abstract hero image for cloud gtm platform for cloud marketplace listing transacting and more

What is Cloud Go-to-Market (GTM)? From Strategy to Marketplace Operations

At the peak of the pre-Covid tech boom, a new category began to emerge: cloud go-to-market, or cloud GTM for short. 

With a nod towards the Salesforce AppExchange, one of the first B2B marketplaces, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud launched their cloud marketplaces. These hyperscalers understood, like Salesforce before them, that customers across the board – from brand new startups to major enterprises – needed an easier, more affordable way to procure solutions. With this new opportunity was the need to develop cloud GTM strategies and to learn to operationalize the co-sell motion. 

When the cloud GTM category began to emerge, capital was cheap and the pain points of selling on cloud marketplace were clear. Investors had no problem pouring millions of dollars into a new concept: a platform that would make it easier to manage your cloud marketplace listings – all in one place. The evidence that buyers prefer an all-in-one marketplace was evident in how quickly Amazon became the go-to marketplace for B2C buyers. 

As interest rates spiked and venture capital dried up, a new reality took hold – and suddenly no one in the tech world could ignore the rising importance of cloud marketplaces. Startups and ISVs could no longer depend on their traditional revenue channels to reach success. While many ISVs struggled to stay afloat amid rounds of layoffs, the tech giants like AWS, Salesforce, Microsoft and Google solidified their dominance. By 2023, customers were spending billions of dollars purchasing solutions on cloud marketplaces. 

Here’s a look at why ISVs are investing in their cloud go-to-market strategy and operations, and how a cloud GTM platform like Invisory can help accelerate cloud marketplace success. 

 

Benefits of cloud GTM

  • Access to new revenue streams, markets, and customers
  • Co-selling opportunities with cloud sales teams 
  • Easier procurement, including a simplified legal process
  • Faster sales cycles
  • Better retention
  • Easier integration – solutions are designed to integrate with the cloud CSP or CRM 
  • Opportunity to leverage cloud commit spend
  • Built-in  trust – customers are more likely to approve of your solution if it has gone through a rigorous security review and has a stamp of approval from a major tech brand 
  • Low fees (AWS, Google, and Azure’s fees are around 2-3%)
  • Customizable private offers, which makes it easier to close big enterprise clients and other brands 

 

Operationalizing cloud GTM 

While the opportunity of earning millions – or even billions – in revenue on cloud marketplaces is the new reality, seeing success doesn’t happen overnight. To get the cloud GTM motion in place can take upwards of 18-24 months, though most ISVs start seeing some traction and leading indicators of success by month 6 or 7.

In general, an ISV’s cloud GTM operation is spearheaded by an Alliance, Channel, or Cloud Partner team, which often begins with just one person. When marketplace revenue reaches $10M and then $100M, ISVs begin building a more robust operation around the channel. With some ISVs seeing $1B+ in revenue from marketplaces alone, the opportunity for growing your cloud marketplace operation is immense. 

To start co-selling in the cloud marketplaces, ISVs need to complete the listing and transacting requirement. From there, they can start applying to accelerator programs such as AWS ISV Accelerate, Google’s Cloud Partner Advantage program, Salesforce Accelerate, and Microsoft’s Azure ISV Success. These programs help ISVs get connected with a PDM (partner development manager) or PAM (partner account manager), who can help identify potential customers and cloud sales reps. 

Note, however, that you’ll need to show some track record of success before getting the attention of your PDM or PAM. Be sure to prepare customer win stories and case studies that you can share to highlight early success. You’ll also want to have best-in-class marketing collateral to showcase how your solution can help cloud reps sell more of their company’s products.

 

Cloud GTM by function 

As your cloud marketplace operation grows from an initial listing to a full fledged revenue machine, you’ll need to get buy-in from a whole host of stakeholders to really put the cloud GTM motion into place. Cloud go-to-market is a true company-wide commitment, beginning with partnership strategy and executive buy-in. 

  • Executives. To expand your investment in cloud GTM, you’ll need buy-in from your CEO, CRO, and/or CFO. As decision makers for key budgeting decisions, from hiring a Cloud Alliance team to finalizing budgets for cloud co-marketing opportunities, demonstrating the potential impact is key.
  • Partners/Alliances. Partner and Alliance leaders usually specialize in one marketplace, say Salesforce or AWS. After demonstrating success on one marketplace, it makes sense to start hiring new Partnership team members who specialize in new marketplaces or channels to further your reach. Many Partner and Alliance experts work with a GTM partner like Invisory to cover key gaps. 
  • Sales. At first, co-selling with cloud leaders and navigating cloud committed spend can feel awkward for some sales reps. But as they grow accustomed to the motion, they will quickly see the benefits of having another person advocating for their solution. As their marketplace motion matures, sales leaders might hire marketplace sales reps, cloud liaisons who connect ISV sales reps with the cloud reps, and even a marketplace deal desk team. 
  • Finance and Operations. Solidifying the cloud marketplace channel into a legitimate operation will be key. 
  • Marketing. And don’t forget ISV marketing! ISVs that are new to cloud marketplaces generally struggle to get marketing’s attention, which is why so many of them partner with Invisory, a cloud GTM platform that focuses on automating GTM deliverables. Your marketing team will help you tell your “better together” story, creating collateral that grabs the attention of cloud sales rep. And once a cloud marketplace channel is more established, it’s not uncommon for ISVs to hire a partner marketing specialist.

 

The emergence of ecosystem-led growth

Cloud GTM fits into the broader idea of ecosystem-led growth, which is based on the concept that companies are more successful when they lean into their strengths and form strategic partnerships. ISVs are better when they create specialized products that integrate with the ecosystem, as opposed to all-in-one solutions that fall short. 

 

ELG deals close 31% faster and overall are 49% more likely to close, according to Nearbound. The stats are clear: by selling with partners, ISVs win more – and faster. 

 

The rise of cloud GTM platform

As you can imagine, establishing a multi-million dollar revenue channel is no easy task. That’s why more ISVs are investing in a cloud GTM platform like Invisory. With a cloud GTM platform, companies can manage listing, co-selling, private offers, metering, and GTM deliverables like 1-pagers – all in one place. Invisory’s GTM cloud platform, customer support model, and expert-built playbooks help accelerate success for ISVs on the Salesforce AppExchange, AWS Marketplace, and Azure, with more marketplaces coming soon. 

Ready to take your cloud marketplace motion to the next level? Reach out to Invisory today. 

Share our post on social media and tell us what you think!

Resources to help you grow & scale your business

The Black Hat USA 2024 conference, which will take place August 3-8, 2024 in Las Vegas, is just around the corner, and

If you’re an ISV looking for a new revenue channel, you’re probably listed (or thinking about listing) on cloud marketplaces. Maybe you’re

At the peak of the pre-Covid tech boom, a new category began to emerge: cloud go-to-market, or cloud GTM for short.  With