How to Scale Your Business With A Partner Program

January 25, 2019
Company Tips

Our guest post today comes from New Breed, a premier inbound marketing & sales agency focused on full-funnel tactics.

Author: Amanda Nielsen, Internal Marketer at New Breed

If you think partner programs are only effective for expansion-stage software companies, you are mistaken. And worse, you’re missing out on a major opportunity to build your brand, expand your customer base and rapidly scale your revenue.

The truth is, partner programs can be successful for companies of any size. By adopting a partner mindset early on, you make the process of scaling later on infinitely easier.

Unfortunately, managing partner relations isn’t always easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing and accelerating your partner program at every stage of your business, from startup to enterprise.

From Startup...

While I certainly wouldn’t call them underdogs, most startup companies do have to punch above their weight to gain traction in their industry.

As a startup, you’re still working out the kinks in your product and brand. You might be struggling to gain credibility and establish yourself in the market, especially in markets that are particularly over-saturated. Luckily, partner programs are a great way for startups to generate demand for their product and build brand equity.

Because you’re just starting out, your partner program at this stage doesn’t need to be terribly complex. Test the waters with basic, low-involvement affiliate and co-marketing partnerships using monetary or non-monetary incentives like lead sharing or backlinks. For example, we at New Breed partner with Openview to create co-marketing content together.

To establish rapport and authority in your industry, startups should try simple co-marketing tactics like:

  • Co-hosting webinars.
  • Guest blogging.
  • Shoutouts on social.
  • Co-branding eBooks.
  • Attending industry events.

At this stage, it’s really important that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You’re not even close to being able to enter a reseller or co-marketing program — but co-creating one or two pieces of marketing content with friends in the industry is a great way to gain exposure while you’re working to perfect your product.

To Scale-Up…

In the scale-up stage, your product is in a good spot, you have a good grasp on the needs and goals of your ideal customers, you’re working on building your sales and marketing teams and, most of all, you’re ready to sell, sell, sell.

A partnership program is a perfect way to drive rapid growth for your company. At this point, you’re probably established enough that you can risk dipping your toes into monetary incentives. You might want to begin with low-barrier methods like a simple referral program for a flat-rate revenue share and slowly work your way into a co-sell program.

Typically, co-selling partnerships involve bigger monetary incentives and higher levels of collaboration. For example, New Breed has a co-sell partnership with Vidyard, where we register opportunities and work the sale together for revenue credit.

Because these types of partnerships are a bit more complicated, you’ll need to have someone on your team dedicated to managing co-sell opportunities — otherwise, some might slip through the cracks. Fortunately, automated partner management software like PartnerStack enables companies to do this more quickly, easily and efficiently. This will give you some flexibility in the type and complexity of partner programs you can run as your business scales.

By leveraging your partner network to market and build your brand, you can gain that additional momentum you need to rapidly grow your business — in a strong, strategic partnership, everybody wins!

To Enterprise!

At this point, you’ve definitely established yourself as a thought leader in the industry. You’ve found your niche, you understand the unique value of your product, your sales and marketing teams are working round the clock and business is booming.

In the enterprise stage, you have the opportunity to create a channel of passive income through a comprehensive reseller partnership program. Take HubSpot for example; as certified HubSpot resellers, we at New Breed can sell the HubSpot program on their behalf and make a commission on each sale. The program is so comprehensive that HubSpot doesn’t even need to get involved in the sale — they just see the money come in.

Software like PartnerStack enables enterprise companies to create and manage their own reseller programs from one simple dashboard that automates everything from ....

Of course, you have the option to take a more hands-on approach in your partner marketing as well. As an authority in your industry, you could take a startup company under your wing or advocate for an up-and-coming scale-up business.

The possibilities are endless. Get creative, and use the thriving partner network you’ve built to drive continued growth and innovation for your company.

Jamie Rubenovitch

Marketing and Communications at PartnerStack

PartnerStack is all about SaaS partnerships
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