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Why Should You Set Up a Partner Program as a SaaS? 2024 guide


From startups to enterprise-level companies, key players in the SaaS sector will tell you freely that there's a lot more involved in the SaaS industry than merely creating an exceptional service or developing a revolutionary product. After all, what good is your service if nobody knows about it-or has even heard about it?

From outbound to inbound marketing, paid to non-paid sales, and lead generation channels. Creating an excellent marketing plan leveraging customer interaction and productive marketing solutions is a must-do for any budding SaaS company to mid-level and industry-leading enterprises.

An accepted way to get both is to establish a SaaS partnership program with other companies to boost your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and increase brand awareness. Gone are the days of riding solo and depending only on your marketing and sales strategies. SaaS partner programs prove that it pays literally to have friends.

What is a SaaS partner program?

SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service. Today, you no longer have to purchase software physically; you pay a subscription. Examples include accounting software, project management tools, media streaming platforms, etc. 

B2B SaaS partner programs provide partners with financial benefits when they get their customers, clients, or friends and family to sign up or subscribe to a SaaS product through the links on their platform. The SaaS provider makes a sale on their product, and the partner generates passive income in the form of a commission.

The end goal of any B2B SaaS partner program is to create revenue for the SaaS provider and value addition along the way. But getting there doesn't happen overnight. You have to work to find partners, establish sales channels and create plans to monetize the available channels. Creating a profitable SaaS program will require work and attention.

SaaS is a touchless sales cycle that works independently from your internal sales resources, eliminates the cost of setting up customer engagement programs, and saves your internal sales team valuable time spent pursuing other more complex opportunities. 

Why you need a SaaS Partner Program

Successful SaaS partner programs amplify sales and marketing initiatives to grow and expand your business network. These partnerships are designed to benefit all parties involved. SaaS partner programs provide several advantages, including:

1. Increased Revenue

By tapping into new sales channels, you can reach more customers and generate additional revenue from the same number of resources. 

For example, with a SaaS partner program, you can offer discounts or incentives to your partners who refer customers to your product.

You can also increase revenue through increased brand awareness. Partners help spread the word about your products and services, raising your visibility in the marketplace and leading to more customers.

Besides,  you can gain access to new markets and customer segments. Partners can help you break into different markets, allowing you to reach more potential customers and increase your revenue streams.

2. Cost saving

You don’t have to pay for advertising or marketing campaigns with a SaaS partner program. Your partners are already marketing for you, and they get compensated when you make a sale.

You can also save on customer service costs. When you partner with other companies, they take care of customer support and technical issues for their customers using your product.

Moreover,  you don’t need to hire a team of salespeople to generate more leads. Your partners are already in the market and can refer customers to you.

3.  Increased Efficiency

SaaS partner programs help you to streamline your sales process. By automating many of the steps in the customer acquisition cycle, you can increase your efficiency and get more customers in less time.

You can also monitor the performance of your partners. This way, you can track and measure your partners' success, as well as understand which areas are performing best.

You can use analytics to identify where you need to make changes to optimize your partner program further and ensure its success.

4. Expanded Network

By establishing a partnership program with a partner that already has an existing customer base and following, you gain access to their clients and expertise on monetizing the new network's full potential. 

You now have access to more resources, knowledge, and diverse skill sets. 

Referrals have a 16-37% higher Lifetime Value (LTV) compared to regular clients.

You can increase LTV and generate more revenue by leveraging the right partnerships.

For instance, you can:

  • Offer exclusive discounts and promotions to your partner's existing customer base.
  • Leverage their existing marketing channels and campaigns to generate more leads.
  • Gain access to new markets and customer segments.
  • Exchange data and insights with your partner for mutual benefit.

5. Product Portfolio boost

Partnerships allow resellers to sell an extensive catalog of different products. This gives your SaaS program access to more customers with diverse tastes. 

The insights from the sales and customer interactions give you the idea of diversifying your product lines while lowering your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) for your SaaS product.

These partnerships also help you to innovate. Your partners can come up with creative solutions and new products that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own. They can also provide valuable feedback and insights to help you improve existing products.

6. Independent Sales Channel

A SaaS partnership program establishes itself as an opportunity to amplify your sales and revenue through a separate sales channel that doesn’t draw much effort from your internal resources or require your everyday involvement. When you use referrals, there is a 3-5x higher chance of converting them after they sign up for a trial. 

This allows you to focus on product development and customer service while still growing your sales. It also allows you to offer a wider range of services to a much larger target audience.

These are just some of the benefits of a SaaS partner program. With the right approach and partners, you can significantly boost your customer base, increase revenue and become more competitive in the market.

Types of SaaS Partner Programs

Before choosing a particular SaaS partner program to pursue, take time to check out and compare the different programs to find the one suitable to your company and goals. Worth considering is that you are not limited to one partner program; you can implement as many or as few as your goals demand.

Referral Partners

A basic partnership program. Referral partners will generate the leads and redirect them to your SaaS for a commission. This SaaS partnership program can implement many forms in its commission structure, including a fixed fee per lead to offering partners a percentage of the sale and other options like discounts and free coupon codes. The referrer is only tasked with ensuring that the referral gets to your SaaS service from their link.

The SaaS referral program is beneficial in creating a close-knit community consisting of your existing and partners’ customer base and, by extension, their friends and family. The long-term benefit is an expansion in community growth and permissiveness of your product in exchange for monetary rewards. The SaaS referral program is also scalable and easy to monetize on as-is offers different commission options in the form of discounts, coupons, coupon codes, promo codes, credits, and loyalty programs, each on a recurring basis.

Why referral partners

People trust their friends to recommend the best to them. This makes marketing to them much easier as they already have an existing relationship. The average person is biased in their purchase decisions. They are twice as likely to trust something from a friend than information on a sales call or email. Word of mouth is scalable and creates a higher retention percentage and a loyal customer base.

Strategic or Technical Partners

Strategic partnerships are where both parties are actively working towards a common goal by sharing resources and infrastructure to pursue this goal. Partners may share information or technology for the benefit of each other. Technical b2b partnership programs are useful when dealing with sophisticated products where guidance is needed to reach success. A strategic partnership goes beyond the financial return of the partnership. It is a mutual benefit where both parties gain access to resources and skills to improve their products.

Why strategic partners

There's always someone more skilled, experienced, and technologically advanced than your company. Partnering up gives you access to seasoned skills and specialized market knowledge beyond the partnership's financial benefit. A common strategic partner will be a marketing agency, where they will take care of things for their clients. 

Affiliate partners 

In a hand-in-hand partnership, these partners will recommend your SaaS to their customers where it makes sense to both parties. Resources are shared, revenue is generated, and training and development initiatives are generated. Partners can take out all the work for you and will handle any questions about your product.

They cater to B2B companies and other external clients. You connect your links to their platform and potentially redirect some of their traffic to your product. The affiliate partner receives an agreed-upon “finders’ fee” for the traffic, which increases. Affiliate partner programs are famous for creating robust consumer-driven engagement solutions that scale your brand.

Why affiliate partners

They are performance-based and self-motivate the B2B affiliate partners to sell more to earn more. Since most partners already have an existing customer base, your audience broadens to include potentials that already belong to your niche. Your brand impression is boosted because some reputable companies recommend and feature your product on their websites. This makes the process cost-effective and time-sensitive.

When setting up a partner program, consider;

The learning curve of your product

If your product is easy to use, it will be easier for your partners to sell it to other clients. The success of your B2B SaaS partner program comes down to whether or not you're providing the right training, resources, and support to your sales channel partners to sell the product on your behalf. If your product has a complicated learning curve, insights from partners will help make it easier to sell.

Training your partners

You will need to train and support your channel partners. Appoint someone to handle the onboarding sessions with your program partners. Establish an ongoing liaison between your company and the SaaS partner throughout the process and keep supporting them after the launch.

Getting market-ready

Partnership programs work best when your SaaS product has already been on the market. A minimum viable product is required when implementing a partner program since you are already aware of the market trends and behaviors. Understanding the sales cycle and customer base will make it easier to identify the best partner program and how to implement it.

Reditus B2B SaaS partner program

Reditus is set on providing SaaS companies a platform to easily set up any SaaS partner program with their own customized benefits, terms and conditions, resource sharing options, and access to their data from anywhere. The program gives partners a tool that doubles as a marketplace for various partner programs they can join, complete with data-backed insights into the metrics and values to inform their revenue generation plans.

Reditus allows you to kickstart your B2B SaaS partnership program with the right tool to track, monitor, coordinate and set up your partnership with the right partners. The Marketplace puts you out there and attracts potential who later become partners. With reditus, you get to train, manage partnerships, analyze and pay your partners according to their effort.

Overall a partner program is a great way to grow your B2B SaaS. We provide the numbers, and numbers don't lie.

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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