SaaS companies thrive on partnerships to share leads, mutually champion brands and collaborate on customer success efforts. But you must do it right to maximize your potential ARR. Gorgias CEO Romain Lapeyre, and Axelle Heems, the Gorgias Head of Operations, share steps to create a partnership program that scales and yields results.
Partnerships Can Fuel 50% of Your Growth
Partnerships have a tremendous potential to tilt your growth curve, and at Gorgias, this potential amounts to about their revenue. But they’re not the only ones who have significantly boosted growth with the help of partners: HubSpot’s agency partners account for 44% of all their customers, and Salesforce partners make five times more than Salesforce itself.
So how do you classify partnerships? You and your partners share a common goal and collaborate to achieve this goal. The objective could be several things, from lead and revenue sharing, driving visibility or customer success. Types of partnerships include agencies, SaaS apps, CSMs, or brand evangelists.
When considering whether partnerships will work for your business, ask yourself:
- Do third parties influence your customers in the buying process?
- What is the partner TAM (Total Addressable Market)?
To find the answers the first thing you can look at is identifying the stakeholders in your sales process. Is it just the lead? Are they bringing in consultants? Then, examine your ecosystem. Start by looking at recurring sales frictions. Then, consider your customer base and look for trends in potential churn responses. You will get a sense of what is really happening and what is beneficial for customers and use market data to assess the total addressable market.
Start Small: The Path to $1M ARR From Partnerships
Launch a pilot program as soon as possible with around ten partners. Here are the essential pieces to create a successful pilot effort:
- Hire a partnership owner on day one. A full-time person should be helping facilitate partnerships from the get-go.
- Find your first ten partners, ideally partners who work in adjacent ecosystems.
- Give first: Make your priority about offering value to the partners.
- Define a pivotal result to hit.
And remember to measure everything. Be sure to track your partnerships as you would a sales pipeline, track efforts like training and co-marketing, leads (on both sides), and revenue.
Want more? Enter your email below for the latest SaaStr updates
Make It Repeatable: The Path to $10M ARR and Beyond
After a strong start, you’ll want to make sure you can scale as your company grows. Track how much value you provide and share that with your partners. Embed your partnerships within your app (e.g., an app directory) and consistently educate your team on your partnerships.
Treat your partner acquisition like a sales funnel. Identify critical partner stages, partner tiers and then log them in your CRM with a dedicated pipeline.
Manage Active Partners Like Customers
Once you’ve established healthy partnerships, your customers act like CSMs and brand evangelists. To keep tabs on your most active partners, be sure to track these important metrics:
- Partner last contacted
- Number of referrals per month
- Close rate
- Average contract value
These metrics will help you identify the top-performing partnerships in terms of ROI and brand champions.
- Evaluate the potential of partnerships for your growth
- Start with ten small partners, give first.
- To scale, treat partners like customers (AEs & CSMs) with SLAs.