Problem: How can tech companies create more successful partnerships?
SaaS and B2B tech companies must do more than just serve their customers. One way to improve and achieve success and growth is by creating a solid partnership program. Many of the successful SaaS companies have partnerships at their core. They can strengthen an organization’s revenue stream. One classic example of a great partnership program is HubSpot. The partnership program contributes 40% to the company’s revenue. So in the new world of tech start-ups, how can companies create more successful partnerships?
The whole object of partnerships is to do more things together. The more you’re doing with that partner, the more top of mind you are. The more reciprocity is going to come back and forth. And yeah, the more business you’re going to generate from the partnership.
Build Your Programs Around Your Partner
Design your programs in a way that you and your partner will both be empowered. Remember that the key to creating successful partnerships lies in understanding your partners’ goals and metrics to achieve them. Invest your time in helping your partner succeed.
You’re giving that partner an opportunity to be involved in whatever system that you’re creating. Bring them into it. Build a system around the partners, and then you’re going to be able to get in front of their customers and their users.
Tip # 1: Go Beyond Training Them How to Sell the Product
Although some partner programs focus on training their partners to sell the product, the most successful ones teach them how to make the most of it. To really create more successful partnerships, try providing your partners with technical training, industry expertise, and sales training. You can do this by allowing the partners to use the product for free so they know what they have to offer. Most importantly, train your partners on how to use your product in order to add value to the client.
You’re giving me so much value, and my team’s love the training. And I’m getting so much better as an agency owner that I’m going to hitch my wagon to you. And you’re going to take me wherever you take me. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope this continues, but they did that. I mean, no other partner program did it like they did it.
Tip #2: Co-sell and co-market with your partner
There’s a reason why you partner with your partner, but the most significant reason is that you’re aligned with your goals. As partners, you’ll most likely end up targeting the same companies. Map your accounts together and focus on reciprocity. Use third-party apps for account mapping and lead sharing. Partnerships are more than just how much revenue you can bring together. It’s also about working together, looking at your pipelines, and planning how you can reach particular clients better.
We call it co-selling, co-marketing. So, when you have a partner that is targeting the same customer profile, there’s a very good chance that you guys are going to be going after the same account. And you guys are probably going to be targeting different people inside those organizations, right? So, you use a third-party solution. We use Reveal. It’s a really awesome solution that allows you to map accounts. Meaning I load my pipeline; you load yours. I see my users, leads, prospects. I don’t see your actual contact information for your prospects, but I see that you have 100 accounts that you are also targeting. Then you and I pull up our accounts, and maybe you decide to share URLs, not contact info. You send me or show me inside Reveal the URLs that you’re going after. And then I say, “Wow, you know what? I’m actually talking to Jim at that company, and Frank at that company, and Sally at that company.” We’re looking at this and saying, “All right, well, how can we be more effective?”
Tip # 3: Make it Your Business to Know Your Partner’s Business
Understanding where your affiliate or partner stands is crucial. Find out about their team structure, their current client base, and how they would like to move forward with their business. Make sure you’re constantly in touch with them by doing the following:
- Establish a platform or portal where they can update if they have a new business development or customer success employee who needs training. Or showcase the work they are doing with your product and tool.
- Send out a newsletter showing how other agency partners are successfully using the product.
- Stay in touch during the development of new features. It is critical that they test it, so they can utilize the update once it is released.
- Inform them about the training materials and toolkits you have created to help them understand the product better.
- Offer them support when they’re pitching for a new client.
Play the long game. People are people. That’s what I think many of us in B2B don’t remember. It’s like, you’re a person, David, you want to do nice things for other people. You’re not just going around asking for favors. So, if we are doing stuff together, it’s just a matter of time before you bring me something that’s going to be super valuable for me and my business. Just do stuff together.
Tip # 4: Don’t just partner for sales, do content marketing together
Build up each other’s reputation. Dedicate dates and segments of your content calendar to partner content. Here are some ways you can support each other for your content marketing initiatives:
- Feature each other as thought leaders in your area of expertise in your platforms.
- Encourage mutual sharing of content that both your clients will find helpful.
- Collaborate and plan what kind of content will highlight how your products and services created success for your clients.
Alex Glenn Recommends these tools to easily create more successful partnerships:
Awesome Account Mapping Tool
- Reveal: Lead Sharing App for Marketing Partners
Their Free App
- Partnerhub: The first platform where SaaS and digital agencies can find each other, partner, and grow together