are limiting adoption in some cases, as well as limiting the success of ISVs who are nevertheless scrambling to get in the game. Even the nature of the Cloud Marketplaces is misunderstood. The Cloud Providers position the Marketplaces as catalogs, which implies that customers search for products in them and place orders. While the alliances and partner people familiar with the Marketplaces know that they do not operate that way, the pervasive expectation is that somehow the listings themselves will drive business. This expectation is perhaps the most significant gap in Cloud go to market.

It seems like all roads lead to Rome, even with the inclusion of experts—yet, there is a solution to get your share of the $340 Billion Cloud Marketplace opportunity: G3 Coaching. Led by Founder Gary Gatiss, G3 has assembled a team of Cloud Marketplace experts to help ISVs maximize the Cloud Marketplaces as a route to market.

According to Gatiss, in many cases ISVs launch listings in the Cloud Marketplace and then don’t experience a lot of transactions. These ISVs end up disillusioned since the Marketplaces are billed as a new way to market products and the assumption is that the Cloud Providers would drive customers to them. Both are possible, but typically only after the ISVs have approached the Marketplaces with the right partnership levels and programs in place and fully prepared to drive business on their own. 

If customers were to find and select the ISVs product simply by searching in the Marketplace, the customer would transact using a “public offer” that is based on the price in the public listing. 

“It doesn’t work that way in most cases,” says Gatiss. “In fact, it is quite the opposite. 95% of Marketplace transactions are ‘private offers’, the vehicle used by the Marketplaces to transact on a negotiated amount. In other words, the sales team working the deal went through an entire sales cycle with the customer, they agreed on a price, and they transacted on that agreed-upon amount in the Marketplace using a private offer,” discusses Gatiss. “As most people know, enterprise software is almost always negotiated; only commodity software is not negotiated.”

When a Marketplace listing is not getting a lot of transactions, Gatiss says, the most glaring missing piece in Cloud GTM becomes apparent: sales is not engaged and active. “Few cloud alliances and partner teams point to their sales teams when a listing is failing, either for answers or to suggest they figure it out. When they do take that approach, they are met by resistance from Sales. Sales teams are generally not interested because of the misinformation out there, the added complexity and processes, and the fear of disruption from Cloud Provider sales teams. So they are not clued in when it comes to how and when to engage.” 

That’s where “Cloud Marketplace Selling”, as Gary Gatiss refers to it, comes into the picture. 

“The entire ecosystem is so focused on the transaction and the operational aspects of CMP selling enablement, that no one is thinking: How do we sell this best?” Gatiss explains. “And probably most importantly, at least initially, is how do we get sellers’ attention in order to sell this best?”

The ISVs who are actually seeing success with the Cloud Marketplaces are generally well-supported by their management, encouraged by a “comp-neutral” compensation plan, and enabled in handling the transaction. However, according to many Marketplaces experts, the sales team’s broader success at those ISVs is due in large part to a sort of grass roots enablement process. Their peers see positive results and learn from their colleagues who are leveraging the Marketplace benefits in the sales process in order to grow deals or close them faster. “Seeing your peers’ success is a great way to draw attention to the benefits for sellers of using the Marketplaces”, says Gatiss.

G3 Coaching is taking a similar approach: coaching sellers to implement a “Cloud Marketplace-enhanced sales process.” But it’s different from word-of-mouth, where the key actions can be misused, misunderstood, not comprehensive, not applicable across all deals, or simply forgotten over time. Instead, G3 coaching offers a structured approach and a well-thought-out process that tightly integrates with Cloud Provider co-selling best practices. It’s packaged as a subscription and meant to be used over time. 

Gatiss knows of no one else who is taking this approach to sales enablement at this time, although it’s an approach that will have the greatest impact on revenue growth. The majority of sales enablement efforts happening now are related to handling the transaction. This focus on the operational aspects of the transaction limits the opportunity for the seller in the deal to maximize revenue and leverage the advantages of CMP selling including Cloud Marketplace customer benefits. 

So what are those benefits, exactly?

The $340 billion market opportunity refers to the total amount of cloud spend that customers have committed to the Cloud Providers. Committed cloud spend is the biggest benefit offered by the Cloud Marketplaces. The reason for this is that customers who have committed spend can use it to purchase enterprise software that is listed in the Marketplaces. Due to the sales enablement gap, salespeople are not using this to their advantage and they are leaving literally billions of dollars on the table. 

Cloud Provider sales teams are highly motivated to have customers purchase through the Marketplaces. Considering the reach and power of these organizations and the fact that objectives are in alignment, one would expect that software salespeople would be finding ways to partner with them. However, many sellers are concerned about disruption, adding complexity, or losing control of their deal if the Cloud Provider team is involved. Or sellers will reach out for assistance before they have anything to offer. Because they don’t know how to engage and there is a lot of fear, the field-level co-selling opportunity is either underused or avoided. This again comes back to the focus on the transaction; sometimes the customer transacts in the Marketplace whether the ISV seller is on board or not, and at that point, all of the leverage for the seller is gone. 

This is clearly another gap in the current cloud go-to market. “Co-selling is widely considered by people in the know as company-with-company. In other words, how individual ISVs work with the Cloud Providers, with a focus on product and marketing and driven by Alliance teams. It is more programmatic than process oriented. The ‘co-selling’ that is most widely adopted right now involves integration of CRM systems with Cloud Providers portals. All of that is, in fact, just part of co-selling,” explains Gatiss.

“I’m coaching salespeople to bring up the Marketplace with the customer early on in the sales process. That way you are driving the process, while putting you in a position to do part of the Cloud Provider sellers’ job for them and ensuring your objectives are aligned. This is at a point when you know more than they do and bringing it to their attention establishes that you are in control of the sales process. They see that you know what you are doing and you have their best interests in mind. Since both you and the cloud provider sales teams have the same objective–bigger, faster deals–you are now well-aligned with the most powerful partner in the ecosystem. That’s what I mean by field-level co-selling.” 

Co-selling between salespeople in the field, or salesperson-with-salesperson, “is the key to great success in Cloud Marketplace Selling. In other words, how a salesperson from an ISV approaches and actively works with a salesperson from a Cloud Provider in a deal,” he continues.

Offered through its Multi-Cloud Marketplace Selling subscription, G3’s sales coaching ensures the success of your Cloud Marketplace listings and increases revenue by leveraging the Marketplace most effectively. The subscription is delivered in a simple, easy-to-consume format, with recorded sessions of 5 minutes or less. 

“By encouraging (or requiring) course completion and offering Multi-Cloud Marketplace Seller certification, sales management can maximize revenue production by ensuring the entire sales team is capable of driving Marketplace deals.” By completing the course and maintaining an active subscription, salespeople can earn a badge as a “Certified Multi-Cloud Marketplace Seller.” Gatiss asserts that between aggressively promoting the Cloud Marketplace wins by sales teammates as well as requiring certification, the highest likelihood of widespread adoption will be achieved, which will lead to the greatest return on investment. 

A study by Forrester reports the partner opportunity for AWS Marketplace ISVs is 80% richer deal sizes, 27% higher win rates, and 40% faster sales cycles—all numbers G3 Coaching says will be multiplied with the use of its Marketplace-enhanced sales process. 

“In 2024, if you know how to leverage the Marketplaces, you have a huge competitive advantage,” Gatiss says. “Right now, access to committed spend is more powerful than it will be next year. And right now, there’s a high probability that your competition doesn’t know what they are doing and might not even ask about it. You are in the driver’s seat, so best to figure it out now or it will be used against you.”

“Our thing is really having this knowledge and experience, and the opportunity to share it with companies that sell software,” he explains. “Training and enabling salespeople to use the cloud marketplaces fills a massive hole in today’s go-to-market while also greatly impacting the success of individual sellers.”

And don’t just take his word for it, the success stories speak for themselves. Take Guido Spina, Strategic Account Executive. In the AWS Marketplace, he increased the single deal size from $118,000 and accelerated the deal by 4 months by leveraging AWS committed cloud spend. Or consider Peter Irwin’s experience. He and his team were able to leverage Azure committed spend in order to add $1 million to a deal, all paid upfront. The results can be astounding.

To learn more about Gary Gatiss’s company G3 Coaching, visit the website here

Interested sales teams can join the Cloud Marketplace and go to market effort. 

Published by: Holy Minoza

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