In this article, we give you three quick, actionable steps that will hyper-scale your marketplace ecosystem. Whether you are just starting to scale, or you’re a tech giant that wants to see continued growth within your marketplace, this article will help you reach your goal. 

Over the past ten years, enterprises have invested and built up ecosystems of technology partners that get promoted to their customers via an online marketplace. The Salesforce AppExchange, the Microsoft AppSource or Azure Marketplace, and the ADP Marketplace are all examples of successful marketplace ecosystems. These are, no doubt, the titans of their respective industries, but any company will see substantial growth by following the three keys below. 

Building and Scaling a Marketplace Ecosystem

Building and scaling a marketplace ecosystem is a major undertaking. However, companies continue to make these investments for four reasons:

  1. To expand their product footprints and company influence in their market
  2. To lock in customers with more product integrations
  3. To build a moat around their business with a network of partners invested in their company’s success
  4. To accelerate growth with an ecosystem of marketplace partners

Creating a marketplace ecosystem has multiple strategic advantages for your business. That’s why everyone who has a marketplace is trying to scale out their ecosystem. If you already have a  marketplace, the next logical step is to leverage your marketplace partners to unlock exponential growth.

Three Keys to Hyper-Scale Your Marketplace Ecosystem

1. Identify your Mutual Customer Overlap with Each Partner

The first step to driving revenue with marketplace partners is to quickly identify ALL your mutual customer overlap. Many companies have a multi-product portfolio and oftentimes each product requires a separate integration. Understanding your mutual customer overlap allows your team to drive new co-marketing initiatives.

Today most companies have to wait until a customer downloads or uses a partner connector to know who their joint customers are with a particular partner. An Ecosystem Sales Platform instantly identifies all your mutual customers with each of your marketplace partners. So you can run targeted campaigns to promote a particular marketplace connector or complementary solution. This creates the potential for your customers to upgrade their services, so they can use more integrated partner solutions. You can then use this data to forecast customer retention and growth.

An Ecosystem Sales Platform makes it easy to instantly identify your mutual customers with each marketplace partner. 

The steps to do so are:

  1. Connect your Ecosystem Sales Platform to your CRM (takes 2 minutes)
  2. Upload any customer lists your partners have already sent you
  3. Invite marketplace partners to connect with you directly on your Ecosystem Sales Platform
  4. Agree to share mutual customer accounts within the Share Settings feature
  5. Instantly see your list of mutual customers
  6. Export these accounts for targeted campaigns

As soon as you know all of your mutual customers you can run targeted email campaigns to encourage those joint customers to download, install, or use the partner’s connector. This will increase downloads, make customers stickier, and strengthen your relationship with these partners.

Marketplace Ecosystem quote. Connect with sellers.

2. Leverage Partners to Swap out Competitors

Your partners have invested in building an integration and promoting themselves on your marketplace. They have a joint value proposition for your customers and a vested interest in your business success.

As you build win-win relationships with each partner, they are more likely to share more information about ALL of their current customers, including those that use your competitors’ products. A platform like PartnerTap makes it easy for partners to control what information they share with you. While they may start off sharing only mutual customer accounts, over time, once trust is built, they will expand what they share with you to include all customers, or all customers using a specific competitor product.

Once you have a list of companies that use your competitor’s product and your marketplace partner’s product, you can design a competitive sales play to go after those accounts. 

Here’s how companies plan and run these plays with our tool:

  1. Create a target list of partner customers that use your competitor’s products
  2. Include the partner’s sales account owner and your account owner on each account (this comes out of the box with PartnerTap)
  3. Design your product-specific competitive swap-out sales play, emphasizing the value of the partner’s integration and support for your company’s product
  4. Introduce the sales reps on each side*
  5. Have the partner account owner introduce your sales rep to each company’s decision-makers
  6. Leverage the partner account owner for insights and support throughout your sales cycle

* The typical process for connecting reps is to introduce them one by one via email. With PartnerTap you can connect sellers on their shared accounts within our platform and let them chat directly with each other when they need help. These chat conversations are saved automatically into both company CRM systems. These chats can also be pushed into Slack via the PartnerTap Channel.

Marketplace partners quote

3. Use Data to Guide Product Investments 

Marketplace teams often need to build a business case to get their product teams to focus R&D resources on new integrations with partners. Mapping mutual customers is the first step of this business case. A Partner Ecosystem Platform can give you all the firmographic data you need about your mutual customers to justify an investment by R&D in these new integrations, 

Specifically:

  • Segments: are our mutual customers in the enterprise, mid-market, or small business sectors?
  • Industries: could this new partner connector help us sell more into specific industries?
  • Regions: could this new partner connector grow faster within a particular region?
  • New business: could this new integration help us win more net-new business into this partner’s other customers?
  • Expansion revenue: would this integration help us upsell existing customers to higher editions?

Armed with this data, marketplace partners can build co-marketing campaigns and market their partner integrations to the right customers. Each integration that is turned on by your customers increases the stickiness and LTV.  This data can also be used to build stronger business cases to focus R&D dollars on the right integrations with the right Marketplace partners.

Key Takeaways

If you have a marketplace and you are looking for ways to hyper-scale your marketplace ecosystem, an Ecosystem Sales Platform like PartnerTap will help you do that. PartnerTap identifies your mutual customer overlap with each partner, helps you leverage your partners to swap out competitors, and gives you data to guide product investment. These three steps will help you drive more revenue with your partners and accelerate growth in your marketplace positioning you ahead of your competition. 

To learn more, book a demo with us today. 

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