Top 10 SaaS Partner Programs

Top 10 SaaS Partner Programs

We’ve searched low and high to find the partner programs we believe are the best fit agencies. This requires a few key aspects: alignment, support, referrals.

We’ve searched low and high to find the partner programs we believe are the best fit agencies. This requires a few key aspects:

1. Willingness to co-market and promote their partners.

Co-marketing involves working with mutual involvement in any traffic/lead/user/customer-generation campaigns. A great example of this is Wistia’s Soap Box promotion where they featured a few of their top agency partners in a number of different types of content including blog posts, videos and events. It’s success was share mutually between the agencies involved and the Wistia video platform. Wistia definitely took on the bulk of the effort, but it was the agency-partners’ involved who gave it credibility amongst the videographers.

2. Support for initial sales.

From our research, the majority of agencies will choose too partner with SaaS they’ve just learned about or purchased within the first 3 months of demo. They typically see the value of the tool in supporting their services, or a strong intent to refer people to the tool right away. This means, they expect support. If your agency partners are supposed to put their reputation in the hands of your software and it’s support team, much more than the first months’ costs are at stake. Therefore, an added layer of support from your team for those first few implementations is necessary for the partnership to succeed.

3. Intent to send referrals.

This is huge. And not all agency/consulting/implementation partner programs are setup to send referrals down to the agency. There are two ways to show you intend to send referrals:

  1. Through Product: A partner directory with a CTA that says something like “Get matched with an agency.”
  2. Or, Through Practice: Training and enabling implementation partners to take on the hours of customizing the solution for new clients.

The former is pretty straight-forward. And, here at Partnerprograms, we’ve even got a fully-baked working agency-partner directory template we give to every new saas partner so they cant give us the excuse they cant build one quickly. It looks pretty good too

😉

For the Latter – to explain what we mean by the practice of implementation partner referrals, I’ll share a quote one of the largest agencies in our network who’s CEO stated in a podcast interview on this topic:

“If we see the software is trying to take make additional revenue off of the setup and customization of their own software, as opposed to enabling partners to sell and support those implementations, we won’t partner with them.”

In that relationship, the software should send new clients down to approved consulting partners to have their platform customized to fit their needs. If the software is not able to or interested for whatever reason, then they should not waste their time with an agency partner program. An “affiliate program,” maybe. But not a “partner program.”

Which leads me to the last point:

4. They understand the difference between a “Partnership” and a “Vendorship”.

This is the summation of all the above points. It is implying that if you ‘sell’ agencies on a financial arrangement where in they are only representing your product for a commission (residuals, referral fees, etc…), then it is not a partnership and the agency is a vendor.

This is why we stress the importance of stacking as many non-compensatory incentives as you can in the foundation of your program: dedicated support, referrals, forums, white-label features, co-marketing initiatives, training and certifications… Anything and everything you can do to build value in your program without paying your partners to be there.

Based on the above criteria, here are some amazing programs we’ve had the privilege to represent to our agency network:

And now, here are the most reputable SaaS Partner Programs over the last 10 years, overall:

Here are the saas-only partner programs we found to be most successful in terms of not only their adoption, but also in terms of the strategy when they were put into action, and what they mean to their partners.

1. HubSpot

What is HubSpot: HubSpot develops cloud-based, inbound marketing software that allows businesses to transform the way that they market online. Its service portfolio includes social media publishing and monitoring, blogging, SEO, website content management, email marketing, marketing automation, and reporting and analytics.

Founder: Brian Halligan
Director of Strategic Partnerships: Kevin Raheja

Why is HubSpot’s partner program on this list?

HubSpot’s partner program boasts some impressive statistics, with 59% of their agency partners using retainer pricing for new clients and 81% of agency partners being confident closing deals.

HubSpot’s partner program has 4 options:

  1. Agency Partner Program
  2. Sales Partner Program
  3. App Partner Program
  4. Startups Partner Program

Incentives & Benefits

Notable partners:

Why we love their program:

Their program is an established and efficient option for marketing agencies.

We wanted to implement a perfect inbound solution from day one, and that’s why we partnered with HubSpot. As a HubSpot partner, we’ve grown our web traffic by 226%, boosted leads by 267%, and now 90% of our clients are on retainer contracts.”  – Mikko Seppa, Co-Founder

When I petitioned to start HubSpot’s partner program, I received push back from almost everyone. At the time, HubSpot was in the middle of raising funding and it was absolutely critical for us to exceed our revenue targets. Therefore, focus was critical and the executives were worried about the distraction a partner program would bring. By just working with a few agencies, I was already unintentionally causing some challenges for a few other teams.
Moreover, investors told us that it was premature to build a channel sales program until we proved a bigger market existed. They said we’d have trouble recruiting resellers if we couldn’t show them the market opportunity.Peter Caputa, Former VP of sales for HubSpot & creator of HubSpots partne rprogram — now CEO of DataBo

2. Salesforce

What is Salesforce: Salesforce is the Customer Success Platform. Their social and mobile cloud technologies—including our flagship sales and CRM applications—helps companies connect with customers, partners, and employees in entirely new ways.

Founder: Marc Benioff
Head of Partnerships: Brooke Foster Gardner

Why is Salesforce’s partner program on this list?

The Salesforce Partner Program is built exclusively for the cloud and takes advantage of its customer engagement models, economics, and potential.

Their program is split into two groups:

1. AppExhcange Program

2. Consulting Program

Incentives & Benefits:

Consulting Partner Benefits Include:

AppExchange Partner Benefits Include:

Notable partners

Why we love their program:

Salesforce is another established and recognizable brand that is easy for agencies to partner with and hit the ground running.

“Salesforce is leading the way in delivering the personalized experiences that customers expect— this is driving unprecedented growth for our partners, in every industry and every market around the world.” – Tyler Prince, EVP Industries & Partners, Salesforce

Learn more about Salesforce’s partner program here

Image result for databox logo

3. DataBox

DataBox, lead by CEO Peter Caputa (who established the HubSpot partnership powerhouse that exists today), is a “personal data assistant” that pulls all your data into one place and incorporates features like goal progression and smart alerts.

CEO: Peter Kaputa

It’s no surprise that Peter made sure DataBox has a world-class partner program even for a company their size, about 50 employees. We look forward to seeing what DataBox has in store for us!

Why we love their program:

Peter is a luminary in the partnerships game. He is the creator of Hubspot’s partner program and has refined his strategy to build Databox’s program. The best part about their partner program is how embedded it is in the product itself – they showcase their partners’ use of the product in the partner directory AND allow users to download templates their partners have created – further-incentivizing partners to do great things with the product.

Learn more about DataBox’s partner program here

4.  Zapier

What is Zapier: Zapier lets people easily connect to and automate the apps they use. Partners, including Salesforce, Intuit, Google, and Dropbox, utilize Zapier to offer their customers integrations with 1,000+ apps. The Zapier Developer Platform enables developers to add APIs for private or public use.

CEO & Co-Founder: Wade Foster

Head of Partnerships: Cody Jones

Why is Zapier’s partner program on this list?

The Zapier partner program is interesting because all of its benefits are free. But to incentivize access more benefits, you will need to get more users and maintain healthy integrations.

Incentives/Benefits

Notable partners

Why we love their program:

Their free structure with tiers of benefits for high-performing partners is an effective model for any agency to dive into.

Learn more about Zapier’s partner program here



5. Klaviyo

What is Klaviyo: Klaviyo helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing campaigns.

CEO: Andrew Bialecki
VP, Global Strategic Partnerships: Rich Gardner

Why is Klaviyo’s partner program on this list?:

Klavuyo designed two separate programs, the Agency Program and the Influencer Program

The Agency program focuses on recognizing, growing, and rewarding agencies and consultants that help grow the business of their Klaviyo clients, whereas the Influencer Program is for “brand evangelists,” retailers, and other influencers who have their heart behind Klaviyo.

Additionally, Klaviyo offers two types “Tracks” – the Advisor Track and the Masters Track:

The advisor track is for advisors that give complementary services to current or prospective Klaviyo clients, such as SEO, social media ad management, web development, etc., while the Masters Track is for agencies and consultants that provide clients with all aspects of email marketing.

Incentives & Benefits

Notable partners

“One of the greatest things about the Klaviyo partnership is not just the fact that they work with you to help understand how best to position email marketing and, specifically, the Klaviyo platform to the merchant, but also what you can do from a strategy perspective to help them [the customer] understand how they can drive revenue.” – Nihar Kulkarni, Roswell Studios

Why we love their program:

Klaviyo is rapidly growing their program and the benefits of those who partner with them. For only having rolled out their partner programs earlier this year, it’s looking very impressive.

At Klaviyo, we understand that for a merchant to truly own their growth, and maximize their marketing channels, they have to draw on a range of tools and expertise. Of course, we see Klaviyo at the hub of these tools, but we have a deep appreciation for the role agencies and others play in helping merchants grow. That’s a key reason why we have invested significantly in building relationships with our agency and technology partners. We’ve designed a unique agency partner program to showcase the different ways agencies support our mutual customers – within Klaviyo and beyond – and reward each partner in a way that aligns with their business goals” – Rich Gardner, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Klaviyo

Learn more about Klaviyo’s partner program here

6. ReCharge Payments

What is ReCharge Payments: ReCharge Payments makes it easy for people to sell subscription products online, and helps them create an amazing remote-first culture.

CEO & Co-Founder: Oisin O’Connor

VP Growth & Partnerships: Samir Said

Why is ReCharge’s partner program on this list?:

ReCharge’s platform and API are used by over 600 partners, and their 10% revenue share for each merchant partner is a significant perk for many partners. ReCharge also created an open API architecture which enables their teams to develop experiences that are highly specialized for each merchant’s needs.

Incentives/Benefits

10% Revenue Share for the lifetime of affiliated merchants

Co-marketing Opportunities

Demos and development support

Access to the latest features

Notable partners

“On our agency side there are a number of notable partners we’re closely aligned with. This is typically a combination of strong industry knowledge, a consultative approach to mutual merchants and an in-depth and proactive knowledge of ReCharge as a platform.”

Why we love their program:

Their 10% revenue share per merchant adds up to be a major perk for partners and helps drive a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

Learn more about ReCharge’s partner program here

7. Gorgias

What is Gorgias: Gorgias builds a multi-channel helpdesk integrated with e-commerce merchants’​ back-office. It allows merchants to manage all their support from one place.

CEO & Co-Founder: Romain Lapeyre

Strategic Partnerships: Billy McClennan

Why is Gorgias’ partner program on this list?:

Gorgias’ partner ecosystem of partners is made up of digital marketing leaders, web development agencies, and call centers. Gorgas aims to help give those digital agencies and call centers the best customer support automation and interaction monetization tools out there.

Incentives/Benefits

Notable partners

Why we love their program:

Gorgias makes it a point for their teams to know everything about how their partner acquire customers (SEO, Events, Meetups, Podcast, Referrals, etc) so they can tag along and help them be more effective at those growth initiatives.

Learn more about Gorgias’ partner program here

8. Drift

What is Drift: Drift is the world’s leading conversational marketing platform, trusted by top enterprise businesses like Ellie Mae, GrubHub, InVision, Marketo, Okta, Outreach, Eventbrite, Vidyard, and over 50,000 other businesses. Sales and marketing teams rely on Drift to connect with the customers who are ready to buy now.

CEO: David Cancel

Strategic Partnerships: Michele Albanese

Why is Drift’s partner program on this list?:

Drift has three types of partnership offerings: Integration Partners, Certified Partners, and Drift Influencers.

Incentives/Benefits

Earn 20% revenue share on Drift software

Access to & listing in the Drift Partner Community

Co-marketing support and resources from Drift

Listing in the Drift Partner Directory

Dedicated Partner Sales Manager and Partner Success Manager for your business

Notable partners

Why we love their program:

Drift’s three types of programs along with their unique brand feel make it easy for anyone to partner with them. (They also made this wild video from when they took their Business Development Manager from Six & Flow skydiving).

Learn more about Drift’s partner program here

9. Unbounce

What is Unbounce: Unbounce is a landing page platform and one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech companies with offices in both Vancouver and Berlin. Unbounce has powered over 650 million conversions to date and serves more than 15,000 customers worldwide.

CEO: Rick Perreault
Strategic Partnerships: Ty Lingley

Why is Unbounce’s partner program on this list?


Incentives/Benefits

Notable partners

“As the best-in-show landing page software on the market, Unbounce makes it SO easy for me to create residual income by recommending and referring clients and other marketers.” – Denni Griffith, Marketing Efficiency Consultants

Why we love their program:

Unbounce makes it simple for partners to join their program, and their uncapped referral and recurring revenue limit makes it exciting for partners to see how far they can take the program.

Learn more about Unbounce’s partner program here

10. Quickbooks

What is Quickbooks: QuickBooks is an accounting software package developed and marketed by Intuit. QuickBooks products are geared mainly toward small and medium-sized businesses and offer on-premises accounting applications as well as cloud-based versions that accept business payments, manage and pay bills, and payroll functions.

CEO & Co-Founder: Sasan Goodarzi (Intuit)
SVP, Global Platform & Partnerships: Kyle Jenke (Intuit)

Why is Quickbooks’ partner program on this list?

Quickbooks offers a 4-tier ProAdvisor program that unlocks benefits right from the star to help clients with their accounting needs. Program members move up through the tiers by earning points for various achievements such as new client subscriptions and completing certifications. As they move up the tiers, more benefits are available.

Incentives/Benefits:

Notable partners:

“The ability to help clients anytime, anywhere is awesome. Who says you have to work in an office as an accountant? With QBOA, I can work from anywhere and help clients across the country!” – Pam Morin, President at RPPC Inc.

Why we love their program:

Their point-based system for moving up the tiers makes it exciting for agencies to access more benefits from Quickbooks as they build their business.

Learn more about Quickbooks’ partner program here

Honorable Mentions

We’d like to recognize a few companies who began their partner programs earlier than some may recommend but are still crushing it:

Optimizely

Optimizely was founded in 2009 and is a leading testing and data platform that enables businesses to deliver continuous experimentation and personalization across websites, mobile apps, and connected devices.

They are another example of a company that invested in a partner program relatively early on, and only 6 years after their founding they were described as being a “disruptive force in the online testing space.”

“Forrester named Optimizely a “disruptive force in the online testing space” for 1) Building out sophisticated enterprise capabilities, 2) Differentiating itself through above-average feedback from customers on the usability and ease of use of its testing platform, 3) Having the strongest agency and services partner programs.” – Dan Siroker, Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of Optimizely

Learn more about Optimizely’s partner program here

Kiite.ai


Kiite was founded in 2017 and sells knowledge sharing software. They help sales teams capture, organize, and share the companies “tribal knowledge” with sales reps to land more deals. While still being relatively new and under 50 employees, they have built a robust partner program that has since proven to be a valuable asset to the startup.

Kiite’s partnerships weren’t just about affiliates or co-selling, their partners are using Kiite as a delivery platform for their own consulting work and can share, advocate, and push content to clients on an on-going basis.
It’s hard to ensure adoption takes place when all you are doing is sending over a PDF. Instead, Kiite lets you deploy and track the progress of adoption. This way, there is a symbiotic relationship between Kiite and their partners.

Learn more about Kiite’’s partner program here


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