Accelerating Channel Sales Through Platform Marketplaces

Channel Partner Ecosystems build upon and extend the traditional channel management model to integrate partners directly into the core product itself through app marketplaces.

Channel Partner Ecosystems build upon and extend the traditional channel management model to integrate partners directly into the core product itself through app marketplaces.

It is an approach with massive strategic impact, not only achieving the route to market accelerators that channel programs are used for, but furthermore they simultaneously expand the core product capabilities, making the combined effort much more attractive to potential customers.

There are a multitude of case study examples that demonstrate the same core principle, from Zoom through Shopify to Atlassian, each offers a marketplace where third parties can list their own modules that plug in to the core product to enhance it in various ways.

App Marketplaces

The functionality offered differs to suit the customer base and use cases being addressed.

For example Zoom has over 1,000 apps in their marketplace that enhance meeting functionality, such as Calendaring and Scheduling, Collaboration, Transcription and EdTech, integrated into the video conferencing service by utilizing the core enabling mechanic of the app marketplace, the SDK.

As just one example is Faye, who enables the ability to schedule and launch a Zoom meeting from within Zendesk and also save and access meeting recordings within Zendesk. Animaker provides a list of the Top 10 Zoom apps for Startups.

This dynamic is extremely powerful for both parties. It greatly enhances the core product and in turn offers developers a massively accelerated route to an already-qualified market. Twine for Zoom Events is a compelling example – Zoom is the building block of virtual meetings, with networking being the natural progression for this experience, and the startup is plugged into exactly their target market via instantaneous procurement of their app.

It’s an irresistible sales model, such a clearly defined and accessible channel and is thus ideal for startups who don’t need to invent these from scratch. Back in 2020 TechCrunch asked if Zoom was going to be the next hot platform highlighting how these marketplaces are ideal for startup ecosystems.

Shopify’s marketplace is a magnitude larger again, boasting over 8,000 apps that enhance a merchants ability to sell more online, from workflow through email marketing and dropshipping, with major integrations such as enabling Spotify artists to embed e-commerce into their profile. ReferalCandy lists the Top 50 Shopify apps for growing your e-commerce store.

Enterprise Solutions

The model is also applied to the enterprise software market. As Atlassian CRO Cameron Deatsch described at his SaaStr conference talk they have grown to $3 billion in sales today, with ambitions to stretch to $10 billion in the near future, and their platform ecosystem model is central to this.

Similarly vendors like New Relic also replicate this approach, recently announcing 100 new integrations, growing its technology partner ecosystem by over 25%, adding new quick-start contributions from developer tools such as Atlassian, AWS, CircleCI, Jenkins, JFrog and Snyk.

Our guide and best practice series will explore this trend in detail, sharing technology blueprints for those seeking to set up marketplaces to underpin their own channel programs, and GTM strategies for vendors wanting to increase sales through them.

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