Answers to questions from recent commercial marketplace webinar
On April 29th, we delivered a webinar covering a broad set of topics related to Microsoft's commercial marketplace. Starting with the vision and strategy, we outlined the sales channels, offer types, billing models, requirements, considerations, benefits and rewards, how to get started, and resources to learn more.
Missed the live delivery? Register to watch the recording on-demand!
During the session, we received many great questions and wanted to share the answers with this community.
Are there specific types of apps/use cases that are good for selling via the storefront? Or conversely, apps/use cases that are not well suited to the marketplace?
We find that the most successful offerings are simple to understand and quick to deploy/set up. High volume repeatable IP does well in the direct channels, where customers can find, evaluate, and buy on their own. For more complex solutions with a longer sales cycle, it is important to be IP co-sell ready or eligible so that Microsoft sales teams are incentivized to collaborate and situates you for future benefits.
We have also seen that a meaningful percentage of searches are filtered on offerings that include a trial, and customers are much more likely to click "Get It Now" than "Contact Me."
The least successful offers are those that are created to check a box as a program requirement. Product pages with limited detail, lack of images/videos, and no links to learn more do not attract customer attention.
Can you elaborate on how ISV's publishing on the Microsoft can work with Microsoft resellers/CSPs and provide them with margins?
Although you are empowered - even encouraged - to pay margin to resellers, it is not possible to do this through the commercial marketplace system today. This is functionality that we are working hard to enable in the future.
Does that in-product experience also include consulting services offers?
The in-product experiences vary by product for contextual relevance, but many of them do include consulting services offers.
If a customer buys a third-party ISV SaaS solution via the Azure Marketplace, how much of the deal value can they use to draw down their commit in their EA?
There are two types of commitments that customers make to Microsoft: pre-payment and commitment to consume. Resources deployed into the customer's Azure subscription will generate Azure infrastructure costs, and the infrastructure charges will apply to both types of commitment.
The software cost - or in the case of SaaS running in an ISV's infrastructure, the entire cost - does not apply to either type of commitment today. We do not anticipate ever having it draw down pre-payment but are working hard to allow it to draw down a customer's Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment (MACC). To be ready when this goes live, make sure your SaaS offer is IP co-sell ready or prioritized.
For the private offer does the reseller provide the customer tenant ID or do we connect directly with the customer to get this?
Private offers are designed to be established between the software provider and the customer directly without a reseller in between. With a CSP reseller, the reseller sets the price and makes the purchase on behalf of the customer within the CSP tools.
For reducing procurement friction, how does this handle individual country laws and specific SLAs that a customer wants in the contract?
For country specific laws, you can publish one or more plans that include country-specific amendments and are only available within that country. Or you could simply put all the country specific terms in one larger amendment that specifies for whom it is relevant. I would suggest checking with your legal counsel to validate that the approach meets your business requirements.
For customer-specific terms, you can negotiate with the customer and then publish an amendment that is only available to that customer using their tenant ID.
This brief video shows how to configure private plans and amendments: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/asset/detail/commercial-marketplace-private-plans-and-amendments-mp4
Does MSFT take a cut of the pie when a customer purchases our published solution thru Marketplace?
Yes, there is a marketplace transaction fee taken after Microsoft collects from the customer and before paying out to the publisher. The fee is the same regardless of channel. The standard rate is 20%, although there is a SaaS promotional rate. You can find details on the fee here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/marketplace/marketplace-commercial-transaction-capabilities-and-considerations#examples
Going forward will we have to create OCP GTM offers separate from those in the commercial marketplace?
Depending on the offer type, you may need to continue publishing assets in two locations; however, our vision - and current state for some offer types - is to have a single, unified publishing process. You will create the offer in Partner Center, configure the sales channels, and add material for each audience. Microsoft will merchandise and make your offers available in the right places accordingly.
Do we have to choose between Direct and Field channels, or can we use both?
You are strongly encouraged to use all three channels but need to opt-in to the reseller channel. Microsoft field (co-sell) and customer direct (Microsoft AppSource / Azure Marketplace) are default.
Please share some success stories in one of the future events.
Here are a few of my favorite:
I am a one person developer shop, am I able to join this program?
Absolutely! You just need to be or become a Microsoft partner, which is quite simple and part of the publisher sign up process for the commercial marketplace. For payouts, you'll need a legal entity with a tax ID, which can be your social security number.
We are planning on leveraging the Microsoft Fulfillment API for a seamless customer transaction. Are we still required to set up the the HTTPS Endpoint items, since the entire transaction will be handled on the Microsoft side and service delivery will happen through the API hooks?
Assuming that you are referring to a SaaS app, an https endpoint is still required so that there is a location to route the customer to complete set up. Here is the SaaS offer publishing checklist: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/marketplace/partner-center-portal/offer-creation-checklist
How can you promote our application on social media or your blog?
Twice each month, we publish a blog highlighting all the new offers since the previous blog. And there are many benefits available through Marketplace Rewards that you can activate to help with evangelism and demand generation.
Can we sell in all countries through the Marketplace even if we have no subsidiaries?
Microsoft does not require you to have a subsidiary in a country in order to sell in that geo. Extending an offer into a country is as simple as checking the box on the plan configuration page, and Microsoft manages and remits taxes on your behalf in many countries. However, we do recommend consulting your legal and tax consel to ensure your business requirements are met.
Are there any contacts within Microsoft who can help us decide between all options?
There are a few resources available to help.
Commercial marketplace partner hub and quick start guide: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-US/asset/collection/commercial-marketplace#/
Detailed documentation: https://aka.ms/MarketplacePublisherGuide
Marketplace publisher support: https://aka.ms/MarketplacePublisherSupport
Marketplace consultation: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4521806/marketplace-preparation
Do I need to have incorporated business to become a partner or presence on the marketplace?
You can sign up as a partner and publisher as an individual and use your social security number for tax purposes.
Is there a qualification for listing product in the marketplace?
The minimum requirement is to be a Microsoft partner, which is quick and easy as part of the publisher sign up process, and to sell through the commercial marketplace you just need to configurate a payouts and tax profile.