It cannot be argued that digitalization is continuing to drive, and define how marketplaces and ecosystems are built and moderated in the twenty-first century. Online marketplaces have evolved, adapting to the trends being observed based upon the behavior of the demographics engaging within them.

The B2B industry will continue to grow, with some estimates pointing to 17% of all transactions worldwide will be via e-commerce by 2023.

As a vendor, building a thriving partner marketplace can be a great platform that opens many possibilities to find new partners, but also to facilitate ecosystems where partners build off the strengths and weaknesses of each other.

Organizations such as Salesforce, Google, Oracle, and many others have proven how partners are the backbone of marketplaces.

Partners are playing ever-increasing importance and role in marketplaces. Whether it be acting a single piece of the puzzle and filling a single feature gap, or by aggregating and integrating other outside systems the market wants to see but the vendor may not have the resources to build yet. SMB to Enterprise, marketplaces not only help your product become stickier, but they also help to elevate your brand beyond just a product.

Let’s explore some of the key roles that partners contribute towards a Partner marketplace:

1) Increased market knowledge

Partners are the hub for all information in the marketplace. They have the data of what’s happening in the market. This data is crucial for any organization since it is related to the preference of customers on the products & services, pricing of products from competitive organizations, new technological updates, and many other factors. This data is a great way for any organization to gain firsthand knowledge they might not have easy access to.

“Channel professionals are looking at data across the partner journey as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition and accelerate faster in the market.”
— Jay McBain

“Business and IT decision-makers are keenly aware that big data represents tremendous value if they are able to capitalize on it.”

—John Foley

2) New Route to Market

Partner marketplaces serve as a new route to market for partners to expose their products and services. Partner marketplaces help you understand what’s going to work well for your customer, and what the end customer is ultimately looking for in a solution. By encouraging your partners to participate in marketplaces, or for your organization to even consider building one opens up entirely new options for additional routes to market.

In addition to a new route to market, and increasing the exposure of your products, ecosystems, and marketplaces are a gold-mine of information that is quickly accessed, or more readily available due to the sheer volume of partners participating in marketplaces today.

A. Reactions to market pressures

B. Impact of SPIFFS

C. Ability to quickly measure promotions and incentives

D. Measure gaps in product portfolios

E. Easily measure partner engagement as it relates to the participation in the Partner marketplaces as a whole

3) Helps in channel growth

Most markets today are competitive, there is no denying that. On the flip side, it has never been easier to bring a web-based application to market. However, in order to reach every segment of the market, organizations must relay and encourage help from their channel and field marketers. Field marketers act as a platform to reach small sections of the market, honing in on potentially unknown partners who might otherwise slip through the cracks. By tapping into field marketing through marketplaces, vendors can be increasing their awareness of additional services offered by existing partners.

4) Network Expansion

Partner Marketplaces act as a catalyst for awareness on both sides of the vendor/partner relationship. Chances are, your partners work with other organizations you don’t even know about yet. By encouraging participation in, or actually building a marketplace your organization is essentially saying to the world “we are encouraging competition, we are encouraging collaboration. When partners start to feel this approach from your organization, it opens them up to collaborate with you even more and makes them feel even more comfortable bringing other partners to the table for you to do business with.

5) Time is Money

Time is money, and marketplaces are a huge time saver. That is why places like Salesforce’s AppExchange are so popular. Instead of going to Google and searching through countless pages of ads, clicking through websites, and trying to find the fine print, it’s so much easier to just go to the AppExchange to look for Deal Registration software. Anything that is presented has already been vetted by Salesforce, so the end customer knows it will integrate with Salesforce.

Hubspot, Salesforce, Google… they all have built marketplaces because they know their end customer is looking for solutions that already work with their products. A Partner marketplace is an easy way to help the end customer find that, so partners should double down on their participation in these marketplaces wherever possible. The buyer’s intent is already there.

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