Smart partners know that your sales and marketing motions need to strongly align with AWS comp to ensure you’re a go-to partner. Rumors are swirling about how AWS reps are compensated in relation to Marketplace, specifically that it might be the only way they will be comped. Keep in mind, this is all rumor, but it’s what I’ve been hearing on the street. I believe we’ll all be pushed more and more in that direction.
Running business through Marketplace has some pros and cons, which I’ll get into below. However, it’s best to be an early adopter here since it’s fairly apparent that AWS wants us all to transact there (and why wouldn’t they - since they take a fee for it).
The Pros of Being Listed On AWS Marketplace
One of the main reasons AWS partners should get listed on the AWS Marketplace is the access it provides to a massive customer base. AWS has millions of active customers worldwide, including startups, enterprises, and public sector organizations. By becoming a Marketplace seller, partners gain visibility in front of this extensive network, significantly expanding their reach and potential customer pool.
Marketplace streamlines procurement for customers by offering a unified billing and payment system. Customers can consolidate their AWS-related expenses and manage their subscriptions conveniently. This simplicity can be a significant selling point for prospects, making it faster and easier for them to push engagements through their internal procurement process. Particularly with prospects at the high end of SMB and into the enterprise space, being listed on Marketplace can speed up the sales cycle due to prospect trust in the vetting process a partner must go through to get listed.
There may be some benefit to your Accounts Receivable process since Marketplace does the heavy lifting for you. In a business model such as with SIs and MSPs where one customer stiffing you can seriously affect cash flow, this alone could be worth the price of admission.
Since Marketplace is crawlable by search engines, it provides an opportunity to boost your SEO rankings and gain some valuable backlinks.
Lastly, it’s becoming clear that this is what AWS wants us to do.
The Cons of Being Listed On AWS Marketplace
First and foremost, AWS takes a percentage of transactions. In the case of SIs and MSPs, it’s in line with most credit card transaction fees. I’m not sure if I’d be breaking any partner agreements by publishing them here out in the open, so I’ll steer clear of that, but you can find them by clicking this link. In theory, the increased exposure should net you a deal each year, which more than covers this cost. Much like the aforementioned credit card fees, you really need to view this as a cost of doing business that isn’t avoidable.
While there is increased exposure of your business to millions of prospects, it also works in reverse. Your prospects now will be exposed to other partners and their offerings. It’s important to have a strong differentiation, brand, and marketing strategy to stand out in this crowded space. And remember, in essence, Marketplace is a search engine and keywords count.
Managing Marketplace listings can be one of those processes that will make you want to throw your computer through a window. It’s not as simple as going in and editing something quickly. There’s an approval process that can take days. You’ll likely need to pay for and use a third-party tool to manage this process (don’t quote me on this as my experience lies with being an ISV partner - I’m not sure if this is simplified for SIs and MSPs as this is a brand new ability). A couple of companies in this space are WorkSpan and Tackle.io.
Marketplace is quite the opposite of the movie Field of Dreams, if you build it (your listing), they won’t just come. You need to optimize and market your listings actively.
Just like any online marketplace, customers leave reviews. Disgruntled customers who were previously handled behind the scenes will now have the ability to leave public, negative feedback. This can seriously impact your reputation both with other prospects and with AWS itself.
If you decide that getting listed is a fit for your business, talk to your PDM or head to the Seller Guide provided by AWS to learn all of the details and action items to get started.