Do you know the biggest challenge to amplifying your SaaS sales and revenue? It’s limiting your sales channel to a direct sales model. Selling directly to your target audience is just not enough when you want to scale your business.
Today, it’s important for SaaS companies to have multiple channels at their disposal to sustain their brand in this cut-throat competition. Your SaaS marketing plan should include opening up more streams of revenue apart from content marketing, email marketing, SEO, and others.
Most successful SaaS companies have one thing in common and that is they utilize and grow upon partner programs. The significance of partner programs is high as 58% of the revenue generated by sales reps come from partner contributions.
Previously, we learned why partner programs are worth building and how you can create your own tailored program. In this article, we’ll delve into how can you utilize partner programs to accelerate growth and generate more sales and revenue. But before that, let’s understand the differences between the direct sales model and the partner program sales model:
In a partner program, a SaaS company expands its sales channels to include other companies, organizations, individuals, or existing customers to generate more sales. These partners often receive a commission or other form of compensation for their sales efforts. This model allows you to expand your reach and tap into the partner’s potential customer base.
The direct sales model is where you sell your SaaS directly to customers, typically through your own sales team. This model allows you to have more control over the sales process and build direct relationships with customers. It also eliminates the need to share revenue with partners.
However, in direct sales, your sales team is responsible to bring in new customers and increase revenue. But there’s only a finite number of hours they can work to turn prospects into closed-won deals.
Partner programs, on the other hand, continue to be operational without much supervision. And the best thing is you only have to pay rewards when there’s an actual sale and you onboard new clients. Rewards can be of different forms such as cash, commissions, flat fee, or other tangible incentives.
Here are a few factors to know whether starting partner programs is right for you or not:
Now we know the differences and things to keep in mind, let’s get to know how partner programs can help accelerate the growth of your SaaS:
Since there are several channels to leverage, SaaS companies can build tailored partner programs to promote and sell their SaaS products. Some common channels include:
Selecting the right partner program is often difficult for many but here are some criteria to form the right partnership program that amplifies your sales:
Remember, the key to a successful partnership is to find the right fit and to work closely with the partner to achieve mutually beneficial goals.
An important part of selecting a suitable partner program is to find the best-fit partner to form the right partnership. Carefully evaluate and define potential partners that are best suited to promote your SaaS product.
For instance, you can partner with content creators, service providers, product platforms, knowledge partners, and influencers that speak directly to your target audience. You can also find complementary agencies that have an existing customer base best suited for your product to form a partnership with.
However, keep in mind the following things when finding prospects for your SaaS partner program:
Once you’ve shortlisted a few partners to get started, reach out to them with your offer of building a partnership and discuss your goals. Clearly define what you can offer your partner and vice versa to make this partnership more fruitful and generate more sales.
Also, determine your partner’s goals, needs, & challenges they might face to offer your support and help from the get-go till the actual sales start happening. This’ll help set clear expectations and form a seamless partnership.
Offering the right incentives in your SaaS partner program is crucial to its success and to amplify your sales. It not only motivates them but also makes them feel a valued member of your team. Of course, money is the biggest motivator and may be the only reason for partners to join your programs.
However, you also want to consider other reward types that increase in value after they start bringing in more sales. Here are a few incentive options to consider:
Ultimately, the right incentives will depend on the goals of your partnership program and the needs of the partners. Be sure to continually evaluate and adjust the incentives as necessary to ensure they are driving the desired results.
Creating and incentivizing your SaaS partner program is just the beginning, what’s more, it’s tracking the growth and success of your partnership program. However, you can only do so once you have established and defined realistic goals for your program’s success.
Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) that help you measure and attain the relevant goals within a specific time frame. For instance, you can set a goal to increase monthly sales by X% or acquire Y new customers in a year with the help of your SaaS partner program.
Creating such realistic goals would help you become aware of what could be possible with your partner programs.
Just like employee onboarding, onboarding the partners the right way is crucial for the success of your partnership with them. The first step is to form an agreement that states mutual goals, incentives, benefits & resources, responsibilities, and contract breach terms.
Further, you may want to consider offering training and hands-on product demos so that your partner can represent your SaaS in the best way possible. Also, explain the USPs, brand message, and other key selling points that your partners should emphasize when promoting your SaaS.
Another point to keep in mind is to personalize the onboarding process based on your partner’s goals, needs, and challenges. The last step of the puzzle is to set up goal tracking for your SaaS partner program to get insights on which channel is working best and which one needs more polishing.
Let’s see some partner program examples of SaaS brands:
Slack is an essential business communication SaaS tool that enables its clients to use different SaaS apps within the tool. It follows an integration-based partner program to onboard partners such as Google, Zoom, Salesforce, Oracle, and others.
Pipedrive is a sales CRM SaaS tool to help businesses streamline their sales process. It offers technology-based, affiliate, and referral partner programs with a commission of up to 33% for the first year. Additionally, it also offers solution programs for resellers and consultants to promote and sell Pipedrive with their own professional service.
Zendesk is an integrated customer support and helpdesk SaaS tool to help improve customer relationships. It offers different partner programs where resellers, existing users, and solution providers can participate to promote and drive more sales. Also, their partner program offers different tiers of partnerships including Ecosystem, Qualified, Advanced, and Premier.
Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, it’s important to grow average monthly sales when you scale up. Partner programs can help you generate qualified leads and drive more sales to boost your revenue.However, it’s crucial to find and select the right partners that help you amplify your SaaS sales. In this article, we have laid down the process of how SaaS companies can form alliances with different partners and help each other grow through partner programs.