As an ISV, one of your primary goals to build presence in the Microsoft marketplace would be to generate and close more leads to see an upward trajectory in revenue. Invariably, you need to have a robust plan in place to manage the leads that come your way. Without a structured process, you are bound to lose your leads on the way, resulting in loss of potential business as well as a poor brand experience.
Fortunately, in the Microsoft marketplace, you can seamlessly manage your leads in an efficient and effective manner. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about managing your leads in the Microsoft marketplace and how you can build a thriving business out there.
Leads in the Microsoft marketplace
Before we discuss the specifics of the leads that come your way, let’s take a look at some of the basic terminologies and concepts that you will come across. To begin with, leads are essentially buyers in the Microsoft marketplace, who show an interest in your product or service and can be your potential customers.
As a marketplace, Microsoft has specific terms for specific leads based on their level of interest. These levels are to a large extent dependent on the type of offer that you publish. A lead will be different for a Get it Now offer vs that for a Contact Me offer. Here is a quick snapshot:
- On top of the acquisition funnel is the Initial Interest Lead. This is most common for Contact Me offers and when customers click on Contact Me for your Microsoft marketplace offer, they are giving a consent to share their information with the seller, which in this case is you, as an ISV. Since the customer here has requested you to contact them, chances are high that you will be able to convert them with the right sales approach.
- Next are Active Leads which come your way when someone has already started deploying your product using the Get it Now option on your offer listing. These leads are specific for transactable offers. While the customer has already initiated the deployment, getting access to their information as an active lead can enable you to upsell and cross sell.
- Finally, the third type of leads result from your offer option of Test Drive or Free Trial. These potential customers would like to get a feel of your solution before committing to it for a long term. These leads provide you with a great opportunity to not only talk about your solution but actually let them experience it, resulting in accelerated sales.
Accessing generated leads
With 4 million active visitors in Microsoft marketplace as your potential customers, you are likely to receive leads at great speed and volume, especially, once you have established your brand and have explored co-selling opportunities. However, if you do not have the right tools and process to access and manage your leads properly, it will become very overwhelming for you and your team to scale your sales and revenue.
Here connecting your Microsoft publisher account to your CRM or Customer Relationship Management system like Azure Table or SalesForce CRM System, is a wise choice. Though optional for most offers, except Test Drive, a CRM connection can help you easily access the leads generated for you in the Microsoft marketplace. The process is quite simple:
- On the Microsoft partner portal, click on the Customer Leads option and select Connect
- A Connection Details dialog box will appear, select the destination for the lead
- Fill in the required details to complete the fields
- Click on Validate link to validate the configuration
- Select Connect and you are done
With this, accessing your leads will become very easy. You will receive them directly in your CRM system and can ensure that all data points are well captured. Furthermore, with all data in one place, you can easily create a robust follow up process to convert your leads into customers. It would be wise to try out the process by trying to make a purchase by sharing your details to check whether or not you receive them in your system.
Understanding the leads to create custom approaches
When you receive the leads in your CRM system, there will be different fields containing important information that you need to pay heed to. Firstly, it will have inputs on which Microsoft marketplace the lead has been generated from, i.e. AppSource or Azure. As you may know, the target audience and decision makers for both of them are different, your approach to managing them and fine tuning your pitch should work accordingly. You can read more about the differences here.
Second, you will get information on key data about the customers, including their names, organization, designation and contact information. This data again is very crucial. On the one hand, the designation will help you understand what should be the selling point for your pitch. If the CEO of a company is your lead, you need to focus on the overall business impact. However, in the case of a CTO, put a lot of emphasis on the tech orientation of your solution. Knowledge of the organization will help you share specific use cases and success stories to make the sale better.
The lead you receive will also have information on specific type it is or for the option on the offer (Contact Me, Free Trial, etc.) it is for. This will help you understand which level of the funnel the lead is currently at and how you should navigate the ship ahead. If you are running multiple offers, you will obviously receive information about which offer this lead is for in the Microsoft marketplace.
An amalgamation of all these data points together can help you make your follow ups and pitches very customized and personalized based on the needs of the customer. We are living in the era of hyper customization and if your follow ups are generic for all types of leads and customer personas, the chances of conversion will be very dim. Therefore, enable your team to craft specific messages for each customer in a way that each follow up adds value and is specific to what the customer needs.
Nurturing and converting leads to raise revenue
Conversion of leads goes beyond accessing and managing them and requires a strategic focus along with an executory mindset. Here are a few key takeaways from our Microsoft marketplace experts that can help you nurture and convert your leads for long term business success:
Define your sales cycle
Have a clear sales process and cycle for each lead. This requires you to clearly define key milestones, metrics and ownership for the entire sales process. The idea is to ensure that right from when the lead reaches your CRM to when the customer becomes a recurring stakeholder, there are specific steps and accountability in place. Document and communicate this to the entire team and keep refreshing the same.
Once you receive the lead, don’t spend more than 24 hours in making the first contact.Today, we live in a time where customers seek instant gratification and if they don’t hear from you soon, they are likely to move to your competitor. Therefore, agility and speed are of key importance in the Microsoft marketplace.
Furthermore, the more time you waste, the colder they will become and you will soon be out of their mind. Depending on the type of lead, you can email them requesting a call or a walkthrough of your SaaS solution. The objective is to make an immediate first contact as soon as an interest comes your way.
Follow up consistently
Finally, your follow up shouldn’t end with your first email to the customer. In case you don;t receive a response, you should keep your efforts going. Since they did show an interest voluntarily, you should keep nurturing them. However, this doesn’t mean you email your leads every day or call them up every hour. Rather, you need to create a concrete follow up plan. Furthermore, make your follow ups meaningful for the leads with some updates and your success stories in the Microsoft marketplace.
From leads to customers with SaaSify
As we come to the end, it is very important to remember that ensuring your offer in the Microsoft marketplace is technically and operationally sound is imperative. Buyers in the Microsoft marketplace will become your leads based on this first impression. To facilitate high levels of excellence, you can rely on SaaSify’s zero engineering platform to publish your offer within a week.
Furthermore, features like automation, listing management support, creation of private offers, smart metering, etc. can help you facilitate hassle free customer and lead management. While you focus on nurturing your leads, SaaSify will take care of getting your offer up and running. Book a demo today to learn more.
This blog was originally published on SaaSify.