By Jen Spencer
As your SaaS company matures, the development of a partner program is one enhancement you’ll likely want to make to your go-to-market strategy. You’ve proven product-market fit, you have a predictable direct sales pipeline, and your customer success team is growing your existing customers while keeping churn at a minimum. Adding a partner channel is a very natural next step as you scale.
If starting a company is like being a new parent, preparing for your newborn to arrive and having absolutely no idea of what to really expect, preparing for your partner program might feel the way I do right now as my teenagers are clamoring for their drivers’ licenses. I know them quite well at this point, so I can make some educated guesses as to what will likely go well and what will probably prove to be a challenge. In short, I know enough to be downright frightened, but I also have many tools I can leverage from my experience with them that will help me (please, oh please) support them as they enter this new stage of maturity.
You and your company have made it this far, and there are only a few—OK, four— must-haves that will help ensure your SaaS partner program is set on the right course.
1. Partner personas
If you haven’t researched and documented personas for your partner program, how will you know who will make the most ideal partner for your company? This foundational step is one of the most important in your entire partner strategy, and yet it is often skipped.
At a very basic level, your ideal partner persona should be someone who will provide you with access to your ideal customer or buyer persona. Conducting thorough partner persona research will provide you with the acquisition and enablement tools you’ll need to bring those ideal partners on board.
You love your product, and your entire day revolves around promoting and selling that product, so it can be easy to forget that your partners (whether current or future) aren’t keeping it as top of mind as you are. Your partner persona research will tell you:
- Why they might care about your product.
- How it solves a pain their customers are experiencing.
- How your product fits into their broader go-to-market strategy.
- What resources they will need to effectively fold your product into their strategy.
- How to best communicate with them.
If you haven’t yet created partner personas, there’s a wealth of information on the internet about marketing personas in general, and you can use any marketing or buyer persona tool or worksheet and apply it to your partners. My favorite is, of course, SmartBug’s own resource, The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing Personas. If you need persona help stat, check it out in all its ungated glory.
2. Team resources
Partner or channel management can’t be someone’s side job. If you want to grow your partner program, you need to be prepared to dedicate resources—and I mean human resources—to this initiative. Your partner program requires a minimum of one person to recruit, vet, and …read more
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