This article is based on a presentation given by Eyal Worthalter at #GTM23 in San Diego. As a GTM Blueprint member, you can enjoy the complete recording here. For more exclusive content, head over to your membership dashboard.

Since giving this presentation, Eyal has taken on a new role as Vice President of Sales at Vicarius. Congratulations, Eyal! 🎉 

Is outbound sales dead? It's a question I've grappled with for years. Let me tell you why. 

I work at Utimaco, a cybersecurity vendor. When I built our sales organization from the ground up, it went really well – at first. We quickly doubled the size of the business, but then I hit a wall trying to sell to enterprises.

Nothing worked – not sales technology, not email engagement, nothing! That's when I started wondering if the outbound motion was dying, at least for enterprise cybersecurity sales. It made me worry about my career as a sales leader.

Then we were purchased by new shareholders. After a successful exit, we re-evaluated our go-to-market approach. I handed off responsibility for direct sales and started building a new cloud go-to-market strategy, determined to try something different.

We decided to build an ecosystem through partnerships, inspired by companies like Lego that grew tremendously thanks to partnerships with major brands like Disney and Nintendo. Given our focus on encryption and key management, we couldn't be the central ecosystem – but we could participate as partners in the larger cloud ecosystem.

We chose AWS and Microsoft as our main partners and decided to start by listing our products on their marketplaces. But now we faced a fresh challenge – how could we stand out from their thousands of other partners? 

It was a lot of work, but we cracked the code. As of today, we’ve pulled in about $2 million in revenue thanks to our cloud marketplace partnerships – and I’m here to show you how.

The benefits of B2B cloud marketplaces

B2B marketplaces are fast gaining traction due to a few main benefits:

  1. They increase efficiency in the sales process.
  2. They allow buyers to buy more confidently because there are user reviews and ways to validate that the software they're buying actually works. 
  3. They allow buyers to spend smarter, using budgets they've already had approved.

But what's in it for software vendors? There are four main things I want to call your attention to:

  1. It's really easy to sell through the marketplace – you just add your listing and you’re good to go.
  2. They can drastically increase your sales velocity by cutting out lengthy procurement processes. Rather than having to onboard you as a vendor and establish a master services agreement, buyers can go directly through Microsoft, using their terms and conditions. Selling through the marketplace cut our sales process from 13 weeks to just three weeks. 
  3. You can tap into buyers’ pre-approved budgets – Budgets are limited right now, so CFOs are examining potential purchases with a magnifying glass. If you’re selling in a cloud marketplace, you can get around that scrutiny because buyers will be using part of the budget that’s already been allocated to Microsoft, AWS, or Google Cloud.
  4. It helps you gain recognition and drive more revenue. The aim of selling your product through a cloud marketplace shouldn’t be just to pick up a few more leads; the real goal is to amplify your positioning – and with the right strategy, you can do just that.

In essence, marketplaces allow both buyers and sellers to do more with less – something that shareholders, boards, and executive teams are pushing us to do. 

Cloud co-selling: The payoff

We went from zero marketplace listings to three in a few months. We immediately got the Microsoft partnership team to give us some marketing development funds. They did a co-branded brochure with us on Microsoft Security. They even put some ad spend behind it and did a solution overview video – an interview talking about our solution and how it works with their suite of products. 

We were starting to get a few leads here and there, but not tons. People started asking questions internally – we’d put a lot of time and effort into launching on cloud marketplaces, but we weren’t yet seeing a huge payoff in terms of the number of leads.

Then, slowly, we began to see the fruits of our labor. Microsoft sellers started to notice the content and collateral we made with them. Then they started pointing it out to their customers and bringing us into sales conversations.

Suddenly, we were talking to major companies we hadn’t been able to reach before. A Microsoft Account Manager set up a meeting with a Fortune 500 company. When we won that deal, word started to spread among Microsoft sellers.