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August 1, 2017
Among the growing number of cloud marketplaces, SaaSMax has a unique twist: The company uses business intelligence to accelerate and identify the right SaaS partner and also makes partner-vendor introductions, boosting the success of both.
This is especially pertinent as things become more verticalized and technology becomes more line of business (LoB), and not just IT and cybersecurity. In fact, in June, SaaSMax won the 2017 Gartner Cool Vendor in SaaS with Innovative Business Models.
SaaSMax’s Dina Moskowitz
As software-as-a-service grows increasingly mainstream — it is still early in the game — savvy partners will align with cloud marketplace providers. But which one to choose, and how do you differentiate between the online storefronts popping up?
Channel Partners: Give us a little history about SaaSMax and explain what differentiates SaaSMax from other cloud marketplaces.
Dina Moskowitz: SaaSMax is born in the cloud so we come from understanding the business model and the uniqueness of being a cloud-based as-a-service software company, ourselves.
Our beta platform went live in 2013 and that’s when our business model, as it is today, started evolving.
If you look at our catalog, it’s not like any other that you’re going to see in the traditional IT distributor cloud marketplaces or in some of the other cloud marketplaces that are out there. We’re bringing the software-as-a-service applications that are line of business — marketing, sales, accounting, ERP, all sorts of business intelligence applications — that would normally not be available in the traditional IT cloud distributor platforms to the channel.
There are thousands of SaaS applications and the people making decisions on buying software-as-a-service are in martech and fintech, and they’re doing business intelligence. The channel is shifting as to who the buyers are and the types of solutions and products that are available. We’re bringing that to the channel to make them realize that they have the opportunity to bring these to their customers, as well.
We’re giving SaaS companies the ability to leverage the channel that, in many cases, they didn’t even realize exists. A good portion of our channel partners are in telecom; they’re also in IT, they’re MSPs, VARs and all the traditional partners that we know about, but hosting providers as well Just last night we had a marketing agency sign up. We have Google adword and SEO experts who sign up; we have accountants and born-in-the-loud resellers signing up — even bloggers.
So we’re seeing how the channel is broadening to include the experts in domains as opposed to in IT.
CP: How many products are in the SaaSMax Marketplace and how many partners are you currently doing business with? Also, is the company national or global?
DM: We did an assessment a few weeks ago and we have …
… members of SaaSMax, vendors and resellers, from about 85 countries. It’s mostly the partner side that makes it that wide, because solution providers around the world are looking for new and innovative products. On the other side, there are vendors looking to get into the U.S. market.
We have over 200 applications in our marketplace today and our pipeline is changing weekly. On the reseller side we have over 2,000 registered.
CP: How does SaaSMax enable partners?
SM: We’re online and the listings are there, but we’re very proactively making introductions and talking with our partners to understand their businesses and make introductions and recommendations to get them on the right product.
We have SaaS channel strategists. So when a partner signs up on SaaSMax — and there’s no charge for a partner to sign up — we reach out and schedule a time to talk to them about what we offer. Really, it’s more to learn about their business and make sure we run by them the different solutions that we think would be right for them.
We set up a meeting and it turns into the right product or several products, and the vendor and partner begin to do business. Our goal is to create successful matches.
We also give them tools. Those will be evolving over the next few months; we will also soon be rolling out our next-generation platform that will allow each reseller to have their own SaaS store and more.
With the next-generation platform, which we call our reseller commerce platform, won’t force the vendors to accommodate and invest technical resources to fit into what we’re doing. Instead, the platform will accommodate any type of pricing structure and any type of reseller program.
So, we’re accommodating them and can basically take on any type of SaaS business model and any type of reseller program, whether it’s a commission off the retail price, a wholesale structure, a white label and resell, or just an online digital affiliate referral. We can accommodate all of those.
CP: How is SaaSMax reaching out to partners?
DM: We have the support of mainstream industry analysts — the Gartner award, for example — so the industry is paying attention and that’s driving new business to us. We also do a lot of outreach to solution providers in the traditional IT channel; we recognize that they will be included among our partners of the future, along with the broader channel I mentioned earlier.
So, we’ll be at ChannelCon; I’m on the CompTIA Business Applications Advisory Council, and they give us a lot of opportunity to bring our thought leadership and our view of the future to the channel — and we’re seeing shifts in what we’re doing.
Online we use social media and because there’s a need for SaaS, we’re seeing …
a lot of inbound inquiries. We do a lot of online webinars and education, both for SaaS companies on how to build their channel and for reseller partners on the formula for successfully transforming to a SaaS business.
We do partner perspective webinars and interview our partners on how they’re successfully transforming.
For vendors, we offer a micro consulting program. If they’re new to the channel we make it very affordable to build a world-class partner program with best practices. We give them all the templates, we guide them, we reduce that cost — probably by two-thirds — so instead of hiring a traditional channel consultant, our goal is to have them build it as quickly as possible and understand how to run and manage it. Then we get them into recruiting partners.
That value-added component is educating the SaaS sector on how to bring themselves into the channel, because it’s different than a direct marketing play.
Our CMO for channel development is Ted Finch. He’s developed channel partner programs for over 450 companies at this point in his career, and he knows this stuff like the back of his hand.
CP: What’s the value-add that you bring to channel partners?
DM: The value-add on the partner side is two-fold. First, we’re their personal concierge and will save them hours and headaches in trying to figure out which solutions are right for them and who they should partner with. It’s one thing to find the right solution, but does that solution offer a partner program? We can help them with that. We’re a filter for them.
Secondly, we’re also a one-stop shop for partners, providing tools so that they can do business with the vendor. And once they have their own SaaS reseller storefront, it’s even more exciting.
It’s a soup-to-nuts experience that we’re building.
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