Creating your strategy is critical to the success of your Office solution and your ability to attract customers. Your strategy brings together all the pieces of your business into one cohesive plan—helping you to reach your target customers and show the value your solution brings and what differentiates it from others. You can continuously improve your strategy by monitoring its effectiveness and adjusting as needed.
Your strategy can include business goals, markets, target customers, pricing, and distribution. Also, consider the following details when you start to develop your strategy.
Solution name: Add the name of your solution.
Microsoft platforms: Identify all Microsoft platforms for your solution.
Description: Develop a brief description and the value provided to the customer.
Target customer: Identify lines of buisness, who the user is, and the purchase decision maker.
Customer segments: Identify the size of your customer base, such as small, medium, or enterprise.
Geographical markets and languages: Confirm available countries and languages.
Target industries: Identify industry markets.
Sales strategy: Determine your sales strategy (for example, direct, B2B, telesales, P2P).
Unique differentiators: Identify differentiators compared to alternative solutions.
Proposed support: Decide how and who will support your app (for example, Tier 1, 2, or 3).
Pricing strategy: Identify your pricing strategy.
Distribution strategy: Confirm resellers, websites, and marketplaces where your solution will be sold.
Demand generation activities: Identify key marketing activities.
What markets are you selling into?
Consider the regions or countries that you want to sell your solution in. Depending on the market, you might need to consider the following:
- Languages you will offer
- Marketing vehicles you will use
- Legal and regulatory requirements
- Value added tax (VAT)
- Distribution channel
- Competitive impact
- Pricing strategy
If you're targeting specific vertical markets, be sure to develop a channel strategy that includes:
- Your most successful verticals and why.
- Your channel partners' most successful verticals.
- Any new verticals you're interested in.
- Potential channel partners with experience in the selected markets.
Who to sell to and how to build value
Knowing who your users are and how they are going to benefit from your offering can help you design and develop a more functional solution that lands well in the marketplace. To identify your potential customers:
- Identify ideal users and how they will benefit from your solution.
- Determine the line of business that will benefit the most (for example, HR, sales, finance).
- Build profiles on the purchase decision makers (for example, IT, CxO).
- Create a target customer profile (for example, segment, size, and potential revenue).
- Consider the following potential segments:
- Existing customers
- New customers
- New customer segments
- New markets with a new solution
How should I price my solution?
Your price should reflect the value your solution provides to the user. Consider the following as you develop your pricing strategy:
What are your business goals and objectives? Are you:
- Launching a new product?
- Trying to develop new business for an existing solution?
- Trying to add value to your current product for existing customers?
What is your monetization strategy? Will you be offering your solution as a:
- Free extension to your existing app?
- Free trial with a paid subscription after a specified number of days?
- Free limited functionality version with a paid upgrade or subscription for full functionality?
- Enterprise version either now or in the future?
- Perpetual license (versus a one-time purchase)?
- Solution that includes advertising?
Other areas to consider:
- Understand that the price you set today won’t be the price tomorrow.
- Consider free versus paid.
- Utilize “freemium” offers to offer a limited free version and upsell your customers.
- Use in-product notifications to offer upgrades.
- Deliver what you promise.
- Enable conversions and upgrades.
- Find additional pricing guidance.
Pricing strategy for SharePoint Add-ins
You can choose from many different pricing strategies for SharePoint Add-ins. AppSource supports the following SharePoint Add-in licensing options:
- Built-in licensing framework for regulating perpetual all-user and per-user licenses
- 15-, 30-, or 60-day trials
- Monthly recurring licenses
Want to use a custom licensing model?
If you want to use a custom licensing model, you will want to consider options other than the built-in SharePoint all-user or per-user models, such as:
- Charging based on page views in bulk
- Charging monthly
For these types of custom licensing models:
- Layer in your own customer management and monetization model. Use Office as an entry point into existing customer onboarding and lead generation.
- Consider prompting for registration and email upon install, and administer a 15- or 30-day trial for users.
- With users’ consent, send an email or follow up with a sales call as part of the email registration.
- Consider saving the account sign-up experience until the trial expires to reduce the steps required to start using your add-in and realizing the benefits it provides.
Identify the channels that are the best fit for selling your solution; for example:
- Directly to customer
- Indirectly through channel distributors, resellers, and cloud solution providers
- Through AppSource