We have earlier talked about how co-selling with commercial marketplaces is integral for ISVs to increase their sales. Invariably, each marketplace has its own co-selling initiatives and programs that ISVs can leverage. The topic of discussion for this article is the APN Customer Engagements Program or the ACE Program for AWS Marketplace. With the AWS ACE Program, as an ISV, you can successfully drive customer engagement and grow your business by leveraging collaboration and co-selling opportunities. Through this article, we will share with you the fundamentals of the AWS ACE Program, eligibility requirements and how you can leverage the benefits to increase your sales in the AWS marketplace.
Increasing ISV sales with AWS ACE Program
As mentioned, the AWS ACE Program is a co-selling opportunity for ISVs to:
Grow revenue: By discovering new sales opportunities, driving more revenue, accelerating deals, and winning customers together with AWS, including opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell, and co-sell with AWS.
Enrich customer relationships: By working together with AWS to better understand customer needs and leverage the expertise of the AWS Sales team to advance customer experience
Earn financial incentives: By unlocking access to partner benefits and programs with ACE, including discounts for originating new customer opportunities, access to Marketing Development Funds (MDF) and Partner Opportunity Acceleration Funds.
Requirements for the AWS ACE Program
For ISVs to leverage the benefits of the AWS ACE Program, there are certain requirements that you need to comply with. While the program doesn’t require any specific registration, you must have:
Registration as an APN Partner (Standard, Advanced, or Premier-tier)
AWS-validated opportunities dependent on your tier level (at least 10 validated opportunities for the Standard tier)
10 APN Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) reviews
Active Partner Solutions Finder (PSF) directory listing
APN Program designation (AWS Competency, AWS Service Delivery, or AWS Managed Solution Provider (MSP) Program)
Accepted the AWS ACE Program terms and conditions
While these are the basic requirements, you need to ensure that you identify lead and opportunity capability and preferences as well as provide regular updates on AWS referrals.
Benefits of the AWS ACE Program
Once you meet these requirements to be a part of the ACE Program by AWS, you can seamlessly leverage the many benefits that come along with it. Here is a quick snapshot of what awaits you in the AWS ACE Program. You will get:
Opportunity to leverage the ACE platform to manage your leads
Opportunity to receive leads and referrals from AWS
Introduction to AWS sales team for every validated opportunity to close your deals faster
AWS compete team as well as technical support for validated opportunities to serve your customers better
Dynamic leader sharing URL when featured in blog posts or any other public reference
In a nutshell, being a part of the AWS ACE Program will open many opportunities for you to accelerate your sales while augmenting your customer experience at the same time. The AWS sales team has multiple incentives to facilitate collaboration opportunities with you, including customer satisfaction as well as special commission incentives for some deals. Therefore, if you play the program well, there is a lot of scope for growth as an ISV in the AWS marketplace.
AWS ACE Program process
Now that you understand how you can be a part of the AWS ACE Program and the benefits that this program entails for your growth as an ISV, let’s quickly understand the process that you will be going through. Essentially, it is a simple 5 step process which starts with identifying opportunities, collaborating with the AWS team and closing them successfully. Here is a detailed account of the same:
Step 1: Identify an opportunity
The first step is to identify an opportunity that you wish to close. As you become entrenched in the AWS ACE program, the AWS team will also bring opportunities to you, however, in the beginning, these will be the opportunities you generate. The opportunity could be in the form of a lead of a customer you are engaging with already, an upselling opportunity, or an entirely new customer for the AWS marketplace.
Step 2: Submit the opportunity
Once you have the opportunity, you need to submit or register the same in the ACE portal. To add a new opportunity, you have to:
Log in to APN Partner Central
Click on “Opportunities” from the main navigation menu and select “Add New”
Fill in the applicable fields including the end-customer information and details about the opportunity being submitted.
Review all information before submitting the opportunity for AWS validation
You can use the bulk option to submit numerous opportunities at once. However, it is best to submit a few opportunities at a time, because post validation, you will start receiving notifications and emails for all. Unless you have the bandwidth to handle all, adopt an incremental approach to prevent your leads from falling through the cracks.
Step 3: Get the opportunity validated
After a few days of submitting the opportunity to the ACE platform, the opportunity will get validated and you will get an email from the AWS team. Generally, an authentic opportunity gets validated. Once your opportunity is validated, you will get the details of the AWS sales representative or account manager for that particular account. Here it is critical that your sales team is educated about the AWS ACE program process.
Step 4: Collaborate with AWS team on ACE platform
Now that you have received the details for the AWS team as a part of the ACE program, you should leave no opportunity to collaborate with them to close your deal. Since they know the customer and account the best, communicate with them as much as possible and educate them about your product as well as get insights about the customer from them. Build a strong relationship with the sales rep from AWS to close your deal.
Step 5: Focus on new opportunities collaboratively
Once you close the deal for the validated opportunity, you have reached the end of your ACE sales cycle for that account. Now the entire process starts afresh. However, this time, you can collaboratively work with AWS sales team and account managers to help source deals for you from their accounts who they think might find your product ideal. Therefore, you can now focus on finding new opportunities collaboratively.
Leveraging co-selling with the ACE Program
While we have discussed all the technical and operational aspects of the ACE Program till now and how you must navigate the same to facilitate success, this last section will help you understand how you can truly leverage the opportunities presented to you as an ISV.
Engage and educate the AWS team
The first step to co-selling with AWS by leveraging the ACE Program is to engage with and educate the AWS team. There are a few forces at play here. Start by engaging with the AWS team to know more about the kinds of accounts they manage, more about their customers, etc. Simultaneously, educate them about your product, the benefits and what value will it bring for their customers. Interestingly, when you discuss your value add for their customers, they can help you position it in a way that makes sense for the customers. Furthermore, educating them about your product can enable them to identify other opportunities that are ideal for you.
Request specific support
Second, once your opportunity has been validated, you might need specific support from the AWS team which can enable another co-selling avenue. This support could be in the form of technical assistance, pricing guidance, etc. As a part of the ACE Program, such support can help you accelerate your deal closure rate by providing the customers exactly what they want.
Finally, to get a good pipeline of referrals of opportunities from the AWS team, you need to maintain the consistency of your work as well. Keep submitting opportunities for validation at a steady pace. When you submit opportunities consistently which are eventually validated and closed, your business as an ISV stands out of the competition and gets recognition among the AWS team. Based on such concentrated efforts, you are able to create an image for yourself as a partner that most AWS sales reps and account managers will want to associate with.
Get started with AWS ACE Program today with SaaSify
As we draw this discussion to a close, it is evident that the ACE Program in the AWS marketplace has unparalleled scope for ISVs to explore and leverage co-selling opportunities. The AWS ACE Program can help you in not only closing your opportunities, but also generate referrals for you and accelerate the entire process with internal and expert support. If you want to take your product to the AWS marketplace quickly and with minimal efforts, you can collaborate with SaaSify. Our zero engineering platform can help accelerate your journey to co-selling with the AWS ACE Program. Book a demo today to learn more about how SaaSify can help you with the ACE Program.
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