Why Build a Partner Program for your SAAS?

Joran Hofman
April 26, 2020
Education
Lead Generation
Growth Hacking
Why you should build a partner program for your B2B SaaS program

Partner Programs are fast becoming a valuable addition to many SaaS platforms. At the end of the day, creating a SaaS partnership program can massively boost your Monthly Recurring Revenue. A great example is SEMrush, they offer a monster of a partner program which helped them to grow very rapidly.

Your own marketing and sales strategy no longer need to work alone. With the advent of partner programs, your SaaS platform can now reach new heights. Partner programs can amplify your reach and broadcast your message to a much more extensive network – a win-win situation for all.

Here, we’ll delve a little deeper into the benefits and methods of building a partner program for your SaaS.

What is a SAAS partner program?

If you have no idea what a SAAS Partner Program is this might not be the right blog article for you. However, our goal is to educate, so we will give you a short description of what a SAAS Partner Program is. 

First of all, SAAS stands for Software As A Service. Nowadays you don’t buy a piece of software, you take a subscription on it. You can compare it to Netflix, you pay an x amount per month to use their platform. For businesses, it works now the same, they can have a license on different pieces of software to run their business. 

Now we know what a SAAS is we can move on to the “Partner Program” part. To come back to the Netflix example and let’s say Netflix has a partner program, it can work as follows. You can earn money by referring Netflix to your parents, family, friends or followers on social. When you convince others to also take a subscription on Netflix, you can earn up to 20% commission on what they pay for the service. Offering such a thing will help Netflix in their marketing & sales and will help you to generate some passive monthly income. 

Now with subscriptions amounts of $10 per month it isn’t that interesting, but what if I told you B2B SAAS tools can charge above $1.000+. It would give huge benefits to both parties and basically creates a win-win. 

Explainer from Tapfiliate on how a partner program works

Getting a SAAS Partner Program to Work

The ultimate goal of a SaaS partner program is to generate more revenue for your business and add value along the way. To make sure your partners generate more revenue for you, you will need to have a plan to get there. Here are some key elements that we recommend to include in your partner program plan; 

  • Technical training and sales enablement – This feature will ensure that your partner’s teams are well versed and prepared for customer engagement. Online courses and learning management systems are effective mediums to use in upskilling your partner programs. Having a learning program off course depends on the difficulty of your product, make sure that within the course, your objectives are aligned with the partner. 
  • Commission and discounts - Explained in our intro partners are looking for incentives and encouragement to sell your products and services. Offering commissions and discounted products for their clients will motivate them and make you a priority. When working with multiple different companies/people it is always good to set up various partner programs. This way you reward high selling agencies better vs an influencer which hasn’t sold anything yet. 
  • Partner Marketing Assets – Having a partner program that includes a set of tools and resources, allowing them to launch campaigns is a must. With web-based marketing now the primary form of information distribution, having marketing assets in place will enable the partners to achieve these goals with ease. Needless to say, but the easier you make it for the partner, the higher the outcome will probably be. 
  • Partner Portal – a critical feature, and must have tool. Having a partner portal will allow you to track all your partners with ease.  It is a great way to store all the content in one place and will give you great insights into what is going on. You can see clicks, signups, purchases & generated revenue in one place. 

Benefits of a SaaS Partner Program

The pro’s of establishing a SaaS partnership program are enormous. From amplifying sales and marketing initiatives to grow your business network, these partnerships are designed to benefit all parties involved. In line with best business practices, there are four main benefits to partner programs:

  1. Increased Revenue – This mutually advantageous situation is the primary benefit of building a SaaS partnership program. Your sales activity increases and your vendors reap the rewards of partnering with you. It is for sure a win-win situation which has proven success in the SAAS landscape. 
  2. Extended Network – Establishing a partnership will boost your presence in the market and allow you access to your partner's clients and expertise. You now have greater access to resources, expertise, and distinctive skill sets. When you require a blog post plus backlink when starting a program, it will always do you good, no matter if they generate signups or not. 
  3. Enhanced Product Portfolio – Through partnerships, re-sellers can sell a broader range of products, and your SaaS will have access to a more extensive range of consumers, opening the door to developing a more comprehensive product line of solutions. Marketing Agencies are always a good example, they use a big variety of tools in their organization for their clients. When partnering with multiple tools, they will set up all the integrations for their clients so they will have a fully integrated tool stack. 
  4. Indirect Sales Channel – Possibly the most important benefit, a partnership program will amplify your sales and revenue by creating another avenue through which to sell. Simple but effective.
Pipedrive affiliate portal

Types of SaaS Partner Programs

When considering what partner program to build for your SaaS, you will need to define what type of partner program is best for you. Do bear in mind that you do have the option of making use of multiple partnerships. This means you don't have to choose one specific partner program. 

  • Referral Partners – Your basic partnership. Referral partners will generate the leads and pass them on to your SaaS for a commission. This effective partnership can take many forms in its commission structure, ranging from a fixed fee per lead to offering partners a percentage of the sale. Often the referrer does not have any contact with the referral so all your service will remain the same. You can see them as an extra marketing channel. 
  • Strategic or Technical Partners – Here, the partnership revolves around both parties working towards a common goal or sharing resources and infrastructure in the pursuit of this goal. Partners may share information or technology for the benefit of each other. Synergy is the magic word here. These partnerships are used in more sophisticated products where guidance is needed to reach success. 
  • Sales and Support Partners – A hand-in-hand partnership, these partners will recommend your SaaS to their customers where it makes sense to both parties. Resources are shared, and revenue is generated, as well as training and development initiatives. Partners can take out all the work for you and will handle any questions about your product. 
Image from partnerprograms.io

Building your SaaS Partner Program

To successfully build your SaaS partner program, you must ensure that you follow three key concepts in your efforts.

First, you must align your marketing and sales activities. Having a unified activity agenda with the same goals will allow your sales and marketing teams to boost your sales and revenues. When your sales activities are in line with your marketing objectives, it is far easier to share this critical data with your partners, fostering more in-depth engagement.

Then, Automate – everything. As your channel becomes larger and more complicated once the partner program starts to show results, things can get tricky in managing the workload. Using tools that automate the communications process can eliminate the challenges of too much information flying all over the place. For example, sales enablement tools allow your sales team to put campaigns together in a few clicks, instead of to spend vast amounts of time building them. 

Finally, you need to take advantage of the Data and put it to work. With so much data available, too often much of it goes to waste. Finding ways to efficiently analyze and use this collected information will ensure that your partner program lives up to its potential. Automating this collection process will allow you the opportunity to analyze the data and use it effectively.

So, there you have it. Building a partner program into your SaaS poses almost no downside. The benefits of incorporating these programs into your offering will see sales revenues increase, grant you access to a broader network, and allow for information and technology exchange for the mutual benefit of both your SaaS and program partners. 

See here a partner program tool which can help you from setting up the program to generating a monthly recurring revenue for you.