We're here to solve partnerships for both sides. Because, let's be honest, partnerships are often more burn than revenue. Here's where we are at today:
First, understand our partnerships nomenclature:
“Agency” = Service Provider, Managed Service Provier (MSP), sometimes a Value-Added Reseller (VAR), always a Digital Agency, sometimes a Consultancy
“SaaS” = Software as a Service, Tech Company.
“Affiliate” = Anyone or any website or any app linking to your product in return for a commission or upfront payment.
“Partners” = Those service providers you work closely with to find, convert, and grow new business using your combined resources.
“Channel” = I have no idea honestly. This one still confuses me.
I cut my teeth using partnerships to break into new industries like data storage, education, automotive, even staffing… But at the time, I had zero clue that what I was doing was called “Channel partnerships.” I just thought it was a part of software go-to-market strategy.
Back in my day 👴🏻… I’d use partnerships with thought leaders, service providers, and other companies in the space to get my company established in new markets faster and more efficiently.
But… I thought that was just marketing 101. I had honestly never heard the term “channel,” and I did not call it a “partner program.”
As a VP of a tech startup, I usually had:
Fast forward to 2019, while I was consulting for other SaaS products and marketplaces, I realized many CEO’s and marketers were focusing all of their attention on bringing their new products to market using only traditional channels - PPC, SEO, sales… And not even entertaining partnerships strategy at all in the early days.
I’d say; “Why aren’t you searching for those people with an established audience or book of business, and working with them?”
They’d say; “Partnerships come later - after we build our brand and audience, then maybe we will look into partnerships…”
Then I’d refute; “No. Right now you need inexpensive ways to penetrate the market while establishing trust with your target customers. Your SEO and PPC and Sales efforts will be exhausting if you do not align yourself with those who already have the attention and trust of your target audience.”
Sometimes they’d be intrigued enough to put it back on me; “How do we get people with customers to consider working with us, the newbies, to get into their industry?”
That was a fair question.
And, although I have published numerous strategies to date, including one on building thought leadership quickly around a new topic / keyword / industry, at that time I had very little strategy published.
All my strategy was all in my head.
So, I lay in bed that night thinking about a business wherein I would help earlier stage SaaS execute GTM strategy with partners.
I immediately (literally 230a on a weeknight) purchased the domain Partnerprograms.io.
After a few successful projects with SaaS startups, we began to realize would never truly change this old “channel partnerships” strategy mentality without educating both sides of the partnership simultaneously.
So we launched two educational communities; The Partner Programs Collective, and The Agency-Partners Collective, then a podcast; Make Them Famous - The Partner Enablement Podcast, and finally a Slack group of around 2500 partners.
Ok, ok… now we’re starting to change people's perceptions.
But then we start hearing complaints from the service provider partners around:
So we looked into the tools partners were using [trying to use] to find and manage their partnerships.
Now we found a few major problems with partnerships between SaaS and service providers;
How can two teams effectively communicate, align, and grow together if they have totally different management and communication mediums?
And, with new partner programs launching daily in SaaS (10K+ martech products alone exist today), service providers are getting hammered with partnership requests! How do they know which one’s to risk their time and resources pursuing?
We thought - there is no way partnerships can ever truly become easier or better without a single place where both sides can find each other, align, and manage their partnership.
Now we all have a place where vetted partners can effectively and efficiently find and manage their partnerships in one place - referrals, projects, discussions, documentation, opportunities… all where both sides can see.
Read some of the strategies we've created over the past two years in this newsletter.
Watch and read this to learn how to increase activation and retention inside your partner program.
People with a zero-sum mentality believe that in order for them to succeed, you have to give up something.