How to sell cloud services in the digital marketplace
Cloud computing is a potential emerging in the IT industry. More and more companies integrate Cloud services, not as a distinguishing mark against their competitors, but to fit in with technological changes.
Currently, more than 90% of the companies use a cloud computing solution. In the second quarter of 2014, CompTIA released a study which stated that many companies use this kind of services for their daily business processes: 59% use them for storage, 48% for business continuity and disaster recovery and 44% for security.
In addition, the majority of companies that were reluctant to these new changes have already started to migrate to cloud services: 44% of companies that already had cloud services have hired more, 25% have migrated from a public cloud to a private cloud and 24% have moved from a public cloud to a shrinkwrap (on-premises software).
Other companies, instead of integrating cloud services in their own core business, have seen that selling them to other companies can be a business opportunity. To do so, they create a Marketplace, this is, an electronic platform in which third parties include their cloud services to be sold. In this place, sellers and buyers are in contact until the commercial transaction is finished, always guaranteeing a secure operation.
AppDirect, NEC, Parallels, JamCracker or Azure are the main and most famous global cloud brokers nowadays.
Submit service details
As it happens with any demand and offer marketplace, the digital marketplace is a place where users go to find services. This is why such services need to be advertised and explained. The more detailed the explanation of the product, the easier it will be for potential users to understand if it fits their needs.
Here we can see an example of AppDirect’s marketplace in the category Mobile Development.
All the applications are arranged on three columns: the first column is where the logo is, then we see the text column with the name of the application (and an optional tag for the trial), followed by a short description and a summary of what you can do with it. The third column is reserved for the pricing and two buttons, one to see the full profile and another one to compare the application with others.
If we enter the application, we see the full profile:
Here we can see several tabs. On the first one (Overview) we see a longer description, followed by the features and benefits of that application, and on each tag we’ll see the application explained in detail (Features, Reviews, Questions, Support, Editions & Pricing, Terms & Conditions).
Enable easy registration system
Focused on business clients as applications in the digital marketplace may be, this doesn’t mean that their potential users must be “in the know” of how these applications work. This is why simpler is better: a straightforward registration process and user area will make life much easier for users.
Some of the functionalities that users appreciate the most are the following:
- An easy login – with not too many data asked and one which doesn’t send them through different screens.
- A visual user area with easy access to everything they need.
- A shopping cart that is easy to find.
- Area with products hired to be reviewed.
Offer trial period and probation
There are some companies that don‘t allow users to get a refund for the products or services acquired or to unsubscribe from a service, which creates a feeling of distrust and anger. A trial period is a good way to avoid this, building customer loyalty as this way they are able to test the product or service and see if it meets their needs, thus saving money if it doesn’t.
Offering a trial period, as well as being a way to respect and protect consumers’ rights, is also a good marketing tool, because it helps users to overcome doubts and prompts them to take the final step: the purchase of a product or the engagement of a service.
On the other hand, offering a trial is a good strategy to attract clients to consume a determined product, even if they were not initially interested in it. If the product’s characteristics convince them, they are likely to buy it. After this, companies can generate statistics relating to the number of product sales after the trial and draw conclusions on what they have to change to make it more attractive thanks to the feedback given by clients.
Normally, companies offer a trial period of 15 to 30 days and, after that time, customers can decide if they want to acquire the product or unsubscribe from it, since there is no long-term contract.
Provide dedicated support
Providing dedicated support is a good practice to offer an added value to your product, since it increases the reliability in, and credibility of, the service, and can generate trust among your current and potential users. Competition is constantly increasing and you have to innovate if you want to make a difference.
Due to the boom of the internet, users have access to a plethora of information and document themselves before choosing a service. One of the reasons why a customer will choose your service instead of another company’s is because you can transmit security, and this is achieved if they feel you are worried and understand them and you share their concerns to any problems that may occur.
Dedicated support is an action that must last the whole process, from the moment a client looks for information about the services and products, until they buy them. Not all the support must be conceived as an after-sale service. ISV companies must be able to explain how the product works and solve any doubts that the prospective client may have beforehand. As Jeffrey Gitomer said, “Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless”.
Make bundled special offers
Bundling products and services can be a smart strategy to boost your business since you can benefits from several commercial advantages. The main advantage for bundling products is that it is a successful way to upsell products in which a client may not be interested otherwise. Therefore, it is a good way to expand your selling market, since potential clients will buy additional products or services to those they intended on buying on the first place..
Also, the seller has to define their characteristics (description, target market, price, etc.) of the product or service very precisely, so that the clients can know in advance what they are acquiring and how much it is costing them.
But what is great about bundling is that it is an effective practice to differentiate you from your competitors, since clients will feel they are acquiring something new, original and fresh. In addition, it allows marketers to focus their strategy on a specific field and market and try to be the best in it.
Finally, clients prefer to acquire products jointly instead of separately if they can benefit from an important reduction on the final price. It is an efficient method to strengthen the loyalty and trust among your clients and also to attract new ones.