Sailboat Racing and Building a Business: The Unexpected and Sleep (Part 5 of 5)
VARs and Apps stores – Mutually Exclusive – NOT!

VARs and Apps stores – Mutually Exclusive – NOT!

(Part 1 of 3)

I am off to Autodesk’s annual sales conference this morning in Las Vegas – “One Team Conference” – where 1500 Autodesk sales people and near 1500 Autodesk Authorized Reseller’s come together to share, learn and develop their sales strategy for the year, get motivated – and most importantly develop and deepen trusting relationships.

I will be giving a presentation this year to Autodesk Resellers on how to use the Autodesk Exchange Apps stores to grow their revenue and profits.  This includes interviewing three great Autodesk Authorized Resellers on stage talking in front of 340 attendees – mostly Reseller principles – about how they can and should use the Apps store to grow their revenue and profits. AppsStore

If you are not an VAR (Value Added Reseller), I still encourage you to listen closely – as this is very much about how you can partner with VARs to both find more customers and create deep long lasting face to face relationships with customers around the world with the VAR as your proxy.  Leveraging the elephant’s sales partnerships for you and your future customer’s benefit.

Many folks reflexively view a VAR channel and an Apps store as mutually exclusive – the Apps store being about dis-intermediating middlemen - like VARs.  As happens so often in business, deductions from facts often don’t match the reality of the market.  So Autodesk VARs are very successfully using the Autodesk Exchange Apps store to grow both their top and bottom line.  Here’s how.

Marketing – Engaging New Customers

Over 30 Autodesk VARs have near 100 apps in the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.  A few of these VARs apps are seeing over 1000 downloads per month of their free apps (in 11 months the Apps store has already seen over 200,000 app downloads – with 1,000,000 downloads per year “in sight”).  Now these are mostly apps that were developed with a man week or two of effort – a small investment made when they had a software developer between projects with a little spare time.  They are in most part simple useful apps that engage and delight new customers.  From a marketing perspective, what is the cost per customer lead from these apps?  With several thousand downloads over a few month period, just pennies per lead.  What is the quality of these leads – the level of customer engagement compared to leads from other marketing tools – advertising, mass email, cold calling, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and so on?  Customer engagement is huge.  The potential new customer gets to experience what the VAR can deliver in a simple delightful useful app – showing off the VARs understanding of the customer’s needs, showing off their software development skills, and how they deliver quality work.  With none of the typical new customer risk and fear. 

Next post will be about how VARs can develop their high margin services business with the Autodesk Exchange Apps store.

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