The Power of Sharing Ideas: AppDirect's GTM Roundtables

By Christophe Girault / Feb 23, 2016

Blog Roundtable

At AppDirect, we strongly believe in the power of software ecosystems, and we strive every day to connect the dots between our developer community, our channel partners, and end users. Ultimately, their success is our success, so we want to make sure developers and partners spend time with each other to share their ideas and experiences to maximize opportunities.

That’s precisely the reason why we've created our biannual Go-to-Market (GTM) Roundtable events. These gatherings provide our valued partners—including telecom companies, value-added resellers (VARs) and distributors, systems integrators (SIs), managed service providers (MSPs), and hosting service providers (HSPs)—with a unique opportunity to meet with their peers and learn from each other in a small, friendly, trusted environment.

What do these events usually entail? A group of 10 to 15 customers meet in a central location, typically one of AppDirect’s regional offices. Over the course of two days, the AppDirect team and our partners collectively try to answer the question that we know is everyone’s top concern: How can we monetize the cloud opportunity faster and better?

To help answer this “billion dollar question,” we often ask one of our born in the cloud partners, either channel or ISV, to open the session and share the GTM strategy that has made them so successful in the SaaS market.

Then we split in non-competing groups to share individual presentations. In these sessions, we ask our partners to share their challenges, most successful initiatives, and “failed experiments,” which can often be just as insightful. These presentations are very interactive and offer the perfect forum to ask questions and deep-dive into specific topics. An AppDirect moderator is always present to facilitate and refocus the discussion, as well as keep track of emerging themes and follow-up actions.

We’re thrilled that our partners now consider these meetings must-attend events, too. As an executive from TeliaSonera recently put it, “Danke schön to AppDirect for the GTM Roundtable. It’s great to see you all again as well as exchange ideas with other telcos. I had a blast!” British Telecom agreed, adding, “Another great AppDirect event. Thanks for organizing this and hosting us for some really good sharing of insights and best practices.”

Our third EMEA-focused GTM Roundtable actually just took place in our Munich offices. This time around, we welcomed our newest EMEA customers—including Vodafone and Cancom—alongside our long-term partners, Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, British Telecom, and TeliaSonera. As always, the discussions were deep, thoughtful, and wide-ranging. Here’s just a snapshot of some of the areas we covered:

GTM Challenges

  • Without assisted sales, customers look for guidance that they can’t get, and eventually are lost.
  • An app portfolio that is too complex—with a lot of specialized apps that don’t resonate with most customers—makes them difficult to sell and get too far away from the core business.
  • The pitfalls of trying to capture everyone as a potential customer instead of targeting relevant audiences
  • Expensive above-the-line campaigns (e.g., television, print, billboard) often don't gain much traction when trying to raise generic awareness about "cloud marketplaces."
  • Bundling cloud apps with core services drives huge volume, but creates challenges when it comes to onboarding and activation.

GTM Successes

  • Combined mobile-Internet-data plans bundled with Microsoft Office 365, free for three months, and inclusive onboarding calls resulted in more than 1,000 active customers over three months.
  • Shortening trial steps from six to three resulted in greater than 69 percent conversion from registration to trial.
  • Selling a website building app to specific target customers (start-ups, freelancers, small-home office businesses), including a four-month free trial, through pure online self-service resulted in converting more than 20 percent of trials to paying customers.
  • Reducing deployment time (from point of sale to service availability) to less than four business days resulted in an adoption rate that is 9 times higher than baseline.

Improvements to GTM Strategies

  • Simplify Office 365 messaging and strengthen value proposition; move from product/feature-led points to benefit-led messages, and keep them simple.
  • Use existing core websites to drive traffic to unknown marketplace properties and educate customers on segment-specific solutions that are relevant to their businesses.
  • Focus on value propositions of a single or limited number of apps to further simplify offer
  • Sales teams need training and support to ramp-up their knowledge on cloud apps
  • Focus on below-the-line rather than above-the-line campaigns
  • Incentivize both sales representatives and managers to sell cloud applications
  • Focus on incubating a highly skilled, dedicated cloud support team with the ability to sell and support cloud applications (that is, use the trusted advisor approach).

Once again we found ourselves running out of time to dig even deeper into these topics and address the dozens of others that came up. Thankfully, the next session is always right around the corner, and we are always looking to engage with parters and prospects about best practices in the meantime. We look forward to meeting you all at our next GTM Roundtable!

Christophe Girault heads the Global Customer Success team at AppDirect.