SaaS Monetization: AWS Marketplace is not the Wild West!


To understand why the AWS Marketplace is not the Wild West, we should take a look at the history and also any misconception that it is a difficult and risky channel for selling and marketing your SaaS solutions.

AWS Marketplace had a rocky history with traditional sellers

Let’s take a brief look back in time. The AWS Marketplace was launched back in 2012 as a way to provide ‘builders’ with a simple way to find, buy and pay for software that runs on AWS. This was a very simple and neat way to build a solution or set of solutions that met the needs of the end users, with innovation at the heart of how it worked.

Inevitably the Marketplace started to gain traction and was seen as the disruptor to the status quo of how software and infrastructure were being purchased. The big traditional vendors didn’t really know what had hit them and so began five years of pushback from the established vendors, who really did try to make public cloud and in particular AWS, as the main disruptor, sound like it was a fad or worse unsafe!

But as the time went on, the top tier of successful ISVs on the AWS Marketplace are mostly ‘born in the cloud’ businesses, which is unsurprising, because they didn’t have the baggage that traditional vendors had or still have. Seeing the success of these early adopters, pretty much all vendors want to get involved with the AWS Marketplace, even those big established vendors.

Now how does this relate to ISVs (Independent Software Vendors)?

Main Challenge with AWS Marketplace- How to monetize and generate revenue

There are certain challenges that ISVs face when coming to the AWS Marketplace strategy, but the main challenge is how to monetize and generate revenue. By listing a product on the Marketplace does not mean you will make any money. We know this much is true, as I have met with lots of partners who have done just that and hoped to strike gold.

Here are the aspects that were missing in such SaaS sellers’ AWS Marketplace strategy that led to ineffective revenue generation:

  • Is your product addressing a need? – You need to have a good product set that will address a need and looks innovative to your customer base. Also you need to consider whether your solution also fits needs of other resellers or consulting partners who can package your unique solution into their wider solutions.
  • How good is your AWS Alliance? – When I talk about this I mean, what can you do with AWS to make a positive difference to your organizational goals. You have to get up close and personal with AWS in order to be successful, embrace the way they work to develop the right Alliance strategy.
  • What’s your Go-To-Market strategy? – Important that you have a plan with actions, tasks and KPIs aligned to getting your products to market effectively. The GTM plan must align with Marketplace as a channel and not leave it orphaned among your other channels. Consider that you can make different purchase offers directly with AWS customers and also co-sell with trusted partners who may have a far greater reach than you.
  • Where is your customer on this journey? – Customers are fast getting used to buying directly from the AWS Marketplace because of the simplicity and price points compared with a traditional procurement route in the value chain.

Like how guides took settlers through the Oregon Trail to the American West, VeUP has worked closely with many AWS ISV partners to enable them to answers the ‘4 Questions’ I highlighted above. Whether it is GTM Advisory or Marketplace Management, our services are well suited for ISVs to leverage in order to develop the right AWS Marketplace strategy. Do check our top 5 best practices SaaS leaders should do to have the most effective AWS Marketplace listing.

-Colin Etwaroo, Senior Consultant