When I’ve chatted to developers and partners in our ecosystem, a challenge I often hear is how to signal to potential customers that an app is trustworthy. Those of you on smaller teams or just starting out on the Marketplace might feel that this is particularly challenging. Maybe you even feel that customers are biased toward larger organizations within Marketplace….And you would be right, often customers are looking to purchase from recognizable names. But, that doesn't mean there aren't steps you can take to establish yourself as a trustworthy solution and brand.
As a Researcher at Atlassian, I conduct many studies with customers, and I’ve come to learn a little bit about what they are looking for when determining if a Marketplace app is trustworthy. I'd like to pass on some of my learnings to you all so that you might be better placed to appeal to our customers.
Think outside the [marketplace] box
The search, discovery, and evaluation stages of the evaluation journey often happen outside of the Marketplace. Admins rarely start their research for new apps in the Marketplace. Instead, admins are looking at the Community and doing a lot of unstructured searching outside of Atlassian's ecosystem, e.g., using Google to source data and information.
Searching inside Marketplace is less important than we might think, ~90% of customers are coming directly to the detail page of a specific app. This doesn't mean the Explore section of the marketplace isn't important or that you shouldn't think carefully about your category, but it does mean you should also be thinking about your marketing strategy outside of the Marketplace. Be sure that you have an organizational image (and marketing strategy) that extends beyond Marketplace.
Engage via Atlassian Community. Is someone asking a question about a problem you know your app can solve? Let them know! Write an article on the Community about how you solve customer problems.
Customers trust you, not your app
People don't build trust in apps; they put their trust in people and organizations (of people). Your apps are an expression of your organizations' security/data processes, the quality of your development, the care, consideration, and support you offer for your customers.
Psychology tells us that trust is built through:
- Consistency of experience (dependability, predictability),
- Reassurance about your organization (e.g., credibility, brand recognition)
- Communication that your organization cares about your customers
Enterprise admins are seeking serious commitment only. No app flings.
So you want to appeal to an enterprise organization? You should understand the challenges an enterprise admin will face. Unlike smaller organizations, enterprise admins take on a significant burden of time and energy when changing processes or introducing a new tool – including an app. A small organization might be able to test and change their apps with minimal disruption nimbly. The enterprise admin must onboard, educate, and support 1000s of users through a change management process.
It would be a nightmare if, after all that work…and just as people begin to rely on this app…that partner organization disappears.
They are looking for signals from you that you are committed and sticking around for the long haul.
Smaller partners can overcome biases toward more recognizable names by creating an image that extends beyond the Marketplace think about your website and Linkedin presence. Jexo does an awesome job at creating an image that customers can engage with inside and outside the Marketplace, check their social media accounts out for inspiration. Co-founders Biro and Nikki started out as a team of two on the Marketplace, but their hard work in their thoughtful branding (and the quality of their apps!) has paid off with their silver partner status and recent funding from Atlassian ventures.
Here are some ways you can create your brand:
- Answer questions on Community. Set aside an hour or two a week to read and interact with people on Community (make sure your app or brand name are easily discoverable in your profile or Community handle). This will help you establish yourself as a trustworthy expert.
- Publish articles on Community.
- Speak at Community events.
Security: Spark joy not terror
One of my favorite quotes from an enterprise admin, David, when describing his process of evaluating a new app:
You've heard of Marie Kondo, right? So when she says, does this spark joy? That really is just a complicated flow track that's going on in your brain […] So basically when I'm like, this seems risky, it's my, 'does this spark joy?' Does this spark terror?
Security is really important to our customers and a key component in creating trust and appealing to enterprise organizations. Of course, you can engage in our security programs to help spark joy, not terror.
Cost is a blocker
Especially if you are targeting enterprise customers, be sure to put your best foot forward with pricing. If your pricing is out of line for large instances they will skip over evaluating your app before giving you an opportunity to shine.
The journey of app procurement in an enterprise organization, not a small feat!
Hopefully, some of these learnings can help you better engage with your customers. Did anything that you read in this blog surprise you? If you’re interested to learn more about research we have coming up, please reach out to me!
We encourage you to go forth and connect with Atlassian customers on the Community to start establishing yourself as a trustworthy solution and brand.