The AWS Marketplace has been described by AWS as a “digital catalog that makes it easy for customers to find, test, buy, and deploy third-party software, data products, and services that customers need to build solutions and run their businesses”.
But how do you find success on this channel as an AWS software partner?
While there is enormous potential for AWS Software partners that leverage the AWS Marketplace, many leaders struggle to make the most of their listings and do not receive the leads and opportunities they are hoping to see. Having supported numerous companies to optimize their Marketplace channel strategy, we can share some of those best practices that can guarantee improved Marketplace performance!
1. Turn that product listing into a solution listing
We have encountered many listings that focus on a specific product. While this, understandably, would seem to be the correct approach, it is ineffective in bringing that new traffic any commercial team would love to see. Why is this?
Our research have found that most Marketplace searches are looking for a solution to a problem, i.e. the buyers who browse Marketplace are typically not searching for a specific product. Therefore, there is a need for a paradigm shift in the messaging where AWS software partners speak about an offering as a solution to a problem.
‘What if my one product solves more than one specific problem?’ Great! Create a separate solution listing for each solution that your product can offer.
2. Embed a strong value proposition in your Marketplace channel
Of course you want to cover how powerful, reliable and secure your solution is, but what makes your solution stand out from all those others on the Marketplace? In other words, what is your unique value proposition, differentiating you from your competitors? As a product owner and commercial sales leader at a AWS software partner firm, make sure you know what your value proposition is and that value proposition is clear within your listing.
You can utilize up to three product highlights in bullet points on your Product Details page, and customers can search for products by these highlights. So remember to utilize these highlights in your listing. Use these to describe your solution’s primary selling points.
3. Don’t skip competitive benchmarking of Marketplace Messaging
Think about what is going to grab a client’s attention, as they are not only quickly studying multiple solutions on AWS Marketplace, but also doing their external research on other channels. After identifying your top 5 direct and indirect competitors, we suggest that you look at your competitors’ listings and do the following actions:
- See what they are saying as a Value Proposition
- Identify the Emotional and Functional Benefits, and Features
- What their unique points are against your solution
- Identify the hooks they use in pricing, support, complimentary inclusions in service levels etc.
While scrolling through listings in the AWS Marketplace, you will see each one has a brief insight into that product’s description. This is the top three or four lines of the ‘Product Overview’ Section. Consider the best way to make the most of that real estate and the hooks you could use, to make a casual browser want to click on your listing? Just keep in mind AWS specify this section should contain only relevant and useful information.
4. Improve discoverability with Search Engine Optimization
Improving discoverability of your listing is another practice you have to embed in your channel strategy. A Marketplace listing can also pop up in Google search results, so to effectively use this kind of discoverability think about how you could incorporate some keywords and phrases in your listings. Also when creating the listing on Marketplace, you can submit up to three keywords (or phrases up to 250 characters) to support your search result discoverability. Your listing title is already included, so don’t waste one of those precious slots by copying your title!
Alongside Keywords, you can also choose up to three software categories, with corresponding subcategories for your solution. So remember to use these to support your discoverability to customers browsing on the Marketplace. The available categories and subcategories you can choose from are predefined by AWS and you can apply the relevant categories from a list provided during listing creation.
5. Align your Marketplace strategy with your GTM plan
Finally and perhaps most importantly, we have seen many companies create a strong Marketplace listing, only to fail to integrate it into their sales and marketing drives. You want both your Sales and Marketing to be working with your listings, helping to drive traffic to and from your Marketplace presence. Include the Marketplace within your Go To Market strategy, to enable your optimized listing to start working for you, and bring all of those new leads and opportunities. Don’t forget to include links to your listings in relevant places on your Website, LinkedIn and other presences online.
At the need of the day, make sure you implement all of the 5 best practices in your AWS Marketplace strategy and you can see a more effective sales motion through that channel. This is indeed a bit much for many product and commercial leaders to do, and that is why we are here to support you. VeUP using our consulting methodology & AWS expertise can manage your Marketplace Strategy for you. Do get in touch if you would like to discuss further.
-Richard Nutton, Program lead