As a SaaS company, your partner program has become more important than ever before.

For starters, a thriving network of partners can help you penetrate new markets, shoulder the weight of client onboarding, and give you an edge over your competitors by offering complementary software and services. In doing so, they also free up your time, allowing you to focus on what matters most: product development. (We spoke about this in a little more depth over here).

In fact, enterprise customers today aren’t looking to buy standalone applications. The Vice President of Ecosystem & Cloud Partnerships at Sage, Manju Bansal, explains in this article, they’re more interested in investing in ‘solutions ecosystems’ that have the scope to address a wide range of business needs and the integration capabilities needed to remain truly future proof.

The bottom line? If you want to thrive as an enterprise SaaS company, you need to prioritize integration and work hard to ensure the health of your partner ecosystem.

So, what exactly can you do to strengthen your partner network? While every partner program should be tailored to suit the particular set of software, services, and companies in question, there are three things you can do to improve your SaaS partner program’s reach and staying power.

1. Equip your partner network with specialized training and the right resources.

You know your product inside out, but do your partners share the same level of in-depth knowledge? If you want to put them in a position to not only successfully sell your software, but also help customers get the most out of your tools, you need to provide your partners with ongoing, specialized training and keep them in the loop of useful customer behaviour insights.

For example, letting your partners know which tools in your tech suite are being most frequently used by end customers helps them understand where the demand lies. Armed with this insight, they can tailor their own demand generation and marketing strategies to suit the end customer’s requirements. It also allows them to focus on delivering services that get right to the heart of your customers’ biggest pain points.

It’s also important to provide partner training and education around new features pre-launch. This way, when a new tool is released, your partners are able to hit the ground running, with well-aligned service offerings and targeted sales tactics at the ready.

2. Establish easy and regular communication with your partners.

As cliché as it sounds, good communication really is the key to any good relationship. The relationships within a SaaS partner program are no exception. The best partner programs are run by SaaS companies that are able to guide their partners with support and advice around not just their software and tools, but also around positioning, account management, business growth, and everything in between.

HubSpot sets a good example of how to do this. Their Channel Consultants aren’t just in charge of onboarding new partners. They act as trusted advisors that regularly check in with members of HubSpot’s partner network on a wide range of business growth issues.

3. Energize your partner program by turning your partner directory into an commerce-enabled marketplace.

Traditionally, SaaS partner directories are static pages that leave most of the work up to the customer. But modern customers – even at enterprise level – are ready for a much smoother buying experience requiring minimal footwork on their part. A commerce-enabled marketplace allows customers to easily buy services around your technology suite from certified partners, directly from your partner directory.

As Bansal points out, ecommerce marketplaces add value for your partners by allowing them to commercialize their service offerings. At the same time, they help your customers to quickly and painlessly search for – and buy – services within your partner ecosystem. That’s a win for everyone involved, including you.

If you’d like to find out more about how a commerce-enabled partner directory can strengthen your SaaS partner program, give us a shout

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