How to reach your audience by utilizing the Microsoft Marketplace

The Microsoft Azure Marketplace. What exactly is it and how can you leverage the power of the Azure Marketplace? Did you know that many companies are already using the marketplace without even being aware? In this article we will dive into the basics of the Azure Marketplace and how you can leverage the benefits.

 

The Marketplace is a Microsoft states “The Marketplace is the launch pad for joint go-to-market activities with Microsoft that can help accelerate your business growth” Long story short: When publishing your solution to the Marketplace, you become a part of a large ecosystem that you can benefit from.

 

Selling your solution

If you’re currently using the Azure Marketplace, you will find that it’s a platform that has matured over the years. When your solution is running on Azure, it is likely that you’re already using the Azure Marketplace. For example: Running / Deploying Virtual Machines use images that are situated in the Azure Marketplace. Additionally, you can also market your consulting services through the Azure Marketplace or App Source. For example, Intercept has a Cloud Consulting offer published to the Marketplace.

 

Benefits of the Azure Marketplace

The goal of Microsoft is to connect with partners and customers and support them in expanding their business through the Azure Marketplace solutions. Other than leveraging current Marketplace solutions, you can also publish your own solution. There is one condition: your solution must (partially) run on Microsoft Azure. By publishing your solution to the Marketplace, you will have the following benefits:

  • Scale globally
    Customers have the option to deploy your solution to a region of their liking. Make sure your backend supports this though;
  • Create new sales opportunities / leads
    Azure is growing, and the ecosystem grows with it! By publishing your solution to the Marketplace you generate more visibility and generate new leads in a multitude of industries.;

  • Brand awareness and promotion.

As mentioned, your solution will be visible in all Azure Public regions (currently 54, spread over 140 counties). This will improve band awareness and promotion.

  • Upsell en cross-selling
    If you sell through the Marketplace you can shorten your sales-cycle and speed up projects because you’re selling a complete solution;
  • It’s free
    Publishing your solution to the Azure Marketplace is free;

  • Valuable insights
    Receive information and insights on your campaign performance, orders and payouts and use the analytics to maximize profits and reach a broader market.

 

The Marketplace is the launch pad for joint go-to-market activities with Microsoft that can help accelerate your business growth. If you’re new to the Marketplace you initially receive benefits out-of-the-box. These are Go-To-Market benefits that help build awareness with other Microsoft customers. Once your offer is published and live, the Microsoft Go-To-Market team will contact you and help you get the most of the it by providing:

  • Technical Support
    Support for everything you need to publish your application. Support ranging from technical support to architectural support. 
  • Co-marketing
    When you’re co-sell ready (more on this later), you will have a Go-to market team appointed to you. This team will help you with your marketing activities, strategies and connect you to the internal sales channels of Microsoft.

 

Azure Marketplace versus App Source

Whether you’re an MSP, Software Vendor or just want to publish your awesome app, you have a variety of options. The Marketplace comes in two shapes: Azure Marketplace and AppSource so what’s the difference? They both target different audiences. The Azure Marketplace targets IT Professionals and Developers where AppSource targets Business Users and Business Decision Makers. But there are more differences.

Source

Microsoft has provided a clear overview of the differences in benefits:

Source

 

Publishing your solution

Publishing your solution tot he marketplace isn’t that difficult but there are some steps you need to follow in order to succesfully onboard.


Step 1: Become a Microsoft Partner.
You can register yourself at https://partner.microsoft.com. After signing up you will receive a Microsoft ID which you can use to create an offer in the Cloud Partner Portal.


Step 2: Choose your offer type
You can choose to create any of the following offers:

  • Azure Applications
  • Consulting Service
  • Containers
  • Dynamics 365 Business Central
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
  • Dynamics 365 for Operations
  • IoT Edge modules
  • Managed Services
  • Power BI Apps
  • SaaS apps
  • Virtual Machines


Step 3: Describe your offering
Once you’ve selected the offer type you can add a subscription to your new offer. Choose the right category to make sure you reach the right audience

Step 4: Select your pay method.
You can choose any if the following payment method.

  • Free;
  • Bring your own license (BYOL)
    Software licences are still managed by you and provided to the customer directly by you. Microsoft will only charge the infrastructure and Azure usage;
  • Pay-as-you-go
    Price per hour (usually on vCPUs);
  • Subscription price
    Software licenses are billed based on a subscription.

Stap 4: Lead Management
The Cloud Partner-portal provides the ability to manage the leads that originate from your Marketplace activities. What does that mean? When someone enters their information when purchasing or trying out your offer, this data is processed and stored in (for example) Salesforce, Dynamics CRM Online or any other endpoint you provide. This provides you and your sales team with leads to follow-up.


Stap 5: Live!
Once you’ve gone through all the screens and entered all the required information, you can publish your offer. This will start a workflow where automated tests are run against your offering and eventually provide you with a private marketplace offer for you to test.

Once you’re happy with your offering you can request a “Go Live”, where Microsoft will evaluate and check your offering before finalizing and publishing it to the Marketplace.

Wrap-up
The Marketplace comes with multiple benefits that can help you accelerate sales and venture into new industries. It is also a very user friendly platform that requires zero to no support when your customers are purchasing and implementing your solution. What are you waiting for? Get started and publish your solution to the Marketplace.

Any questions? Let us know!

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