Appealing to Customers: What Admins Care About

Hi developer community!

A challenge that I often hear from when I’ve chatted to some of you is how you can signal that your app is trustworthy to a potential customer. Those of you who are 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.

Many of my studies are with our 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.

What’s your SEO health? Make sure your organization and app are discoverable via google. Reflect on your SEO strategies with these guides: SEO Best Practices & Attracting New Customers

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’s venture fund.

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. Let me know what you think! Any surprises in there?

Stay safe,

Caitlin
Lead researcher, ecosystem & marketplace.

Ps. Want to chat? I’m (almost) always running research sessions, check out my calendar

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Thanks for sharing - this is very helpful content, almost like a playbook for emerging MP vendors :pray: .

What is your opinion on reaching enterprise customers through existing solution partners? Is there a best practice for approaching and liaising with partners?

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Thanks for sharing this article @CaitlinMcCurrie; Great and important insights here :rocket:

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Thanks for sharing, but how about Atlassian doing a better job with consistency and transparency about Security on the Marketplace pages, so customers could better understand it?

Currently it’s a total mess: Atlassian Verified badge is now replaced with Metal Badges that aren’t even displayed on the app or vendor pages. Self-assessment and Bug Bounty Program are separated, work at the same time. Cloud Security Program is not even described for customers at all.

I can continue that list above but I don’t see any point since those are well known issues being ignored for over a year now. This is why suggestions like “Speak at Community events” or “Publish articles on Community” as an outcome of a “research” drive me crazy.

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I hear ya, there is certainly some work to do. I don’t disagree! I can’t share all the outcomes of my research externally, but I am absolutely exploring signals with customers on marketplace and looking for ways to do a better job on Atlassians end. In case it’s not clear, my research intends to help Atlassian understand and better serve the needs of both customers and partners. And I try my damndest to achieve that :smiley:
So the focus of all the research that contributes to the above is actually to help Atlassian teams (including tackle some of the points you mention), but I take the view that I might as well share a few things I’ve learnt along the way to help the partner community too rather than keeping it all for our product teams!
If you’d like to share some of the problems you’re hearing about security signals with customers I’m happy to jump on a call too to capture that, although I totally understand the frustration that you’ve shared that previously.

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Good question! We are actually doing some work on the topic of solution partners and their relationship to customers and apps at the moment - let me get back to you on that as I’d hate to misrepresent what works best for the solution partners.

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Hi @CaitlinMcCurrie ! :wave::coffee: Appreciate this post - it sparks joy! Are there other insights you can share with us?

  • I’m guessing most Marketplace referrals occur via Google, rather than other search engines?
  • Curious if there’s more color around what “out of line” pricing might be for enterprise customers?
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Spark joy, not terror! Yah :wink:
Incredibly difficult to speak to the pricing piece in general terms since it’s on such a case by case basis. I can say broadly that appetite to pay relates to 1) how mission-critical an app is; 2) regulatory/compliance or security pressures that might drive the need for an app (or drive the selection of a certain app that meets said standards); 3) how widely used the app is for an org (the wider the appeal, the better). So when thinking about pricing, consider where a given app might fall with regard to those dimensions.
And yes, Google!

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