Every SaaS startup wants to be the next unicorn. A new program run by the largest technology distributor in the world wants to help you get there.
Scaling your startup poses a number of unique challenges.
There’s the operational and technical issues around getting the right architectures and services to build and maintain your solution on cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure.
Then, once your products are up and running, you need to figure out how to take them to market and gain visibility and exposure to maximise sales.
Trying to do all this on your own is expensive and time and labour-intensive.
Choosing the right distribution partner can successfully lead your ISV (independent software vendor) business into the cloud and reach new markets.
This is where being part of an online cloud platform, marketplace and ecosystem like Ingram Micro Cloud can help. Ingram Micro Cloud’s new ISV Activate program provides a roadmap for SaaS companies to scale quickly and efficiently, in a cost-effective way.
The program provides all the services your software startup needs at any stage of your business. This includes technical and infrastructure support, helping you define your channel strategy, educating you about the channel and how to create partner-to-partner relationships with service providers and resellers, how to brand and market your product to co-sell with partners, and introducing you to new marketplaces where you can build a channel if you don’t already have one.
ISV Activate uses a framework approach.
“We call it a flywheel that will guide ISVs throughout the journey to make sure that we help scale their business so they grow with us and Microsoft,” says Arash Heidari, Senior Global Practice Manager at Ingram Micro Cloud.
“It’s not a program where you have to start from A and go through each step to Z. The framework means we start wherever you’re at, whether that’s initial concept or you already have an existing SaaS product and customers and want to scale.”
Let’s take a closer look at the key parts of ISV Activate:
Technical services and support
No matter how great your SaaS product is, if it’s not supported by robust, secure and well-maintained systems, it won’t work properly and your customers will leave you for the competition.
Ingram Micro Cloud has partnered with Microsoft Azure and together they provide technical guidance and support to build and maintain your solution in a well-architected ecosystem.
If you’re using another platform, Ingram Micro Cloud will help to migrate you across for free. If you’re already using Azure, enrolling in ISV Activate will help you access deeper discounts as well as a host of additional professional services available.
Go-to-market strategy and support
Getting in front of your ideal customers – whether they’re large corporations, small and medium-sized enterprises or home users – is essential to grow your SaaS business.
The way you do this is having the right marketing strategy and distribution channels in place. You have to work out if your company is even channel-ready, what your channel strategy is and how you’ll be successful in the channel.
If you’re like most startups, you may not be familiar with the distribution model and instead try to only sell directly to your end consumer.
“Many SaaS companies don’t think about the channel or the power of the channel and how they can scale by leveraging other IT service companies to help resell their solutions,” says Arash.
Watch video: Startup Daily chats to Arash Heidari from Ingram Micro Cloud
Ingram Micro Cloud’s diverse network of distributors and resellers through Microsoft offers you the opportunity to increase sales and revenue by leveraging collaborative selling or co-selling.
“If the ISV decides to go to the channel and chooses that route, we can help them to leverage all of the programs that are available within the vendor, including Microsoft and all the co-sell programs,” explains Arash. “We make sure that they have all the prerequisites and the requirements to meet all the necessary milestones.”
Whether you go the reseller route or do want to sell directly to your end consumer, you have to get your marketing strategies right.
The ISV Activate program provides help with both these scenarios, giving you access to large marketing agencies at a heavily discounted rate. “We help you with the right messaging, and then build the marketing strategy to target those customers in different market verticals,” says Arash. “Your marketing must be designed to be easily consumed and able to be altered for co-branding purposes.”
Selling and scaling
Once you’ve decided on the channels you want to sell in, you need to ensure you have clear and easy-to-understand onboarding and support processes that are well-documented.
You also need the tools to handle working with multiple partners and track their prospects, customers and support agreements.
Support and guidance for all this is available in the ISV Activate program.
How much does ISV Activate cost?
The good news is that there are no fees to enrol in the ISV Activate program. Thanks to funding from both Microsoft and Ingram Micro Cloud, many of the tools and resources are provided free.
There are some costs for technical, professional and marketing services, but these are typically offered at vastly discounted rates.
Ultimately, you’ll save money (and increase your chances of making it) by being part of an integrated and optimised, end-to-end technical, marketing and sales infrastructure.
This article is brought to you by Startup Daily in partnership with Ingram Micro.
Feature image: AdobeStock