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Why the road to AWS Marketplace success requires AMP best practices-based Reporting

Good reporting is based on best practices, learned in real life on AWS Marketplace.

Many of our own AWS Marketplace experiences – as mentioned in our announcement blog – inspired, no, compelled us to develop CMD. Our second blog post spoke about do’s and don’ts – again our experiences, and those of others, are what we put into CMD and especially the reporting portion. What we learned is that access to comprehensive Reporting “your way” is crucial, irrespective of any stage of AWS Marketplace journey.

Business school 101 – it’s not about the answers, it’s about the questions

Think about it – as you start to engage on a GTM as potentially multi-faceted as a Marketplace listing you will wonder:

  1. What questions do we have vs. which questions should we be asking? You know your business better than anyone else, as well as your stakeholders (management team, board members, etc.) so you have those questions defined easily. Trickier part is what about the questions you will likely have over time – but should have thought of earlier based on the hard lessons learned by others in your class or market segment?
  2. How quickly can we get answers and how low touch can we get them produced? Ever heard of “so as we’re closing the quarter this week, we were just wondering about …” i.e. the one-offs. Or the daily ones (“can you check the spreadsheet? BTW, where is it? Do you have the latest?”). Or the monthly ones (“hey my next two days are all about pulling the reports together so look elsewhere for help”). Most often, it’s not just the simple requests that still take too much time – it’s the one-offs that either bring teams to a grind, or they get put on a wish-list with frustrated stakeholders as a result.
  3. What minimum requirements for system integration should we consider? This is why reporting done your way is so critical – you know what systems are key to your business, and which ones you need to combine to make your business productive. Easily though, system integration can carry substantial incremental sunk costs and worse, inability to roll things back due to lock-in.
Why is this so painful, there’s got to be a better way… right?Why is this so painful, there’s got to be a better way… right?

Our words exactly. And yet, wherever we looked, we couldn’t find anything that satisfied our needs. Consequently, this is what drove us to develop the reporting portal, the pre-configured dashboards, the macro and micro level detail encompassed into each graph in each graph, down to the integration options with other enterprise systems, without customer lock-in requirement. The lessons we learned are all incorporated in our reporting portal – it is so much easier to develop a rich product that resonates with customers when you know the pain, intimately. See below for a more elaborate explanation of the pains you’ll run into and how we address them in our Reporting Portal.

Example of the reporting pains we address in our Reporting Portal

Daily challenges – examples of Usage Reports you need to access with one one-click access to

  • Churn risk – decrease in usage – on a daily basis you will need to know of any usage variances there are, especially downward ones; you won’t be able to sustain this with a daily manual Excel exercise.Reporting
  • Trial conversions: some prospects intermittently use a pay-as-you-go offering to learn about the product, especially if a free trial is not offered. The prospect will start and stop as they evaluate the offer over a period of weeks. If you just looked at the revenue tied for this, it wouldn’t look like anything materially changed, unless they decide to buy. The reason people do this is because they don’t want to interact with a salesperson. You don’t get enough data to do any proactive outreach, however, tracking this can help you justify the ROI for the Marketplace (especially if you have large deals flow through for the same accounts down the road).
  • Marketing program productivity: you can measure instance launches or free trials initiated after campaigns, launches, or events. Revenue tied to these may not be material, but the number of customers launching an offer should be of interest. Again, you won’t be doing this yourself in a spreadsheet.
  • Proactively identify refunds: large customers may have an enterprise license (delivered via a BYOL), but not every subsidiary or group may know or have access to the license keys. You can use these usage reports to identify any enterprise license customers who are also paying for the pay-as-you-go offerings, and proactively reach out to those customers to get them off the pay-as-you-go offer and start using the enterprise license. This makes reporting easier down the road, because you don’t have to issue a refund for this usage (if the customer figures this out after looking at their bill).
  • Customer success: you can try to gauge whether a customer is able to successfully launch your offering by looking at their usage over time. For large deals, especially if a private offer was used, you can track this to make sure the customer is able to deploy and roll out across their environment after the deal closes. If you don’t see any offerings launch within a month or two, there may be an issue.

If a new Instance type comes out that is more efficient, you can use the usage data to figure out which customers may benefit from migrating their AMI; as we all know, proactive customer success efforts improve performance and reduce costs.

Monthly challenges – examples of reports covering e.g. billing and disbursements:
  • Uncollected revenue and tax liability – your finance team and anyone tasked with taxes will appreciate this. While billing is material for any size ISV, tax liability related requests become more important for global ISVs.
  • Sales compensation – as we all know, some companies compensate their sales staff on billings, some on revenue. Given that there is a month difference between the reporting, the receivables can be delayed even longer, especially with some AWS customers which have negotiated quarterly payment terms. Having this information in one dashboard helps organizations understand how to compensate their sales teams given these idiosyncrasies – and without substantial incremental time investments.Exec
    • Lesson that ISVs learned – if an organization cannot easily determine how to compensate their sales teams or provide teams with insights on how AWS Marketplace usage will affect their compensation, they will be less likely to push deals to AWS Marketplace, adversely impacting your AWS GTM.
  • Churn risk – if you aren’t looking at the usage reports or have only integrated these reports with your system of record, this may be the first time you see issues with churn risk and potential refunds requests. You may not know a customer has churned until 60 days after they did so.
Quarterly challenges – examples of reports for QBRs, Board Meetings, EOQ tracking incl. Private offers)

Exec Subscribers 2 You may be asked to report on this, especially if your organization is proactively driving deals. There are two elements: the high-level data, and the subsequent analysis in case to support the usual Q&A, or worse; if the high-level data doesn’t look right or isn’t trending correctly.

– Most teams do basic integrations with SFDC for the high-level analysis, so it’s back to the spreadsheets to reconcile any inconsistencies, debate over interpretations etc.

In conclusion – why you don’t want to develop your own reporting portal

Here’s another way of looking at the issue. What is the cost of non-reporting – i.e. can you DIY this? You can, and so did we. Here’s the difference. Our decision process was simple as there were no options like CMD available at the time. So, we muscled through the journeys, tried to learn our way, through disproportionate time, resources and money at problems that generated endless frustration we could have overcome – e.g. consistent, easy to access and yet comprehensive reporting – provided there were options like CMD.

Reporting should be aligned to your evolution

Our goal is to give you the information you need at the click of a button. We automatically ingest the data, transform it into information, and correlate the varying datapoints so you can tie it back to a specific account. It is not easy, and we designed this tool so we can easily add more reports as your business requirements change.

Did we mention Amazon QuickSight and how this benefits you?

In the event you need a report that is currently not in the portal, we can easily create a customized Amazon QuickSight report– you give us the requirements, and we’ll build it – in minutes, not days or weeks.

Make reporting a capability for your team instead of an incremental burden

The best part of this is you are no longer tied to be the SME to answer these questions. You can give your team members the same information, the same ability to drill down and try to understand the health of your business, what customers are at risk of churn, and which products are doing well and which ones may need to be tweaked to better meet customer requirements.

So, why not give us a try and look at a brief demo? Just sign up here

COALESCE SOLUTIONS AND AWS

We serve ISVs utilizing AWS Marketplace to gain more incremental business value

Coalesce is a Solutions provider with deep expertise in compliance, cloud native application development, AMP and cloud migrations. We developed our long-standing AWS Marketplace reseller expertise in part as an exclusive cloud reseller for Adobe ColdFusion and gained deep AMI Solution Provider expertise in addition to vertical experience for all sectors including highly regulated markets e.g., Financial Services, Government.

Leveraging our experiences, competencies and insights of needs that similar solution providers and ISVs have, lead to the launch of Coalesce Marketplace Delivery Service including the development of our Reporting Portal.

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"Going to market with AWS is very different than the traditional channels, and you increasingly need to sell and deliver your service via AWS Marketplace. The Coalesce team has deep expertise in partnering with AWS, building successful AWS MP based GTMs, and has the supporting technology services depth to make you win."
Bob Layton,
CRO for Digital Defense