An online app marketplace brings all compatible software together—complete with descriptions and reviews— to help customers, prospects, teammates, and product partners alike benefit from SaaS integrations. But if you want to establish your own, you can’t do it without the right partners.
Product partnerships are an important part of any business, but especially so with an app marketplace. Good relationships with relevant brands will drive more customers to your platform and give you a competitive advantage.
The Importance of Product Partnerships for Your App Marketplace
Before we get into the importance of product partnerships for your app marketplace, let’s define what an app marketplace is in the first place.
An app marketplace, also known as an app directory or app store, is an online space where SaaS companies provide listings of their existing integration partners.
App marketplaces have become popular as more and more platforms are integrating with other products. This is because app integrations promote efficiency. There is no need to switch from one tool to another to fulfill various functions or gather data. For example, nearly all companies are using CRMs, and it makes sense to connect your CRM software with communication channel tools, like email, chat, sales, and support programs.
It takes the right integrations to close deals and drive revenue. If the customer can’t find a tool that integrates efficiently and seamlessly to the products that are essential to their business, they’ll simply find another one. For example, if a customer uses HubSpot for their CRM but isn’t able to connect the Aircall phone solution to it, they’re less likely to want Aircall.
How a Rich Integration Ecosystem Drives More Business
In a rich integration ecosystem, any number of applications can communicate with each other to help drive more business. Here are some of the benefits you can expect when you develop a rich integration ecosystem:
- Makes it easier to attract new customers
- Opens up opportunities to tap into new sources of data
- Improves your customers’ established business processes
- Offers a broad range of functions
- Allows you to quickly provide solutions to new customer preferences
- Enables your customers to leverage new technologies
- Helps you maintain a competitive edge
- Makes it easier to start conversations with customers
What’s even more beneficial is that partnerships can easily be set up or dissolved as needs change.
Why the Right Product Partnerships Give You a Competitive Advantage
Digital transformation is happening at lightning speed, and companies need to find ways to keep up with the times. That can be tough, especially because tech companies are becoming increasingly specialized.
In some ways, that’s a good thing—specialization allows brands to become the best at their niche, rather than spreading resources too thin. From another perspective, however, it can leave gaps in your services. The right product partnerships can help you to fill those gaps in ways that broaden your customer base rather than limit it.
First, the right partnerships give companies access to technology and other resources that would be cost-prohibitive to attain on their own. In this way, partnerships help businesses make money and save money, too.
Second, the right partnerships will bring technological solutions into closer alignment with the company’s overall strategic goals and objectives.
As SaaS companies grow, they begin seeking out willing partners to build even more integrations using the public API. And with the rise of affordable, convenient, and easily-accessible VoIP technology, they’ll naturally build more VoIP integrations as a result.
However, with hundreds of potential app partners (some of which are higher quality than others), choosing the right one to integrate into your platform is essential for customer experience.
When we think of partnerships in this context, we mean the following:
- Technology partners: This refers to developers, makers, and SaaS companies that build apps separately or together.
If you want to build a best-in-class app marketplace, you’ll need to find partners that bring value to the table. To accomplish that, you need to identify the SaaS categories where you overlap with partners and understand your customers’ workflows. Once you know what your customers need and struggle with, you will be in a better position to start building partnerships with the right companies.
How to Build Better Relationships With Partners
With the rise of IoT and specialization, we can expect the issue of customer overlap to become more prominent. Partners need to tap into each others’ strengths to widen their reach while delivering consistently excellent results.
It takes effort and long-term investments to set up an app marketplace, but there’s a worthwhile payoff in terms of potential and sustainability. Customers are likely to stick with solutions that work well and fit their needs—that includes integrations with other necessary solutions. In forming the right partnerships, you can also therefore prevent churn and generate new sources of revenue.
Traditionally, companies focused more heavily on how a vendor can benefit them while negotiating for the best price—they rarely consider what they could offer the vendor in return.
The ecosystem model looks very different. The idea is to view partnerships as a way for both parties to reap the rewards of a mutually beneficial relationship, especially one that leverages new business technology.
For partnerships to be truly mutually beneficial, you have to create strong partnerships. Invest in them with an eye on the future. How you approach partners determines your success—if you treat your partners well, they’re more likely to treat you better in return. Likewise, if you don’t treat your partners well, even unintentionally, it will negatively impact the relationship.
Ensure that any partnership terms benefit both parties, not just you. If one party feels like they’re not getting their money’s worth, they’ll pull out of the deal—bringing their customers with them.
Serving Your Customers With Product Partnerships
Strategic partnerships generate brand awareness for both companies. But the question isn’t, “How will this partnership benefit me?” but, “What kind of partnerships serve customers best?”
In some situations, the choice is easy—there are many partners that share similar goals or target markets, and the ways they complement your business are fairly obvious.
However, if you think creatively and partner with companies that you have little in common with, you can potentially expand your audience and enter entirely new markets. For example, Uber has partnered with airlines to simplify the door-to-door travel process, opening up new markets for both brands and serving both of their customers better.
Here are 3 ways that establishing valuable partnerships can serve both you and your customers:
- You’ll generate brand awareness with a new target audience who may not even be aware of your services. It’s easier to make a name for yourself when customers can easily connect your name with another company they like and trust. Your partnership is basically free advertising—your trusted customers learn about your partners, and vice versa. It’s a highly effective marketing strategy that has the potential to double your customer base, or even better.
- Brand recognition gives you the kind of credibility that other partners are also looking for. You’ll be rewarded with the potential of additional partners down the line which, in turn, draws even more customers to your brand.
- Your broader audience will experience added value, increasing their trust in and loyalty to your brands. With the Uber/airline partnership example, it’s much easier for a customer to call an Uber rather than arrange for a car rental or other type of transportation. This lowers the barrier to entry, encouraging even hesitant users to participate and promote it to their social circles.
How Aircall Built a Voice Ecosystem
A voice ecosystem connects voice software to all key parts of an employee’s workflow. It gives you an advantage over your competitors by streamlining the call handling process and increasing call center productivity. The right VoIP integrations can also assist you in training new sales and support agents and keep them motivated on the job.
Here’s an example using Aircall’s cloud-based phone system:
Aircall connects with best-in-class CRMs and helpdesks. It also works with other popular third-party tools. You can provide additional functionality such as call transcription, quality assurance evaluations, and follow-up surveys. The voice ecosystem syncs call data across the platforms, making it easier for agents to access essential customer information and do their job well.
The data that you gather from your voice ecosystem can help you trigger the next step of the customer journey. Whether it’s cross-selling, upselling, asking for referrals, gauging satisfaction, or just keeping your brand front-of-mind. All your tools work in tandem to improve processes and create seamless customer interactions at every juncture.
Building a Voice Ecosystem
If you want to build a voice ecosystem on your own, Aircall recommends following these tips:
- Identify the tools (other than yours) that your customers use. Next, find out where they need to sync data from your platform. This will help you get the best functionality from both tools.
- Approach key developers and business contacts that work on those tools. Get a discussion going about the tech benefits of building a solution together.
- You can score a few points with potential partners if your own tech team has built integrations to demonstrate the value proposition—add these to your pitch. Seeing is believing, and it will pave the way for collaboration.
- As you gain partners, you may get dozens of new integrations every quarter. Your app marketplace should be categorized by function and well-organized. You should also allow users to search and filter through the results, making it easier for them to find the apps they want.
- Learn from the industry standards in app stores. The Apple App Store is a best-in-class example. Other good examples of app marketplaces are Shopify, Slack, and HubSpot.
Aircall now has 75 integrations (and growing) in the App Marketplace—it’s the largest voice ecosystem on the market! Check our app store out today and learn more about how tech partners have worked with Aircall.