5
minute read

Why do agencies see low ROI on SaaS certifications?

We analyzed 16 top SaaS certifications and found some interesting results.

Why are agencies saying SaaS certifications generally don't provide a return on the investment?

I posted this poll on LinkedIn and the results were interesting… 

Here was the poll: 
What is the ROI (time and sometimes costs you spent over the increase in value of services and/or new clients gained) on a new certification for your favorite software partnership??

0-50% ROI, little-to-no return: 36%
50%-100% ROI, a return: 40%
100%-200%ROI, a good return: 12%
200%+ ROI, a significant return: 12%

My curiosity was why such low ROI? 
We all know of top partner programs like HubSpot’s which rely heavily on their training and tiers for success. 

But why are agencies reporting low returns on these certifications? 

We haven’t been able to run a detailed interview-based analysis of why, but we can make some assumptions and show you some ongoing certifications which make be ongoing because of their success. 

My assumptions as to why saas certifications seem to be providing than the saas partnerships teams hope: 

  1. Most of the certifications are 100% focused on how to do something with their product, but 0% on how to sell a service on top of their product. 
  2. The courses provide the instruction, but no assets for the agency’s team to use for quickly refer to, or to share with their clients. I.e. nothing actionable. 
  3. There’s no partnership follow-up or program onboarding for the students. Example: Melissa on my team took courses from Airtable and Zendesk, but no one from their partner team emailed or sent her anything about their partner program. At the very least, they should automate a form email to have students who are also services providers, who are interested in bringing their clients, fill it out to apply for partnerships.

So my two-cent advice for any companies with a partner program and a course, or about to launch a course: 

  1. Make sure half the course trains students on how to set up and sell services around the product. 
  2. Create some assets to distribute with the course agencies can use to set up sales and marketing funnels to bring themselves more business when they are experts in your product. 

Melissa on my team put together this a table view of comparison data from 16 top SaaS certification programs she found >

The interesting stat from these certs was: only 31% (5 of the 16) had a class on how to sell services on top of the SaaS...

  • HubSpot
  • Shopify
  • Klaviyo
  • Attentive
  • Okendo

Not even Netsuite, Qualtrics or Zendesk taught students how to sell a service on top of their software.... so shocking IMO!

Maybe that's why most certifications are unsuccessfully enabling their students and therefore resulting in low ROI.

Which is also why our Concierge program in Partnerhub® includes access to templates in order to form a few classes helping service providers set up and sell a service on top of the saas.

These were those 16 top SaaS Certifications:

Okendo

Category: eCommerce reviews

Certifications: Product Training

Paid? No

Link: In partner portal

Partner program link: https://www.okendo.io/partners/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? Yes ✅

Usercentrics

Category: Consent management

Certifications: Usercentrics Expert Partner

Paid? No

Link: https://usercentrics.com/partner-program-overview/become-an-expert/

Partner program link: https://usercentrics.com/partner-integrations/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Gorgias

Category: eCommerce help desk

Certifications: Lead Agent, Basic Agent, Working with rules, Admin Power User, Support Agent Power User

Paid? No

Link: https://academy.gorgias.com/certifications/?ref=unita/

Partner program link: https://www.gorgias.com/apps

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Nosto

Category: eCommerce merchandising solution

Certifications: Commerce Experience Experts

Paid? No

Link: https://www.nosto.com/blog/join-nosto-academy-cxp-certification/

Partner program link: https://www.nosto.com/partners/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Canapii

Category: Digital events

Certifications: Canapii Event Fundamentals

Paid? No

Link:https://meetingprotocol.org/collections/certificate-courses/products/canapii-event-fundamentals

Partner program link: https://canapii.com/canapii-partner-program/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Attentive

Category: eCommerce text message marketing

Certifications: Product Training

Paid? No

Link: In partner portal

Partner program link: https://www.attentivemobile.com/partners

Is there a class on how to sell the product? Yes ✅

Omnisend

Category: Email & sms marketing

Certifications: Product Training

Paid? No

Link: In partner portal

Partner program link: https://www.omnisend.com/partner-portal/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

HubSpot

Category: Partnerships

Certifications: HubSpot Solutions Partner Certification

Paid? No

Link: https://academy.hubspot.com/courses/hubspot-agency-partner-training

Partner program link: https://www.hubspot.com/partners

Is there a class on how to sell the product? Yes ✅

Salesforce

Category: Cloud-based Software

Certifications: Accredited Professional

Paid? No

Link:https://partners.salesforce.com/pdx/s/learn/article/accredited-professional-MCBQXAKQTOTZCQHOXTMK33NUMLWY

Partner program link: https://partners.salesforce.com/partnersignup

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Shopify

Category: Product and Business Fundamentals

Certifications: Partner Program Fundamentals, App Development Certification, Designing for Conversion: Introduction to Design Psychology, Theme Development Certification, Store Operations Fundamentals

Paid? No

Link: https://www.shopify.com/partners/academy

Partner program link: https://www.shopify.com/partners

Is there a class on how to sell the product? Yes ✅

Klaviyo

Category:  Email & sms marketing

Certifications: Product Certificate

Paid? No

Link: Inside the partner portal

Partner program link: https://www.klaviyo.com/klaviyo-partners/become-a-partner

Is there a class on how to sell the product? Yes ✅

Airtable

Category: Workflows and reports

Certifications: Powerup your workflow

Paid? No

Link: https://support.airtable.com/hc/en-us/articles/360045694613-Get-free-Airtable-training-today-

Partner program link: https://www.airtable.com/universe/expEMwaCpTvIa9F5L/partner-program-affiliates-referrals-payouts

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Zendesk

Category: Costumer Service

Certifications: Support Administrator Expert, Explore CX Analyst Expert, App Developer I Expert, Guide Specialist, Chat Specialist, Talk Specialist

Paid? Yes

Link: https://www.zendesk.com/customer-experience/certification/

Partner program link: https://www.zendesk.com/partner/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Ally.io

Category: OKR Software

Certifications: Admin, OKR, Leadership

Paid? Yes

Link: https://learn.ally.io/page/allyio-okr-and-software-training

Partner program link: http://ally.io/partners

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Netsuite

Certifications: Netsuite Certification

Paid? Yes

Link:https://www.netsuite.com/portal/services/training/suite-training/netsuite-certification.shtml

Partner program link: https://www.netsuite.com/portal/partners.shtml

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

Qualtrics

Category: Web-based surveys

Certifications: Product training

Paid? Yes

Link: https://www.qualtrics.com/training/certification/

Partner program link: https://www.qualtrics.com/partnerships/

Is there a class on how to sell the product? No ❌

And, here are some tools you can use to set up / manage your certifications:

SaaS software’s as educational data intermediaries help institutions issue certificates and keep them safe and verifiable. These are the some of the best SaaS softwares for certificates:

Accredible

Accredible is the industry-leading digital credentialing platform. Securely issue, manage, track, and verify your credentials faster and more easily for a fraction of the cost.

SimpleCert

SimpleCert is a simple tool for sending digital certificates designed for businesses wishing to migrate from printing and mailing certificates to digital certificates. This certificate management application is designed to create custom certificates and templates for e-mail.

Sertifier

Sertifier is an all-in-one tool for collecting data from education which makes issuing smart certificates easy. With Sertifier you can design and distribute professional-looking certificates to your recipients and store them forever. Sertifier provides custom integration with the Learning Management System of your institution and common LMSs like Canvas, Moodle and Thinkific.

Keywords:
Certifications
ROI
Training & education

Alex Glenn

CEO

Founder and CEO of Partnerhub. Proud father. And proud of what our team has built!