How to Create a SaaS Partner Program That Wins

SaaS Partner Program

If you’re a SaaS business founder, it’s time to start thinking about creating a partner program. Partner programs can be a great way to drive more sales and grow your business. A study by SaaS capital that these programs can boost over 21% of revenue. It’s no wonder that the same study show that over 50% of SaaS companies are running a partner program. That only means one thing: If you’re not thinking about how to create a SaaS partner program, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

But, not just any partner program will do. To create a winning SaaS partner program, you’ll need to put some thought into it and make sure you include the right elements. So, what should you consider when creating your SaaS partner program? Read on to find out.


What Are SaaS Partner Programs and Why Are They Important?


A SaaS partner program is a relationship between a SaaS provider and a third party entity (be it an individual or a business organization) in which the SaaS provider may give the third-party access to its software platform, tools, and resources. In return, the technology company helps promote and sell the saas provider’s products or services.

The SaaS partner program is beneficial for both parties because it allows them to focus on their core competencies while still being able to offer a complete solution to their customers. In addition, the SaaS partner program provides a way for the two companies to share risk and costs associated with developing and marketing new products or services.

Below are a few benefits that a SaaS company can expect from having a partner program:


Increased reach


Partner programs give you access to new markets and new potential customers that you would not have otherwise had. Examples of these are a network of resellers, distributors, and other software companies that can help promote and sell your products. In addition, SaaS partner programs often offer marketing and sales resources, such as leads, training, and support.


Increased sales


Partnering with other companies also provides you with access to new technology and resources, which can help you better serve your customers and close more sales. In addition, SaaS partner programs can provide you with valuable insights into customer needs and trends. By understanding what your partners are doing to succeed, you can adapt your own strategies to be more effective. A great example is HubSpot which reportedly generates 40% of its revenue from its partnership program.


Increased brand awareness


By partnering with other SaaS companies, you can share your brand with a wider audience and promote your product to a new group of potential customers. In addition, SaaS partner programs can help you build relationships with other businesses in your industry, which can lead to further opportunities for collaboration and growth.


Improved customer satisfaction


When customers are happy with the product they’ve purchased, they’re more likely to continue using it and recommend it to others.


Improved reputation


By aligning yourself with a reputable third party entities, you’ll be able to show your customers that you’re committed to delivering the best possible experience. Ultimately, a SaaS partner program can help you improve your reputation and build trust with your customers.


Effective Scaling


SaaS partner programs are designed to help partners grow their businesses through technology and marketing resources, enablement tools, and business insights. They also offer partner companies increased visibility, as they are often featured prominently on SaaS provider websites and in other marketing materials. In addition, SaaS providers often offer exclusive discounts or other incentives to partners who join their programs.


Reduced Cost


By partnering with a SaaS provider, a company can share the costs of developing, hosting, and maintaining the software. In addition, SaaS partner programs can help companies save money on customer acquisition and retention. By partnering with a SaaS provider, companies can offer their customers discounts on the monthly fees, or even provide them with free trials.


Increased Product Focus


SaaS partnerships can help both companies increase their focus on their product by allowing them to share resources, costs, and risks. SaaS partners can also help each other by cross-selling their products to their customer base and by providing feedback on product development.


Performance Attribution


SaaS partner programs provide a way to track and attribute SaaS usage and activity data to specific partners. They typically include a SaaS partner dashboard that enables SaaS providers to see which SaaS products are being used by each partner, how often they are being used, and what features are being utilized. This visibility into SaaS usage activity provides critical data points that can be used to attribute SaaS performance results to specific partners.


Types of SaaS Partner Programs


There are seven main types of SaaS partner programs as follows


1. Referral Partner Program


A referral partner is an organization that refers customers to a SaaS company in exchange for a commission.

Referral partners are typically businesses that have a customer base that would be interested in the SaaS company’s product, but don’t offer competing products.

For example, a SaaS company that offers project management software might partner with an online task management company. The referral partner would then promote the project management software to its customers and receive a commission for every customer that signs up.


2. Affiliate Partner Programs


SaaS affiliate partner programs are agreements between a SaaS company and an affiliate partner, in which the affiliate partner agrees to promote the SaaS company’s products or services in exchange for a commission on sales.

The commission is typically a percentage of the sale price, and may be payable only after the customer has made a purchase or signed up for a subscription.


3. Integration Partner Program


SaaS integration partner programs are designed to help SaaS providers easily connect their software with other applications.

The program typically includes a set of APIs and developer tools that make it easy to connect the SaaS application with other software. In many cases, SaaS providers offer pre-built integrations with popular applications.

For example, Salesforce offers an integration with Gmail that allows users to view their email inboxes within the Salesforce interface.

SaaS providers also often offer training and support to help partners get started with their integrations. Integration partner programs can be a great way for SaaS providers to expand the reach of their software and build deeper relationships with their customers.


4. Reseller Partnership Programs


SaaS reseller partnerships are agreements between a SaaS company and a reseller, under which the reseller agrees to sell the SaaS company’s products or services.

In return, the SaaS company provides the reseller with access to its products, marketing and sales support, and other resources.

SaaS reseller partnerships are typically long-term relationships that involve a high degree of cooperation between the two parties. The SaaS company relies on the reseller to generate demand for its SaaS products and services, while the reseller relies on the SaaS company to provide it with a steady stream of new customers.


5. SaaS White Label Programs


SaaS white label programs are a type of software licensing that allows software companies to resell SaaS products under their own brand. In most cases, SaaS white label programs give resellers the ability to customize the branding, pricing, and features of the SaaS product. This type of licensing is often used by SaaS companies that want to expand their reach without incurring the cost of developing and selling their own SaaS products.


What the Best SaaS Partner Programs Have in Common


The best SaaS partner programs share certain key features. Here are four of the most important ones:

1. A focus on mutual benefits

Each company involved should have a clear understanding of what it stands to gain from the partnership. If one company is getting all the benefit while the other is doing all the work, the partnership is unlikely to last.


2. A clear understanding of roles and responsibilities


. Each company involved should have a clear understanding of what it will be responsible for and what it expects from the other companies in the partnership. Otherwise, there’s a risk that everyone will end up duplicating effort or working at cross purposes.


3. A culture of trust and transparency


. There should be an open flow of communication between companies, and each should feel free to give honest feedback without fear of retribution. If there’s no trust or transparency, it’s very difficult to build a productive partnership.


4. A focus on results


This means setting clear goals and metrics upfront and measuring progress along the way. If either company isn’t seeing the results it wants, it should be able to walk away from the partnership without fear of recrimination.


How Do You Decide Which Types of Partner Programs Are Right for You?


With so many different types of partner programs out there, how do you choose which ones are right for you? Here are a few things to consider as you evaluate potential partner programs:


1. What’s the goal of the partnership?


Before you even start looking at potential partner programs, it’s important to take a step back and think about what you want to achieve with a partnership. Do you want to reach new markets? Drive traffic to your site? Boost your bottom line? Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you’ll be in a better position to assess whether or not a particular partner program can help you achieve them.


2. What’s the quality of the leads?


Not all leads are created equal, and you don’t want to waste your time chasing after bad ones. Do your homework and talk to other businesses that have participated in the program to get a sense of the quality of the leads it generates.


3. What’s the nature of the relationship?


Will you be working together closely on joint projects? Or will it be more of an arms-length relationship where each business promotes the other but doesn’t necessarily work together on anything?


4. What are the terms of the agreement?


Make sure you understand what’s expected of both parties and that there’s room for flexibility in case things don’t go exactly as planned. It’s also important to make sure that both parties are clear on who owns any intellectual property that is created as part of the partnership.


Attracting and Recruiting the Right Partners


In order to have a successful partner program, you’ll need to attract and recruit the right partners. Here are some tips:


1. Define your ideal partner


Before you start recruiting partners, it’s important to have a clear idea of who you’re looking for. What type of business are you trying to attract? What sort of skills and expertise do they need to have?


2. Write a compelling partner profile


Once you’ve defined your ideal partner, you’ll need to create a partner profile that outlines the benefits of working with your brand. This profile should be clear, concise, and persuasive.


3. Promote your partner program


Once you’ve created your partner profile, it’s time to start promoting your program. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as social media, online directories, and word-of-mouth.


4. Screen potential partners


When you start receiving applications from potential partners, it’s important to screen them carefully. Be sure to review their application thoroughly and conduct a phone or video interview.


5. Onboard your partners


After you’ve selected your partners, it’s time to onboard them. This process should include providing them with training, access to resources, and support.


How to Build Your Own SaaS Partner Program in 8 Steps


Below are eight steps you can take to build your own SaaS partner program:


1. Decide if a B2B partner program is right for your brand


Consider your goals and whether a B2B partnership is the best way to achieve them. If you’re not sure, talk to other businesses in your industry to see if they’ve had success with partner programs.


2. Identify who is going to take the reigns


You’ll need someone to manage the program and act as the point of contact for partners. This person should have a good understanding of your business goals and be able to build relationships with potential partners.


3. Outline Your Strategy


You’ll need to decide what type of partners you’re looking for, what benefits they’ll receive, and how you’ll find them. It’s also important to set some ground rules for what you will and won’t accept in a partner.


4. Create a compensation plan


Be sure to consider how you will compensate your partners for any leads or sales they generate. Will it be a flat fee? A commission? Some other type of performance-based compensation?

You’ll also need to decide how you will keep track of leads and sales. For example, will you provide partners with a discount code that they can give to customers?


5. Consider the structure of your program


Make sure you have a clear idea of how the program will work and what sorts of things partners will be expected to do. Will there be tiers? What sort of support will you provide?


6. Set up an insightful application form


An application form is a great way to screen potential partners and make sure they’re a good fit for your program. Be sure to include questions that will give you a sense of their goals and how they plan to promote your brand. For example, you might ask them to provide a brief description of their business, their target audience, and how they would promote your brand.


7. Be a resource for your partners


As your partners promote your brand, they might have questions or need assistance. Be sure to provide them with the resources they need to be successful, such as marketing materials, product information, and access to customer support.


8. Evaluate your partners regularly


It’s important to check in with your partners on a regular basis to make sure they’re still a good fit for your program. You might consider conducting an annual review or sending out a survey to get feedback on their experience.


9. Identify your best partners and amplify those profiles


As you work with partners, you’ll start to get a sense of who is generating the best results. Be sure to give these partners some extra love and attention. For example, you might feature them on your website or in your marketing materials.


10. Don’t forget about retention


Just as it’s important to attract new partners, it’s also important to keep your existing partners happy. Be sure to check in with them regularly and offer support when needed. You might also want to consider offering incentives for partners who generate a high volume of leads or sales.


11. Choose KPIs to measure success


There are a variety of KPIs you can use to measure the success of your partner program. Some common ones include the number of leads generated, the number of sales generated, and the amount of traffic driven to your website.


12. Remember partnerships are a long-term win


Building a successful partner program takes time and effort. Be patient and don’t expect results overnight. With a little bit of work, you can build a program that will benefit your business for years to come.


Using a Partner Coach or Consultant


If you’re not sure where to start or how to proceed with developing a partner program, you may want to consider working with a partner coach or consultant. They can help you assess your needs, develop a strategy, and find the right partners for your business. They can also provide guidance on how to manage and grow your program over time.

If you’re interested in finding a partner coach or consultant, we suggest doing a search online or reaching out to your network for recommendations. Start by identifying a few options and then set up a consultation to see if they’re a good fit for you.


Final Thoughts


If you’re looking to create a SaaS partner program that will help you drive more sales and scale your business, consider the tips and best practices we’ve outlined in this blog post. From developing clear guidelines and tracking progress to setting achievable goals, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your SaaS partner program is successful. For more tips and resources on growing your SaaS business, be sure to visit our blog.

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This article provides an in-depth look at how to build a successful SaaS partner program. It includes tips on deciding if this type of program is right for your brand, identifying the person who will manage the program, outlining a strategy, creating compensation plans and evaluating partners regularly. Learn more about setting up effective partnerships with our comprehensive guide.

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Ken Moo