…lmost magical. This might sound surprising if you read it today, but keep in mind what the world of SaaS looked like in 2012: SaaStr and SaaStock didn’t exist yet, Jason M. Lemkin was still at EchoSign/Adobe, David Skok was just getting started with his blog, and there weren’t many experienced SaaS entrepreneurs. In other words, it was hard to get good advice on how to build a SaaS company.
…p stores, I noticed that most of the successful ones are targeting the SMB and mid-market segments. Of course, the enterprise segment also has its marketplaces (like Salesforce), but the model seems to make more sense for SMB and mid-market customers at the moment.
…ifferent types of opportunities. For example, Intercom launched its software marketplace last year. As a consequence, the “audience” might not be huge yet, but the platform is not crowded, so the first apps benefit from a better exposure. On the other end of the spectrum, if you launch an app on AppExchange, it will be much harder to break through the noise, but if you manage to succeed the revenue potential is much higher. There are definitely opportunities to leverage up and coming platforms.
…g the past couple of years is the emergence of B2B software app stores in more and more categories. It started with Salesforce in the sales category, followed by Hubspot for Marketing, Zendesk for customer support, Intuit or Xero for finance, Zuora for payment, Slack for internal communication to the more recent ones like Invision’s app store for design or Intercom for customer communication.
As a consequence, the SaaS app store model comes in many flavors: from very basic ones which are only “app directories” (just a list of connectors) all the way to very sophisticated platforms, like Salesforce’s AppExchange, which offers a ton of features for users to find and integrate the relevant applications, and require strict procedures for a third-party app to be listed (e.g a security audit).
… The basic unit of an app store is the directory of third-party apps that the users have access to. But many features can be added: user reviews, user ratings, app recommendation, payment integration, co-marketing opportunities, deep product integration, developer portal, etc.
…p store (Salesforce, Zendesk, Hubspot…) where their customers can directly consume third-party SaaS. I believe this is an important trend to follow for SaaS founders as they have to adapt their overall strategy (from go-to-market to product decisions) to this “app store dominated” era.
We also heard from customers that we needed a clearer developer documentation structure. They were correct, and we should have done a better job from the start. Inadequate and incorrect documentation on the API semantics, interfaces, and ambiguous terminology …
From day one, we wanted to ensure that every app published on our Marketplace created value for at least a subset of our customers (our reject rate is about 65%). But more importantly, users needed to trust these apps. Because our customers use these apps, we developed a rigorous process around secu…