The SaaS marketplace: Technology stack examples to win in 2023By Emily Dyrland
The post-pandemic world has revolutionized the way businesses operate, with digital solutions becoming more important than ever. New technologies are being adopted, and small business owners are increasingly turning to local agencies and SaaS marketplaces to help them do business in this new era.
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A transformation of this scale inevitably has a ripple effect, and this has resulted in the evolution of clients’ buying behaviors. “While business owners were busy adapting to meet their customers' changing habits, they were also experiencing a new way to purchase digital solutions for their own business in a similar fashion,” says Janessa Yeomans, former director of vendor management at Vendasta, says.
Business owners' expectations are becoming more similar to those of end consumers who seek convenience. They, too, want everything online and in one place – a SaaS marketplace. According to Mirakl, 87 percent of business buyers, across all age ranges, are making business purchases on marketplaces. SaaS marketplaces are now the top buyer channel, exceeding RFPs, digital channels, procurement channels, and person-to-person.
Table of Contents
- What are software marketplaces?
- The SaaS marketplace platform advantage
- B2B SaaS Examples
- Bringing it all together: Technology stack examples
- How to choose the right company tech stack
- Set up clients for success using a SaaS marketplace
What are software marketplaces?
Software marketplaces, widely used to deliver SaaS solutions, are online platforms where software products and services are conveniently available to agencies and their small and medium-sized business (SMBs) clients for comparison and purchase. Centralized and categorized by function, such as marketing, sales, customer service, and project management, these software marketplaces offer a variety of SaaS tools that businesses can leverage to enhance their operations.
Essentially, a SaaS marketplace is a one-stop shop for businesses seeking to optimize their processes and performance with the power of digital solutions.
Here are some of the key features that distinguish software marketplaces:
- Variety of software solutions: One of the most important features of these platforms is the range of products they offer. Software solutions for different business needs, from task management to SEO optimization and white-label marketing tools, can all be found here. This makes them versatile platforms catering to a wide spectrum of businesses, regardless of their size and industry.
- Product trials and demos: It is common for software products listed on SaaS marketplaces to offer trials or demos to allow businesses to test the solution, assess its compatibility with their needs, and ensure it delivers the desired value before committing to a purchase.
- One login: Since SaaS marketplace platforms provide access to a wide range of solutions, businesses using them can create a single account to access much of their tech stack instead of having to keep track of many platforms and login credentials.
- Customer support: Quality software marketplaces often provide robust customer support, addressing any questions or concerns that arise both for SaaS resellers and their clients.
- White label capabilities: Some SaaS marketplaces provide white label capabilities, allowing businesses to resell software solutions under their own brand. White-label software marketplaces help agencies build brand consistency and establish a stronger presence in their market.
- Pay for what you sell model: This feature allows agencies to only pay for the software they sell to their customers. It enables a low-risk entry into selling software solutions and ensures that businesses can maintain a positive return on investment (ROI).
- Ability to build a custom store: A highly valuable feature in software marketplaces is the ability for businesses to curate their own selection of software solutions, essentially building a customized digital store. This enables businesses to offer a tailored selection of software that aligns with their customers’ needs and preferences.
Offering a broad spectrum of software tools along with features like product trials, a single login, and white labeling, these platforms empower agencies and their clients to find, test, and implement the solutions they need to bolster their operations and accelerate growth. SaaS marketplaces represent an evolution in the way businesses discover and adopt new technologies, shaping the future of company tech stacks and small business tech adoption.
For agencies, a major benefit is the ability to become leaner by reducing the number of vendors, without limiting the number of solutions offered to clients.
The SaaS marketplace platform advantage
So how do you use an online marketplace as your competitive advantage?
Janice Christopher, CEO and Queen Bee of The Christopher Marketing Agency does exactly that. By stacking appropriate solutions into three simple bundles, Christopher has expanded her revenue and become known for her “basket size”. Basket size refers to the number of tech solutions sold to each client including bundles and add-ons.
The lowest tier combines online Reputation Management and Listings Management products. The second tier includes the products from the first tier as well as Customer Voice Pro. Customer Voice. In addition to everything from the first two packages, the top-tiered bundle includes the option of either a chatbot on the client's website or the add-on for text messaging to Customer Voice as well as a voice page to help with SEO.
So how does she decide what her clients need? “Our clients are going to lead us where we need to go; we simply listen to them. They ask questions and present us with their problems. Then it’s up to us to figure out the most appropriate solution. I have found that the Vendasta Marketplace has a solution to almost anything a client could ask for,” she says.
Christopher finds success by selling her pre-built bundles and then adding other solutions as she learns more about her client’s needs. The tiered system she uses has three starter packages to choose from, each of which includes listings and reputation management as a base. “We make it so that it’s affordable to everyone. The foundation is set and any work we do on top is going to be successful.”
This extra work includes additional products from the Vendasta Marketplace that stack success for each of Christopher’s clients. This is an opportunity to use an online marketplace to add to your client's tech stack and increase. As an example, a competitor once reached out to one of Christopher’s clients with an offer for a text messaging product that he needed. This client came to Christopher and she was able to counter that offer with a similar product from the Vendasta Marketplace. In the end, the client opted to keep everything in-house with The Christopher Agency, saving himself another login and another party to work with. This is the online SaaS marketplace platform advantage for both clients and agencies.
B2B SaaS Examples
Marketplace products can go well beyond marketing technologies into financial technologies, human resources, and more. There are 12 broad categories included in today’s SMB company tech stack:
- Marketing and Advertising
- Productivity and Collaboration
- Ecommerce and Inventory Management
- Booking and Scheduling
- Billing and Payments
- Accounting and Finance
- Connectivity and Security
- CRM and Customer Success
- Logistics and Shipping
- HR and Recruitment
- Legal and Insurance
- Procurement and Vendor Management
This stack consists of 19.8 thousand product vendors, 3.7 million channel partners, 230 million SMBs, and a $995 billion total addressable market. The marketing technology landscape hosts over 8,000 solutions and is growing quickly. Navigating such a landscape can be overwhelming for any small business.
According to Yeomans, “One in five of the solutions in the Martech landscape wasn’t there last year. That’s the issue your clients are facing. If we look outside marketing at HR, finance, and supply chain with shipping and inventory management, we start to see exactly what the clients are coming up against every single day.”
Experts like Christopher are the people these SMBs need to guide them in the right direction.
“There are thousands of technology solutions available to small business owners today. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with everything and understand the difference between one and the other, and then decide if you want to and how you are going to integrate it into your business. With Vendasta’s Marketplace, I have everything at my fingertips, and I know that they have done the due diligence. I know that when I plug into that, it’s going to be good.”
Bringing it all together: Technology stack examples
To get a better sense of how to create the perfect company tech stack for your SMB clients, let’s take a look at a few hypothetical technology stack examples.
B2B SaaS example 1: Family restaurant
A family-owned restaurant, The Homestyle Eatery.
The Homestyle Eatery is loved by its regular patrons for its delicious food and cozy atmosphere. However, it struggles with reaching new customers, managing online reviews, optimizing its website, and organizing its reservations efficiently. With increased competition from trendy upstarts, its owners need to find a way to capitalize on their unique position as a family-owned local favorite.
Company tech stack solution
By leveraging a range of software solutions from a SaaS marketplace, The Homestyle Eatery could construct a comprehensive tech stack to modernize its operations:
- Local business listings: To increase its visibility to potential customers, the restaurant could use a local business listing service. This would ensure its business details are accurately listed across various online directories, making it easier for local food lovers to discover their establishments.
- Reputation management: A reputation management solution could help them gather and respond to customer reviews across various platforms, allowing them to improve their online image, address customer concerns promptly, and showcase their commitment to customer satisfaction. This can help them get noticed despite increasing competition in the area.
- Website design and hosting: A professional, user-friendly website is crucial for any modern business, even mom-and-pop. Using a website design and hosting solution, The Homestyle Eatery could revamp its website to showcase its menu and interior and reflect its unique charm, attracting more visitors.
- Scheduling: An online scheduling software would streamline their booking process, allowing customers to reserve tables easily from the website and helping the restaurant manage its seating capacity efficiently. Customers would no longer have to call in to make a reservation, freeing up staff time and reducing distractions.
- Digital advertising: To further broaden their reach, a digital advertising solution could help them start a campaign to target potential customers in their local area with compelling ads, driving more traffic to their restaurant and their website.
This tech stack could provide The Homestyle Eatery with the digital capabilities to attract more customers, manage its reputation, enhance customer engagement, and streamline its operations, significantly boosting its growth and helping them build a reputation as the coziest, friendliest restaurant in town.
B2B SaaS example 2: Fitness center
A bustling local fitness center, Pump and Flex.
Pump and Flex is a popular community hub, equipped with a wide range of fitness classes and high-quality equipment. While they get a steady stream of new clients, they are having a hard time maintaining member retention, streamlining class scheduling, and communicating effectively with members. They’re also struggling with getting the word out about their premium membership, which includes access to saunas, steam rooms, massages, and a juice bar.
Company tech stack solution
Pump and Flex face many of the common challenges faced by growing businesses, such as retention issues and effective communication at scale. Here’s a tech stack you could put together to help them thrive:
- Scheduling: A sophisticated scheduling software solution could revolutionize the way Pump and Flex manage its class schedules and personal training appointments. This tool would allow members to book, modify, or cancel their classes and sessions at their convenience. It could also provide the management with real-time updates on class capacities, helping to optimize their offerings.
- Customer communication: A robust customer communication tool would significantly enhance Pump and Flex’s interaction with its members. From updates about class changes, new additions like the premium membership, and promotional offers, this tool could help drive member engagement and satisfaction, increasing retention.
- Website design and hosting: With a website revamp, the fitness center can provide detailed class schedules, integration with scheduling software, trainer profiles, facility descriptions, and online fitness classes, further bolstering their client retention efforts.
- Digital advertising: By creating attractive ads, Pump and Flex can run a campaign targeted toward those looking for a complete fitness and wellness solution, helping them sell more of the premium memberships they’ve been struggling to promote.
- Reputation management: Finally, a reputation management tool can enable the fitness center to generate more reviews across the different platforms its clients use. By facilitating the collection of member reviews and providing a platform for timely responses, Pump and Flex can elevate their local profile as the go-to place for fitness and wellness.
This small business tech stack can help the fitness center upsell new members, helping them recoup their investment in premium member features. It will also help them retain more members, giving them a predictable cash flow month after month.
B2B SaaS example 3: Vintage boutique
A trendy vintage store, Diamond in the Rough.
Known for its one-of-a-kind vintage treasures, Diamond in the Rough offers a shopping experience unlike any other in town. Faced with a changing vintage marketplace due to online platforms like Depop and Poshmark, it struggles with dwindling customers, transitioning to online sales, and maximizing its online discoverability.
Company tech stack solution
The way people shop has changed dramatically over recent years, and the vintage clothing space has, like many niches, been rattled by ecommerce. Here’s a technology stack example that could help right the ship for this small business:
- Web design and hosting: To create an appealing, user-friendly online store, a reliable website design and hosting solution is key. Diamond in the Rough could use a drag-and-drop builder to create a website that effectively showcases its unique products and reflects the brand’s personality.
- Ecommerce: Integrating a modern ecommerce solution with the website would help the boutique reach beyond the confines of its local community. This would enable Diamond in the Rough to set up a stylish online store that mirrors the charm of its physical location, offering customers the convenience of shopping from anywhere at any time.
- SEO: To ensure that its new online store attracts ample traffic, an SEO SaaS tool is critical. By optimizing its website and implementing off-site optimization techniques, this solution could improve Diamond in the Rough’s visibility on search engines, directing more potential customers to its website and increasing sales opportunities.
- Reputation management: Online reputation management is essential for all local businesses in the digital era, especially if they need to stand out against competitors, like this small business. By using a reputation management tool, the store could begin building a strong name for itself and attracting more shoppers. Promptly responding to feedback would help prospective customers feel more confident to buy knowing that they will receive great customer service.
- Digital advertising: Implementing a digital advertising solution would help Diamond in the Rough amplify its reach beyond the local community, which is crucial to its ongoing success as vintage shopping goes digital.
This company tech stack can help a beloved but struggling business modernize its operations and take advantage of new ways to market and sell its products, helping them be a part of the online vintage shopping zeitgeist.
How to choose the right company tech stack
The perfect small business tech stack will vary from one client to the next, but with a great SaaS marketplace platform on your side, you’ll be able to construct the perfect suite of solutions for every need. Keep these tips in mind and you come up with your next company tech stack.
Deeply understand your client’s business
The first step in recommending an effective company tech stack for your clients is to make the effort to gain a comprehensive understanding of their business.
Engaging in in-depth discussions with prospective clients during the sales process is important since these conversations will reveal essential information about their current operational status, objectives, and the challenges or pain points they face.
By acquiring this knowledge, you can propose truly tailored tech solutions that will bridge their gaps and help them achieve their goals.
A tool such as Vendasta’s Snapshot Report can be instrumental in this process. This sales intelligence tool provides an extensive overview of a business’s online presence, highlighting areas where the business excels and where improvements are needed. With data-driven insights provided in the report, you can gain a clearer picture of the client’s digital ecosystem, enabling you to make informed recommendations on their tech stack.
Familiarize yourself with your preferred SaaS marketplace
SaaS marketplace platforms come with the distinct advantage of consolidating diverse software solutions in one platform, streamlining the selection process. However, to leverage this advantage effectively, you need to be well-acquainted with your chosen marketplace.
Understanding what solutions are currently available, keeping an eye on upcoming products, and knowing the unique selling points of each tool can help you quickly identify the right products to include in each client's small business tech stack. This knowledge enables you to create a synergistic suite of solutions that directly caters to their unique needs, while also staying on top of emerging trends in the software landscape.
Develop tiered packages or bundles to address core business needs
A common approach to structuring tech stack offerings involves creating tiered packages or bundles. Typically, you might have three bundles that vary in terms of price and functionality, with each higher tier building on the one below it.
The lowest tier should include essential tools that cater to fundamental business needs, with subsequent tiers adding more advanced, specialized solutions. This tiered structure allows for flexibility in catering to a range of clients, from startups seeking basic software solutions to larger companies requiring more complex bundles.
Maintain a flexible approach
Every client has unique needs based on their industry, business model, size, and a host of other factors. That’s why adopting a one-size-fits-all approach to tech stacks can be counterproductive.
Instead, take a more flexible approach, considering each client’s individual context when recommending software solutions. This might involve adjusting your suggested tech stack based on a particular client’s feedback or selecting from the diverse array of solutions in your SaaS marketplace to suit different needs. By maintaining a flexible, client-centered approach, you can help local SMBs understand what products are most suitable for them, helping them meet their business goals—and helping your agency grow.
Set up clients for success using a SaaS marketplace
As someone who wants to set up her clients for success, Janice Christopher asks clients, “Do you want me to just give you what you want because I can, or do you want me to give you what you need?”
Christopher knows that each client has unique needs, and sometimes they don’t fully understand what their needs are. “As consultants, we can either let the client tell us what the solution is, or we can remind the client that they came to us because they were trying to solve a problem. If they say they need a website, we know they also need SEO.”
By working with prospects and learning what their problems are, Christopher can offer them a complete solution.
A SaaS marketplace is a secret weapon many agencies and managed service providers use to help their clients. Everything is under one login and there is only one point of contact for SMBs, simplifying the entire experience. As the number of digital solutions continues to grow, so do software marketplaces.