Are you selling a SaaS/cloud product or service? Are you looking to purchase a SaaS/Cloud product or service? I recently had a chance to speak with Dina Moskowitz, CEO of SaaSMAX. SaaSMAX is a SaaS and cloud marketplace where users can review and evaluate enterprise software and also where vendors can connect with established resellers and buyers. Read my interview below to learn more.
Rhianna: You founded SaaSMAX almost six years ago. What was your vision for the company and how has it changed over these few years?
Dina: My vision for the company has been the same since the beginning—allowing B2B SaaS vendors and IT solution providers (perhaps better known as technology consultants or the IT Channel) to “cross the SaaSm” together. Our early adoption and forward-thinking has also allowed us to position SaaSMAX based on the needs and demands of both the SaaS vendors and their respective channel partners. The mantra here is to help the SaaS & IT Channel sectors to create an efficient, profitable sales value chain that accelerates their growth.
While the vision has remained the same, there have been some significant evolutions to the marketplace.
First, the addition of the SaaSMAX Cybersecurity Marketplace. Cybersecurity has become a growing concern amongst IT solution providers to service their clients, and it’s now not only an enterprise issue but mission critical to SME and SMB critical. In fact, according to one of our industry partners, Cybersecurity ventures, Cybercrime damages are predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion last year. That’s a large number, and because of that we recognized the need to help the IT channel community combat cybercrimes by way of a comprehensive solution they can easily white-label and add to their tech bundle or stack.
There is also our PartnerOptimizer (www.parternoptimizer.com), which are proprietary tools to discover fresh actionable data about channel partners. An area that has been lacking technological progress and disruption has been the ability to rapidly identify the right prospective channel partners efficiently, quickly and affordable. It is also a continue challenge and often cost-prohibitive to update and maintain a Vendor’ channel partner database (channel chiefs industry-wide will attest to this). These have been challenges long before SaaSMAX was even created, and we felt now was the time to develop a remedy. The result is PartnerOptimizer, a SaaS solution we’ve developed to rapidly crawl more than 80,000 IT solution providers’ websites to construct a fresh database of client-specific actionable business information about their current and/or prospective channel partners. We now use PartnerOptimizer internally to identify the right resellers for our SaaS Vendors. And we also license custom PartnerOptimizer solutions to channel teams at the enterprise level.
Another significant tool is our ‘One Stop Shop for Resellers’, including Quote-to-Cash billing and Referral tracking. Driven by our discussions and listening to our MSP and VAR partners, we’ve been adding tools they can use to streamline and automate their operations in relation to selling SaaS and other “as-a-service” products. This way, they can spend less time on processes, and more time on managing current and prospective customer relationships.
Rhianna: You now have a SaaS Channel management course and certification program. Who is this designed for and why should someone consider a course of this kind?
Dina: This course is designed for SaaS companies who are starting to build out a channel program, and for ones that are established but want to grow and refine their program. It is also a great way to introduce new channel executives to what it takes to build and run a successful a partner program. It is taught by industry veteran Ted Finch, SaaSMAX’s Channel CMO, also known as “The Chanimal” who has launched more than 400 channel partner programs in his career.
Because of our mission including always being early adopters, we were ahead of the curve when it came to introducing SaaS to the SMB IT channel. That being said, we knew our job was not only to introduce SaaSMAX to the industry, but also to help SaaS companies understand the importance, benefits and basic tenets of operating a successful re-seller program We also offer SaaS companies one-to-one micro-consulting services as well as a stand-alone licensable, customizable Word Press Reseller Portal – this portal alone can save a Vendor thousands of dollars and tons of preparation and development time. BTW, we are now also seeing interest from IoT providers as well as the BI sector.
Rhianna: You have invested a lot recently in the cybersecurity space with your Cybersecurity SaaS marketplace and the debut of your Cybersecurity channel road show. Why such focus on security now?
Dina: As I mentioned, no matter the vertical a company is in, they face enormous threats to their business operations and brand reputation if attacked. Many of our IT Solution Providers (SaaSMAX Resellers) are asking us to help them assemble the stack...and hence we're doing that and making it easy for them to sell through their own web stores with quote to cash billing and management no matter the vendor pricing model or reseller model
Rhianna: What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a SaaS business today?
Dina: I have three key pieces of advice for entrepreneurs looking to launch a SaaS business. First, focus on a specific vertical market. This way, you can position yourself as (e.g.) an IT solution provider specialist in retail, healthcare, security, etc. This will not only give you an edge over your competitors, but will also further you as a go-to vertical expert
Next, do a strong assessment of the competitive landscape before you start to code and productize. Make sure to analyze which of your competitors offer a partner program and examine how it is structured, what tiers are offered, pricing, etc.
Finally, before you price your product for market, make sure to incorporate commissions or margins for your resellers and/or referral partners - –The bottom line is they are looking for an ROI, and this is especially important if your goal is to engage them as your indirect sales team for the long-term.
For more information please visit SaaSMAX.com