The State of Agency-Tech Partnerships [Report]

The State of Agency-Tech Partnerships [Report]

We interviewed over 80 agencies to come up with a report we believe best-illustrates the state of agency-SaaS partnerships. I hope you take it as seriously as we did.

We interviewed over 80 agencies to come up with a report we believe best-illustrates the state of agency-SaaS partnerships. I hope you take it as seriously as we did.

Why I am here talking to you about agency partnerships?

To understand why I am an appropriate curator for this level of report, you’d first have to know that (a) I have ran my own marketing agency and have been a technology consultant for most of my career. (b) The few years out of the last 15 which I did not work and pay staff under 1099 retainers, I ran marketing teams for SaaS or large platforms/marketplaces. (c) This is when I discovered the lack of alignment between SaaS and agencies who’s expertise was around SaaS implementations. Before I created Partnerprograms, I created a marketplace called Automated where we matched agencies with prospects in need of SaaS implementations.

When purchasing higher-ticket SaaS, I would always consult my agency friends as their jobs rely on them knowing not what’s best for right now, but what’s best for 6 months from now. Conversely, sales and CS teams at the SaaS typically can only speak to the current market and their competitive advantage on a feature/integration basis.

And further, I would make sure to build the entire stack out with that 6-months from now insight in mind, as opposed to trying to fit new tools with great features/benefits into an existing stack someone else had built.

Needless to say, my experience operating my agency and then having to seek out agency thought leaders to form stack decisions, made me want to help others by creating a community of agency-thought leaders to do just that – help make the right intro’s to the best tools for the job. This truly agnostic approach to agency-led software recommendations wasn’t being taken (to the best of my research) so I created Automated.af to start by showcasing top marketing/sales/CS automations and then matchmaking those interested to the final result with the “automator” who can help set it up. We launched Automated in 2018 with 20 or so experts (‘automators’) and a couple dozen automations along with The Marketing Automation Discussion podcast to help bring in traffic. It worked very – the site, podcast and formation of a community – was valuable for everyone involved. The only issue, it wasn’t a business. Although it will continue  under my colleagues watch, I was beginning to take interest in a subset of what we were dealing with – the formation of agency-saas-partnerships…

I can thank my colleague and early automator Mark Colgan for bring the value of formal partner programs the SaaS perspective to my desk in late 2018 while we were recording some content. We were discussing the key pillars to growth for the new age of SaaS, and partnerships (with agencies in particular) being the most crucial.

The strategy of forming ‘partnerships’ was always something I just did as a VP of Growth form the platforms I was a part of in my career. But admittedly, I had never thought of the relationships I was forming as affiliate programs or even brought up referral commissions in any incentive conversations I had with those I would say were ‘partners.’ The relationships were always one-to-one and always creating with a mutual end goal in mind (typically a co-marketing campaign with both our brands stand to gain the same benefits).

The first 6 months on any new marketing project would these agency and thought leader partners to gain a strong marketing foundation for which traditional marketing initiatives (SEO, demand-gen, PPC, SMM…) can be built off of.

I didn’t see these efforts as stand alone and siloed ‘partner programs.’ I saw them as a necessity to ensure marketing and sales expenditures weren’t wasted.

What happened after I started to realize how I perceived partnerships was not the norm – that SaaS were siloing partner teams, creating their partner programs as experiments and not as core foundational pillars to build successful sales and marketing strategies on the back of…

Well, I started to see an opportunity for my team and I to possibly change the perception of partnerships for SaaS technology teams.

The industry our company and this report lives inside is called “Channel.” But therein lies a larger issue. The term “channel”, corresponding players, strategies and entire incentive structures is all but irrelevant for the partner teams having to form alliances with agencies who will implement, refer, resell and advocate for their technology.

To help explain this point, please read this article which was an interview between myself and Bob Snyder, Editor-in-Chief of Channel Media Europe, on the subject. In the article, Bob responds to one of my questions as such:

“Your question about “channel” is particularly interesting.  You’re absolutely correct that what is happening today doesn’t fit the normal “channel” paradigms. And you may be able to get a lot of industry attention by stressing this Doesn’t-Fit-with-Current-Channels to channel executives.”– Bob Snyder, Editor-in-Chief of Channel Media Europe

His response further-supported my belief that tech founders needed to look at agency-partnerships in particular with a new set of lens.

So why the report?

We launched Partnerprograms in July 2019, and to date we’ve helped over 50 tech companies and hundreds of agencies understand how to find and form better partnerships.

What we continue to find in our day-to-day is still a misalignment between most ‘partner program’ strategy/execution and what actually incentivizes agencies to build a partnership with new technology providers.

And when we checked for actionable agnostic interviews from agency’s on what’s going on within their org with respect to technology partnerships, we couldn’t find any.

So, we decided to ask a few dozen agencies in our network to see if we can gather the insights ourselves.

–<>–

What’s in this report?

What: The agencies were asked to answer the questions found here in this Airtable form which was created in collaboration with our advisors and software partners in order to not only understand the what of their partnerships, but also the other aspects of their businesses like whether they white label, purchase software on behalf of clients, or sell retainers – anything we believe would help to create a more suitable environment for partnering.

Here’s a sample of the data set:

Who: We interviewed agency-users of technology in the disciplines of marketing, design, development, analytics, integration and even sales-related services. We made sure to involve agencies from a number of verticals (i.e. B2B, retail, eCommerce…) and sizes from almost every continent.

How: The agencies were invited to participate over a phone conversation with either Clodagh Higgins or myself and given the form link if they wished to fill it out on their own. Surprisingly, the majority of agencies opted for the phone call.

*Note* This is the first version – we will be creating at least one from new data gathered between now and July – and we remind you of this now because you will find reasons to poke holes in the data. We have already rewritten and restructured the form in order to  ensure the next report is cleaner and more precise.

Who put this together?

Alex Glenn
CEO, Partnerprograms
Alex Glenn has the majority of these calls himself where he fills in our comprehensive form to be analyzed by the team.

Clodagh Higgins
Founder of GrowIt and Advisor to Partnerprograms
Clodagh is no stranger to agency partnerships (formally working on Hubspot’s agency program). She will be presenting interesting takeaways.

Dr. Christopher DePerno
Professor, NC State
Dr. Christopher S. DePerno earned a B.S. from Central Michigan University, a M.S. from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from South Dakota State University. He is the Vice-President of Research and Design with Old North Collective and focuses on business process and analyses, brand management, customer satisfaction, and pricing studies.

Alex Zachman
CEO, Old North Collective
Alex is leading the deeper analysis of this continuous dataset with his team at Old North Collective – an agency well-known for their research services.

Alex Zachman’s synopsis:

About myself: I currently run a business and marketing consultancy with offices in Minneapolis, Raleigh, and Richmond. The agency is built around strategic partnerships and supporting services. Some of the main relationships I have forged are Netsuite,  SuiteCommerce, Bronto, Qualtrics, Pendo, Fullstory and CoreDNA. Also, we have a broad network of referral relationships with various business and marketing SaaS companies. Prior to running the agency, I worked as a policy analyst in the North Carolina General Assembly and I have held research fellowships with the National Science Foundation, National  Aeronautic and Space Administration, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

What I found most-interesting about this report?

Agencies value relationships. This is highlighted in the number Main reasons for companies avoiding a partnership. Companies, for the most part, don’t wish to spend money on a channel partnership and they definitely want leads coming back to them.  It is important to realize this if you have to have some upfront cost to your partner program. It is imperative that you are able to show the benefits outweighing the upfront cost. To overcome this you must address the 3rd reason for agencies not wanting to partner, they just don’t understand how to build services around it.

I think partner managers and saas companies need to look at partnership programs as a lucrative sales channel. If you look at the data, most small agencies add a fair bit to a bottom line.  In some cases, your partner’s can actually provide a better implementation and reduce customer churn. All while boosting your brand perception.

My opinions based on these results as well as my career:

I think one can definitely look at the power of small agencies for partner programs. They tend to have a deeper understanding of a particular niche. You are able to help train the company to be an extension of your organization and have them build services that highlight your strengths, not your weaknesses. This can deeply affect your bottom line by adding an additional sales channel with positive brand effects.

I would highly suggest against charging small agencies for being channel partners in the SMB market. This is a good way of pushing away potential advocates that can give you positive brand purchase. Personally,  I have tended to steer clear of these programs because one of their competitors is usually giving me a similar experience for free. The exception to paid channel partnerships were with Netsuite and Qualtrics. As mid market to enterprise solutions,  their benefits faaaar outweighed the upfront cost. They were also able to break those costs up quarterly. Plus they offer extensive training for my staff, certifications/in person training, dedicated sales and support staff and resources for our own marketing.

On the training note, I cannot highlight how helpful this is for my company. This is definitely something that you need to build out, if you do not have it. One of my favorite benefits of the Netsuite family of partnerships, is that myself and staff have the same training/resources how’s the sales and implementation staff inside Netsuite. Salesman aside, this truly will help you gain market share and have positive brand interactions with your customers. Your channel partners should and will become an extension of your company with a robust training program. This also helps overcome 2 of the 3 main reasons for companies not wanting to partner with SaaS.  

I would also say, ignore small agencies at your peril. More often than not, their size can be a benefit to you. They can move much more nimbly and they usually are on premises with the client. This can overcome a lot of issues. It is important to understand what type of lead your partner is bring to you. Is it nice to have a company like Deloitte or Accenture? For sure, Iwon’t discount them. But I’m willing to put money that their leads don’t convert at the same level as the leads from a smaller agency. Conversation rate and lead quality matter.

Clodagh Higgin’s synopsis: Why partnering with smaller agencies can be the most valuable for your company.

About myself: In my career, I have worked with over 500+ agencies as an agency consultant and as Partner Manager at Hubspot for almost 4 straight years to help grow that renowned program. Further, I host a podcast called Agency Life where agency founders share stories about the ups and downs of running a professional services business.

In my experience at HubSpot, I worked with many smaller agency-partners who were excellent resellers of the software.

In late 2019, I joined the advisory board of Partnerprograms because I believed they were in the best position to create value for the agency-partnerships ecosystem. In December 2019, Alex Glenn (founder of Partnerprograms approached me with this research project and I agreed to take calls with agencies to complete it faster.

Over the last 3 months, I was able to hear a new perspective on agency-tech partnerships I could never have gotten at Hubspot as there I was speaking as an employee of Hubspot’s to Hubspot users who happened to be agencies. In this research study, I was able to take calls with agencies in a number of verticals who partner with a variety of technology. These founders shared their candid feedback on why they did or chose not to partner with technology.

One subset of the respondents I found to provide the most shocking answers was agencies with between 2-10 employees. Like most of you reading this report, I would assume larger agencies would show the most value to their partners.

But, from this initial dataset, I was surprised to find results which show smaller agencies providing more value to their partners (by way of revenue/referrals) than their larger counterparts.

What I believe the data shows to support the value of partnering with smaller agencies.

What was most-interesting about the answers below

It was clear the smaller agencies had many of the criteria that we at the Growit Group recommend to have a successful business, they have a solid tech stack in and a service-offering that supports the results that clients are looking to attract. They have a clear process on how they get results for clients, they have narrowed down their focus to particular industries, niches and are experts in their fields. Because of the size of these agencies, they are more valuable in many cases than larger agencies to a growing technology partner program. This is due to these factors:

Overall, the agencies (especially smaller ones) were more affiliation with the partner programs that supported them with leads, that partnered with them to help close sales, these software companies can extend the arm of their sales department by working closely with these agencies who are on the ground and can attend face to face meetings on behalf of the software company when they work together on leads and prospects, these relationships offer a win win for everyone.

–<>–

Dr. Christopher DePerno’s synopsis:

Over the course of 3 months (Q1 of 2020, the team at Partnerprograms interviewed 70 marketing, analytics, development and design agencies to complete this questionnaire. I helped analyze the data and determine relationships.

Methodology

Initially, we combined the employee count into six groups based on employee number (i.e., 0-1, 2-10, 11-20, 21-50, 51-200, and 200+). We summarized the responses based on employee size, revenue, and yes/no binary responses. Multiple answers were possible for each question and there were low sample sizes across the nested classifications. Hence, it was not possible and would be of little value to attempt to conduct statistical analyses. However, the strength and insight is based on the commonality in the responses. All results are presented as percentages.

Pivot tables and correlations

Here are some of the valuable correlations we found in this dataset using pivot tables (comparing two columns in the dataset to find correlations).

The “effective” opinions in the bullets underneath each are the thoughts of Alex Glenn alone. Please form your own:

Table 1. What primary reason you chose to “partner” with your primary tech partner:

Table 2. Businesses offered 15 reasons for not partnering with software:  

Table 3. Partnerships by agency size:

Table 4. Whether the businesses sold retainers AND partnered with tech:

Table 5. Time between becoming a paid user and joining their partner program:

Table 6. The expected annual revenue from partners by agency size:

If this was beneficial to you, and you would like to find out how we put action to this data here at Partnerprograms, please grab a time to discuss:

Actual quotes from the question “Why have you chosen to ‘partner’ with any tools in your stack?”:

“Any new partnership has to be a part of our retainers or solutions for clients.”

“Clients have discovered Sprout Social and then contacted us from the directory. They have also received requests for implementation, so they have recommended us as a partner.”

“Drift has been an integral part of our growth as we’ve built services on top of their chat solution. As we grew our client-base, we created more Drift accounts and put pressure on them to speed up the Drift partner program development. They have been amazing for us because they co-market and are also using some of our event-marketing strategies.”

“While commission is nice and allows us to resell at their cost it is the partners that provide content marketing, lead sharing and more that really stand on top.”

“Great tools, great support team. Generous referral program.”

“All of the listed items in the description plus excellent training and support.”

“We deliver what we sell from end to end. This means we rely on partnerships.”

“Both HubSpot and Pi Datametrics are well respected and having those name behind me when walking into a sale meeting helps a lot on how people see me ‘little new agency’ as well as opening doors to customers on a higher level than normal – So I buy a reputation.”

“My loyalties lie with the platforms that are the best for my client base at this time in my clients life cycle”.

“Zaius is a higher price point, but the setup is so much easier and automated it provides our customers a better value. I am very close with them and have spent the time to develop the relationship with their product team.”

“They support our agency with product knowledge, sales support, co-marketing, referrals, and more.”

Our goal is driving demand for clients so we start with fulfilling that funnel – data storage in Hubspot, landing pages with Instapage, call tracking with CallRail, reporting with Databox – it’s full-funnel and partnerships exist throughout.  

“Klaviyo is great (not because of the program/rev share, that’s actually not good) but customer success is outstanding. We’re constantly communicating with our account manager, and we are in their Slack.”

“Hubspot shines because of what they provide us in training and support. My team has a path to certification they can follow which helps me a lot. “

“Core DNA is very close as well – we co-sell with them. I like them not for their rev-share because that’s not very good – but for their support and care.”

“Bronto has provided us with a number of leads, as well as intro’s to larger agencies and even mentors – they provide us with a ton of value.”

“Complexity in the platform = services for us. So when the stack we know and use is complex, we can align more closely with our clients on the builds and maintenance of these integration.”

“Alignment is huge for us – the product has to align with our prospective customers’ needs.”

“Learning and development is also important – as we scale, our partner must assist in the training of our staff.”

“We went to Wistia asking them to offer our clients something to get them onto the platform – they created a link for us with a 60-day free trial for our clients.”

“We sent that out to our clients and it was successful.”

“Hubspot sends us referrals because we are platinum-level.”

“We’re on the Databox partner directory. And Vidyard put out a press release on our agency. “

“Hubspot has sent a few leads through their directory, but not many.”

“We refer based on clients needs, not for the compensation.”

“Postscript is a great partner, but we don’t refer based on their 10% referral fee (with the exception of the $10M+ plus). Further, their first month is free, AND they have a guarantee on ad spend, so it’s an easy referral. “

“As a young agency, having a program that provides industry and product knowledge, training, and support is critical. Additionally, white labeled infographics, data sheets, and other marketing collateral go a long way in supporting the sales process.”

“HubSpot – fantastic support for agency partners, providing helpful resources, simplifying lead registration and collaborative deals, dedicated CAM and CSM, healthy commissions.”

“We help organize Hubspot user groups and met the partner manager from Wistia at one of those events. Wistia is an easy tool to sell to clients, and less expensive then Vidyard so it’s a great partner.”

“Commissions, co-marketing, referrals.”

“Adzooma gave us a free account, so we’re exploring that as we speak.”

“We were considering a Sharpspring partnership, but the tool is too difficult to use. And, they do not integrate well with WordPress.”

“We will look into tools on behalf of clients for new site builds. Because our clients are the marketing agencies, most of the marketing tools will be decided on before they get to us. Then, we will fill the gaps for anything they do not know. “

“Transparency with Hubspot is wonderful. And we are in high-contact with their partner manager.”

“A great example is our relationship with Clutch – they require little from us, and we have already received leads from Clutch. There’s no upfront costs, only some reviews and questionnaires.”

“Hubspot partnership is a strategic play to be able to work with more clients as their CRM is free and clients can easily integrate.”

“Product first, price for value is the basis – then we proceed through integration/setup and if all goes well, we move onto their partner program.”

“Klaviyo is great (not because of the program/rev share, that’s actually not good) but customer success is outstanding. We’re constantly communicating with our account manager, and we are in their Slack.”

“Negatives – their payouts and partner portal is awful. Their program is not transparent.”

“Active Campaign – Lifetime referral fee’s are great 55% when we resell. Erika has been wonderful to work with at AC.”

“Negatives – to get onto their directory, you have to pay $2000.”

“Referral fee, product knowledge, support, discounts.”

“We have co-marketing options, discounts and referrals.”

“Sprout Social has been a great partner for us. We’re listed in their Partner Directory. Clients have discovered Sprout Social and then contacted us from the directory. They have also received requests for implementation, so they have recommended us as a partner.”

“For the most part, we like the HubSpot partner program. Most of our clients use it. What we don’t like is that they often change up the rules, partner tiering, and other guidelines. It requires work on our end to stay up-to-date.”

“Hubspot and Databox have the culture we look at as the draw for partnering with them. Peter Caputa (CEO of Databox) found us at a Hubspot meetup and struck up a conversation which brought us into their program.”

“We were in the 2nd or 3rd class on the sales training from Hubspot (“”Project Lion””) – this showed us how much faith and commitment to us as an agency.”

“Referrals, traffic, product knowledge, support, special offers.”

“We simply haven’t considered other partnerships other than Clearbanc. They are a great partner because they can finance our UK-based clients. And, they will send us leads weekly.”

“Initially it was value for money with Active Campaign. Now, we are still on because of the support and training and the partner portal. The continual expansion of their native integrations. Scratching Rally’s back by inviting Rod on stage in NYC recently… was huge.“

“We are a Platinum partner with HubSpot and chose them because we felt they were the best tool for the job. We still feel its the best marketing automation platform for our clients. We were also attracted by their partner program, commissions and client referrals.”

“Leadsift is the only partner providing us with leads (FYI). But to answer your question, we chose them because of the tool feature/benefits, but now stay with them because of the partnership.”

“Media Radar provides rev-share which we have received a few times, and they send direct referrals.”

“We’re a founding agency partner with Sprout Social and they offer us referral leads, discounts and additional support/events.”

“They invest in the relationship – they are interested in the agency – getting on calls – they can really help – move support tickets – access to beta testing – conference tickets – meeting their team at conferences

– They get involved in every level of our business.

– Pricing models for our agency.

– Recruitment.

– They’re in our Slack channel.”

“Drift has been an integral part of our growth as we’ve built services on top of their chat solution. As we grew our client-base, we created more Drift accounts and put pressure on them to speed up the Drift partner program development. They have been amazing for us because they co-market and are also using some of our event-marketing strategies.”

“Business consultation for new technology products… not just technology execution. Clients are looking for partners who can guide them through every touchpoint of their new venture.. and also execute what is needed.”

“Demandbase and Uberflip are committing referrals at the moment – both because they know how we take care of clients.”

“Demandbase has a ton of confidence in our Account-Based Marketing strategy. We help their clients think through this strategy which they know makes their platform ‘stickier’.“

“Uberflip appreciates Quarry’s philosophy around content marketing as a foundation for demand marketing. And again, they experience lower attrition when they refer to us.”

“We meet with their alliance and sales teams regularly. The feedback is that sales velocity is sped up when a partner is involved.”

“The best partnerships are those referral partnerships we have with individuals at organizations we work with. These are not necessarily tech companies, but often times they are agencies.”

“Drift is one oof our shining examples of a tech partnership that does work well for us because it’s essential to many of our lead gen funnels/campaigns for clients so we install Drift many times when the site does not have chat, then we power Drift. chat for our clients.”

“If we’re going to leverage a tool, we’re going to want to work closely with them to ensure we have the support as a partner and not just a customer. This is imperative because we do a lot of business with each marketing technology.”

“When we look at new partners, we look based on individual clients’ needs one at a time as they come in.”

“However, we get a ton of inbound and of those, we choose who to consider based on larger strategy/goals of our services.”

Answers to the question “Why have you passed on any partnership offers?”

“I’m not going to pay for enterprise XYZ account just to play around and understand what it can do for my clients. So I do believe there is a need for certain for new saas to give agencies (who qualify) a free account to learn and grow through. “

“We choose our partners based on what lead flow or assistance they can provide in the closing of new business (by way of integrations/brand or the lead itself). Referral fee’s and other incentives are not worth the effort.”

“Not enough offerings other than a simple monetary kickback. I would rather refer to clients and let them deal with the sales.”

“Relationships. Companies and the people behind them must be focused on bringing true value and care to all parties.”

“Feature set, Bad products, complicated referral tracking, difficult to work with.”

“If we don’t like the product, it’s an immediate pass. We always work with the best first, regardless of the partner incentives. Further, there is a lot of work necessary to get the partnership started. So the energy in from both partners is a must. That relationship is rare.

“Too big of a lift to integrate it into our processes without increasing value to clients.”

“It’s typically alignment and the program being too underdeveloped.”

“The ability to manage all of our accounts under one agency/master login is incredibly important for us. We are a partner of Adroll, but they do not offer this and it is becoming an issue, but the product is still solid so we’ll stay.”

“The other situation where I felt the partnerships are not aligning with the times is Digital Marketer and Infusionsoft – both programs are dated in terms of value to the agencies at our level.”

“WPEngine – their partner program wasn’t enticing enough, and their product wasn’t good enough.”

“Hubspot competitors like SharpSpring and Active Demand have reached out to us in the past, but it was not the right fit for our clients because our clients did not have the budget for the saas at that time. So in short, those products were ALL OR NOTHING, and that did not align with client needs at that point in time.”

“Is the software part of our solution? Does the company care about our sales process of their tool?”

“Call Tracking Metrics is a robust tool, they have white label, and very competitive to CallRail… but they do not have a developed agency partner program. So we chose to move to CallRail.”

“Databox has not been the partner I thought it was. We don’t use it as often as I thought we would. But otherwise, it’s a great tool.”

“Hubspot is never going to be in our stack so long as they charge to become a partner (that’s ridiculous to ask me to pay to become a partner!).
I am not a solutions partner for Oracle for the same reason.”

“Klaviyo and Drip – we have not doubled-down on those platforms because we are just a number to them. “

“WPEngine is partner of ours, but when we tried sending some business their way via our link we did not receive credit so we no longer send them referrals.”

“The ‘affiliate’ handoff is just a petty situation. We don’t want to have to both clients about using the link or bother them to remind their salesperson.”

“One thing we don’t understand is how a saas can require a partner to pay high prices for an account with their tool before they even know the full value for their clients. Then they want us to refer it… Which seems like a misunderstanding of what it takes to be a referral partner.”

“The biggest problem with Hubspot’s partner ecosystem is channel conflict – partners competing with one another of leads.”

“Further, most partner manager will only call you when they realize you are not selling anything.”

“Conversely – Vidyard reaches out to us bi-monthly with “”how can we help you?”

“We haven’t passed on any partner programs, but we are looking to align more with Coschedule.”

“Partner manager communication is typically the reason I get turned off and leave a partner program.”

“There was a situation where Klaviyo was unresponsive when a client because he sent out a blast to a large list and I reached out to Klaviyo for help with this as a partner and they simply didn’t reply.”

“Databox. We tried it for about 6 months and found that it wasn’t meeting the needs we were looking for.”

“Everything we’ve done to date has been custom, but we’re looking to partner now to productize it all.”

“Not extensively explored other programs, but do feel that we need to build a “core stack” for our clients.”

“We have always been tech agnostic and do not care to push tools on.
Hubspot – too expensive.”

“Content Samurai – their sales tactics for trying to get us as partners to promote them is too aggressive and salesy.”

“20% of our business is direct to end client, so we do take those referrals and work with agencies as partners as well.”

“With Hubspot, it’s difficult at times when the saas partner has their own inside consultancy that works the leads for the company – as opposed to sending them to a partner. This causes lead registration conflict for us. “

“Yotpo – we left their partnership program because it was so complicated. And, their backend is like Windows ’95 – it was too old and had too many issues.”

“Active Campaign is resold so sometimes I have to chase people for money. “

“We had a bad experience with one SEO SaaS partner program – they cheated. I would not mention the name of this company.”

“No one has approached us about partnerships, but Sharpspring has been aggressive trying to get us off Hubspot.”

“We would never join a paid partner program or resell any tools for a commission as we remain platform agnostic.”

“Spotify and Snapchat approached us because of your Facebook partnership with a request to partner and we turned them down because of their ad platform – it was too underdeveloped. Just like TikTok – agencies are getting on because it’s new, but it’s underdeveloped so we won’t touch it.”

“We considered a partnership with Observe Point but they were too enterprise.”

“We have never passed on a partner program as we’ve never been offered a partnership.”

“I met some platform reps in NYC who tried to pull me off of Active Campaign. They complimented me and really made me feel good every time I saw them.”

“We’ve been in comm for a while and they are always engaging well with us.”

“The decision now is to remain with Active Campaign for product and relationship reasons, but the attention and care they seem to be ready to provide is appealing.”

“Upfront investments, remaining agnostic, the process, remaining lean on personnel who are ‘experts’ in those.”

“We have talked to several other software companies, ranging from social media management, video management, analytics, etc. Most of these companies make it too difficult to become a partner. They usually want a high buy in or commitment. The challenge is that if we are new to the software and trying it out its hard to sell it to our clients until we believe in it. If the software companies made it easier and saw agencies as another sales channel we would definitely have more partnerships.”

“Hubspot – we passed because tech in that sector was moving so quickly.
Zendesk – passed because we wanted to remain agnostic.
Clickup – we passed because of an awful experience with their partner program.
Drift – we considered, but decided against because the incentives are not worth the dedication/bias. “

“Yes, several over the years, mostly down to a lack of referrals and effort once we had signed up.”

“Clear Banc – credit to ecommerce companies – rev share for loan – did not like them because they sent them 15 referrals but the clients did not like them – not partnering with them.”

“We have an issue now with Clearbit and Drift. With Clearbit, the data can add some value to the client and we would love to, but we can’t show it off without paying for it and there’s not enough of a use case for our agency. Therefore, we cannot integrate Clearbit in our sales funnel so clients do not hear about Clearbit when they ask about this fantastic sales process they just experienced. “

“We’ve had so many tech partnerships fail because we do not see the value soon enough and costs/bandwidth rack up too quickly.”

“Leadforencis was too aggressive in their approach.”

“The biggest challenge we have with saas partnerships is management of expectations – we are not a reseller of tech. Dealing with the partner teams that have revenue KPIs is usually difficult.”

“We are agnostic with every new project/client. And most partner teams want us to push their software when we are not setup to do that.”

“We had issues with Hubspot and stopped pushing them for a few reasons – often we would send them referrals which they already had in their system from years ago and we wouldn’t receive any credit.”

If this was beneficial to you, and you would like to find out how we put action to this data here at Partnerprograms, please grab a time to discuss:

More great resources for tech companies

Defining and finding ideal alliances using Google Search Console data.

Defining and finding ideal alliances using Google Search Console data.

View Resource
What are the truly valuable incentives for an agency partner in the beginning of any partnership?

What are the truly valuable incentives for an agency partner in the beginning of any partnership?

View Resource
A great strategy to kick off a successful Agency Partner Program when you have only ever sold to agencies.

A great strategy to kick off a successful Agency Partner Program when you have only ever sold to agencies.

View Resource