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Don't go it alone; partner for success.

Direct sales are conducted by your staff directly with your customers. Indirect sales occur when you partner with another company in a revenue-sharing arrangement. Your partner assists in making the sale, and you both share the profits.

Key Questions
  • Internal sales and marketing?
  • Microsoft?
  • Solution providers?
  • Other hosting providers?
  • Private-label hosters?
  • Independent software vendors (ISVs)?
  • Post-sale support?
Think about your business as a part of an ecosystem. Start with your customer's perspective, and think about other solutions they might need in addition to your product/service. This provides a starting list of potential partners you can contact. Keep in mind, potential partners exist both up and down the value chain.
You can also build indirect sales with an increased channel presence from strategic private-label versions of your product or service. Private-label resales can give you access previously inaccessible market segments.
In building your partnerships, make the same tools available to your own direct sales team and your indirect sales partners.
Partnering is an essential function in the success of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) deployment.
Why it's important
In the emerging world of SaaS, ISV success will be determined by how effectively they leverage additional paths to market. Hosting providers need to provision strategic applications and services. This involves finding strategic and creative opportunities to partner with other firms within their value chains.
Applications of the Best Practice
An operator recently launched a marketplace, architected to qualify, certify, and deliver hosted SharePoint applications through a single shell user interface and into its defined markets.
Another operator held a contest targeting ISVs to discover applications that were relevant for its market.
Some smaller operators are looking for private-label operators that provision applications on a sub- or co-branded basis, while the operators themselves source vertical applications to pursue deep opportunities within their markets.
To provide an entry point, the hosting provider offers a free Business Email Light package, based on Exchange, offering a simple future upgrade path to full MAPI. Another option available to the standard package is an upgrade to full mobility.
By offering a single core package with clear added-value, and ancillary offerings around it, the hosting provider is clearly targeting a particular customer base, and increasing the chance of upgrade option sales.
See examples of how indirect and direct sales can boost your marketing offer: