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The changing face of SaaS commerce

SaaS Sales has seen significant shifts in the succeeding period of an economic downturn. According to a report from Tomasz Tunguz, a venture capitalist, the average startup saw a 26% jump in the sales cycle length, taking between 65 to 75 days to deal closure. Enterprises are no exception to this trend. The report states that 49% of SaaS enterprises have seen an increase in their sales cycle length this year.

Alternatively, Pete Handerson, the Cloud Marketplace GTM Lead from Google Cloud, highlights the buyers' perspective in the SaaS commerce world. Buyers' priorities are centered around the need to procure software faster. They are moving towards an ecosystem where they can avoid lengthy contract negotiations and spend less time provisioning and more on utilizing and deriving value from the software.

Amid these fads, how can B2B SaaS businesses and GTM teams plan ahead for 2024? How can the sellers reduce sales cycles and create seamless purchase experiences for the buyer?

Say hello to cloud marketplaces

The adoption of cloud marketplaces is on the rise. 52% of partners surveyed worldwide by Canalys recognize that their customers are now likely to buy through one of the top three hyperscaler marketplaces (AWS, Azure, and GCP).

What are the driving forces behind the increased readiness for adoption?

  1. The thumb rule of marketing and sales is to be where your customers are. With a massive 300 billion+ pre-committed cloud spend that can be earmarked to purchase third-party software, buyers are on cloud marketplaces.
  2. Cloud marketplaces are more than a pretty front-end. They offer trials to avail the test and try the full functionality of the application, thus ruling out any purchase blockers.
  3. Sales-led custom-negotiated deals are moving to a place of automation. The legal agreements called EULA (End-user license agreements) are now standardized online by hyperscalers for easy consumption. This, in turn, speeds up the sales process and saves months of time on agreement changes and legal team dependencies.

What is in it for the software sellers?

On marketplaces, sellers can avail the following benefits:

  1. Expand your business to new markets, segments, and geographies.
  2. Generate new leads and sales opportunities.
  3. Upsell and cross-sell your solutions as your customers move their workloads to the cloud.
  4. Market your solutions for specific industry workloads to reduce sales cycles, accelerate sales, and increase deal profitability.
  5. Get actionable insights on your performance and learn to maximize sales outcomes.

With a pool of concrete benefits, cloud marketplaces are clear winners to democratize software sales. The question is, how can I get started?

The status quo: Marketplace listing

What our CEO, Trunal Bhanse, calls a great entry barrier, emphasizes the challenges GTM teams face to get listed on cloud marketplaces. Listing is no cakewalk: it requires the technical expertise of the engineering teams to configure and integrate cloud marketplaces flawlessly. Needless to say, this creates a dependency for the GTM teams to rely on internal teams to start the journey. That’s not it; here are the real challenges:

  1. The Marketplace journey is not a one-time effort: Marketplaces are evolving daily, requiring the engineering team’s bandwidth to manage them constantly to facilitate faster scaling for the GTM teams.
  2. DIY is challenging: Integration and maintenance are arduous with even large engineering teams. Marketplaces are evolving continuously. The sales processes and GTM ops changing at a rapid scale. Therefore, GTM teams will have to absorb changes at both ends and be on top of their game constantly. This can swerve them likely from their core engineering goals.
  3. List and forget is a big no: The biggest myth around marketplaces is that they generate revenue from day one. The ground reality is that like any other GTM channel, marketplaces require time and effort to scale to success.

So, how can GTM teams triumph over the great entry barrier? Here’s the checklist to consider before listing on cloud marketplaces.

Three things to consider when getting listed

Getting listed on a cloud marketplace can be a complex process, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience for your GTM teams. Aayush Bahuguna, CTO and Co-Founder of Clazar underlines the importance of understanding the nuances of each marketplace, as the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t yield positive results on marketplaces.

1. Documentation is the starting point

The hyperscaler documentation is over 450 pages (AWS, Azure, GCP) with extensive and detailed information. Getting a hang of the documentation takes months. It takes more time to keep track of changes in documentation. However, understanding the steps in the documentation is crucial to listing seamlessly on marketplaces. With a co-pilot like Clazar, this step becomes void, as our team of experts are well versed in navigating the process.

2. Prepare and submit your product

As a part of the listing process, sellers are required to submit the following details to list on marketplaces successfully:

  1. Configure their package
  2. Set a pricing scheme
  3. Determine the relevant categories to list their product
  4. Add support information
  5. Add keywords so their product appears in relevant searches
You must be mindful of the information you provide, as there is no page preview option if you decide to take the DIY route. You can avoid this by choosing platforms like Clazar that give you a listing preview option, so you can make changes immediately and accurately.

3. Map legal and pricing terms

1. Pricing: Select your pricing model on marketplaces. Flexible pricing options include free trial, hourly, monthly, annual, multi-year, and Bring Your Own License model (BYOL), and being billed from one source. The marketplace handles billing and payments; charges appear on customers’ consolidated cloud bills.

SaaS sellers need to configure their pricing model for Marketplace listing. Typically, this involves:

  1. The basic components they will charge their buyers for
  2. Upfront prices and usage-based prices
  3. Configuring this pricing model for different contract durations
  4. The option to offer free trials but will have to configure its specifics in their MP listing pricing

The challenge businesses often face is mapping and matching their current pricing model with the hyperscalers’ pricing model. This requires deep expertise in the nuances of each marketplace and navigating through them.

Before mapping the pricing model, here are a few questions to consider:

  1. How can I understand the building blocks of marketplace pricing?
  2. Should I offer a free trial or a zero-dollar private offer?
  3. How can I use the best permutations and combinations of pricing models?
  4. How can I use usage-based billing on marketplaces?

2. Legal: To simplify the procurement process, you can use standardized license terms for public product listings and private offers readily available on marketplaces. You can also choose a custom EULA for your contract, requiring legal interventions.

Once these steps are completed, you can submit your listing to the marketplace and wait for the pages to go live. If done manually, this process can take anywhere between a couple of weeks and several months. At this stage, there is a fair amount of operational involvement between the seller and Marketplace solution engineers, who do in-depth integration testing of the listing and run it through multiple scenarios. Any single miss can easily delay the listing by like 10 days or so. Most often, for new sellers, what lies ahead for this stage is not very clear, so it's always better to have a concierge-like Clazar maneuver through this.

The average listing time for marketplace sellers with Clazar as a co-pilot has been ten days. The fastest go-live time has been two days from the date of submission.

Listed, what’s next?

Listing is the beginning of the sales journey on cloud marketplaces. The path ahead is to:

  1. Drive traffic to the marketplace listing page
  2. Align sales teams with marketplace selling
  3. Send private offers
  4. Drive new transactions
  5. Expand horizons with Co-selling

Each chapter along the path requires technical and operational expertise, making the DIY model an unscalable option.

Make a wise choice with Clazar

The technical know-how and expertise shouldn’t be roadblocks to GTM teams adopting promising GTM channels like cloud marketplaces. With sales being a herculean task itself, GTM teams shouldn’t worry about taking the manual route and dealing with technical and operational marketplace complexities. Clazar has been a successful co-pilot in steering the marketplace journey for many GTM leaders, understanding their nuances, and helping them get started and scale revenue. Send us an email at or talk to an expert.

Watch Ben Anderson talk about the state of cloud marketplaces and the need for GTM teams to adopt them.

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