It goes without saying that the SaaS industry involves much more than just offering first-rate services. Companies are now going above and beyond to stake out their position and make a significant investment.
The good news is that the SaaS partner ecosystem is enormous and welcoming to anyone ready to make the first move. Many B2B businesses now find the idea of helping other companies grow their operations and generate more revenue appealing, and this idea has given rise to SaaS partnerships.
A SaaS partnership is a strategic alliance between B2B companies that coordinates sales, product, strategy, and marketing, to produce reliable and steady revenue streams.
But how does one coordinate such a vast ecosystem? The answer is a SaaS partner program.
- 1. SaaS Partner Program Definition
- 2. What Makes a SaaS Partner Program Great?
- 2.1. Drive Value
- 2.2. Make it Motivating
- 2.3. Keep it Well Structured
- 3. Top 15 Best SaaS Partner Programs
- 3.1. Best SaaS Affiliate Partner Programs
- 3.1.1. HubSpot
- 3.1.2. Webflow
- 3.1.3. FreshBooks
- 3.1.4. Pipedrive
- 3.1.5. Semrush
- 3.1.6. Notion
- 3.2. Best SaaS Referral Partner Programs
- 3.2.1. Aircall
- 3.2.2. Zendesk
- 3.2.3. Hotjar
- 3.2.4. Kiflo
- 3.3. Best SaaS Reseller Partner Programs
- 3.3.1. Formstack
- 3.3.2. Smith.ai
- 3.3.3. Drift
- 3.3.4. Vena Solutions
- 3.3.5. Intuit
- 4. Conclusion
Table of contents
A SaaS partner program involves rewarding partners for promoting your brand and bringing in new customers with the added advantages of enhancing customer loyalty, expanding your market, and increasing revenue.
The types of SaaS partner programs can vary depending on the business's goals, all of which have the potential to boost sales and distribution – as long as you select the right type for your business needs.
The types include:
It doesn't have to be incredibly difficult or overly complicated to create a successful SaaS partner program. All you'll need is a solid structure, strategy, tool, and—most importantly—commitment. Then Boom! Greatness.
This means that your partner program should motivate and support you and your partner in generating consistent value and income through the partnership, encouraging collaboration, openness, and the desire to foster successful, long-lasting partnerships.
Here are some qualities that make SaaS partner programs great, as well as how you can implement them in your own programs.
The most underappreciated superpower of the SaaS Partner program is understanding and grasping the impact of value creation.
Brands are accustomed to focusing solely on horizontal growth through increased partner volume; however, the importance of driving true vertical growth through strategic programs can accelerate expansion while prioritizing quality over volume.
We've said it before, and we're happy to say it again:
The simpler and more motivating your program is for partners to continue referring and recommending your company, the better.
Your SaaS partner program can be a game changer for businesses if you provide the right incentives to motivate partners to keep referring customers to you.
But how does one do that?
First, develop a program that is simple to understand and provides partners with an easy way to track their progress. Outline their roles, responsibilities, and rewards in detail so that they are easily set up and ready to begin referring business to you.
Next, analyze your program and look for strategies to maintain partner engagement throughout the partner's lifecycle.
And, while financial incentives are powerful and appealing, the best partner program incentive plans go above and beyond.
For example, consider incentives that will empower the partner's goals, such as co-marketing funds and certification programs.
If rapid growth and expansion are your goals, the structure of your partner program should reflect that.
It's important to keep in mind that the success of the program starts with the partner's perception. If the structure of your program is overly complicated or unclear, it will not be appealing to potential customers.
To avoid complications, start with a simpler structure that only encourages partners to achieve a predetermined goal rather than striving for something bigger on their own.
This can be accomplished by:
Having 2-3 set tiers or bonus levels to provide additional support and organization.
Providing detailed onboarding, resources, and training, and ensuring that partners can always access them.
Using a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform to centralize and streamline all of your program's operations, as well as to monitor and communicate with your partners.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the attributes that make SaaS partner programs great, let's take a look at 15 real-life examples you can use as inspiration.
An affiliate partner in the B2B setting is a company that utilizes its audience to drive leads to the vendor. This is typically done by giving a unique affiliate link to the partner, which is then tracked to monitor how many leads and deals they drive to the vendor. The vendor then pays the company a commission for each qualified lead or closed deal won from their influence.
Affiliate partnerships can help increase your company's market reach and sales by increasing exposure.
HubSpot is a CRM platform that helps businesses scale and deliver a best-in-class customer experience in one place. HubSpot helps businesses market more effectively with their crafted solution, as well as allows teams to grow with tools that are cohesive, customizable, connected, and simple to use.
With the help of the HubSpot affiliate partner program, you can easily raise site value and audience engagement while also creating new revenue streams, as the program pays affiliates for driving high-quality leads and customers by using a unique affiliate link in content like emails, blog posts, and webinars.
It also offers a number of advantages, such as:
Access to affiliate training and resources.
Guidance from a committed affiliate manager.
Continual commission payments.
Webflow is a visual development platform that converts your design choices into clean, production-ready code, allowing designers and developers to create visually appealing and fully responsive websites.
The Webflow affiliate program is designed to not only empower designers and developers to build a website with maximum freedom, but also to pave the way for additional income. Affiliate partners share their designs with unique affiliate links, enticing people to go and make their own web creations.
The more partners share, the more they earn. There's no limit to how much you can make with Webflow, either per customer or overall as an affiliate.
FreshBooks is an accounting software that automates invoicing, time tracking, expense reporting, and payment collection—among other powerful features—to make managing your small business simple, quick, and secure.
FreshBooks' affiliate program is made for anyone who believes in the platform and wants to share the news. Partners can simply the FreshBooks affiliate link anywhere and start earning income. The commissions are structured in such a way that you earn the most for your best leads and are compensated for every trial signup as well as every upgrade to a paid plan.
Pipedrive is a sales management tool centered on the activity-based selling philosophy that is designed to assist small sales teams in managing intricate or lengthy sales processes. The Pipedrive affiliate program is for website publishers, influencers, VCs, associations, or any business interested in earning commissions by referring their audience to Pipedrive directly.
With no sign-up fee or minimum sales requirements, you can quickly become a partner with the company and enjoy generous commissions on your referrals. Plus, your earning potential is limitless.
Why Join the Pipedrive Affiliate Program?
The partner programs are open to everyone and offer tools and training as well as industry-leading commission rates
Access to the Pipedrive partner portal and resource center
Semrush is an all-in-one SEO tool suite that improves online visibility and uncovers marketing insights by conducting keyword research, tracking your competition's keyword strategy, performing an SEO audit of your blog, and looking for backlinking opportunities.
Semrush's affiliate program is based on revenue sharing, with the affiliate promoting Semrush in exchange for a commission on every sale or trial activation made through promotions. The program is intended for content publishers, marketing agencies, paid search specialists, and more.
$200 with every Semrush sale
$10 with every trial activation
Opportunities to connect and possibly collaborate with other Semrush partners
Notion is a project management system created to assist members of businesses or organizations in coordinating due dates, goals, and assignments for increased effectiveness and productivity.
The Notion referral program offers bloggers, writers, authors, community leaders, businesspeople, influencers, and Notion creators a way to market Notion and profit from it.
How does it work?
After your application is approved, you'll gain access to Notion's affiliate resource center, which contains promotional best practices, guides, videos, and more, by promoting Notion to your audience.
Every new team plan upgrade will earn you 50% of all payments for the first 12 months.
A SaaS referral program is a strategy used to attract new clients by utilizing the relationships that partners have with other partners, customers, and peers. Because word-of-mouth marketing has improved in both cost-effectiveness and reliability, referral partner programs have become more effective in acquiring new leads and deals.
Aircall is a cloud-based phone and integration system that assists businesses worldwide in managing millions of customer support and sales calls on a daily basis.
Aircall's official Refer-A-Friend program has made it easier for customers to refer their network to Aircall and earn rewards through a given link and a program that is direct and simple.
If your referral requests a demo, you can be compensated in the following ways:
If the referred company is a good fit for Aircall, you receive $100.
If the referred company becomes an Aircall customer, you receive $200.
Zendesk is a cloud-based help desk management system with customizable tools for building online communities, knowledge bases, and customer service portals.
Zendesk offers a flexible and value-based partner program framework, allowing growing businesses to plan and prioritize value with increased rewards based on abilities and contributions. As a result, they will be able to increase their profits and reinvest them for greater returns.
Priority support and training
A chance to capitalize on client opportunities.
Hotjar is a tool that helps businesses track consumer behaviors, interactions, and demographics while also providing analytics to boost sales. Hotjar provides an unbiased view of how users behave on sites and what issues they care deeply about, allowing businesses to make high-impact changes quickly.
The Hotjar Referral Program is designed for freelancers or agencies specialized in UX, digital marketing, and growth. Partners receive a revenue share of up to 25% for as long as the referral has a paid plan. They also have the opportunity to participate in co-marketing campaigns and specialized training.
Kiflo is a modern Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software designed for growing partner programs. Kiflo helps you optimize your partners to increase brand awareness, sales footprint, and customer base. With features such as CRM synchronization and lead/deal tracking, and provide the all-in-one solution you need to maximize your partner programs.
With Kiflo's referral partner program, you can make money by referring Kiflo to your network of contacts, customers, or other interested parties. Your referrals will gain access to the most efficient PRM for SMBs on the market and be equipped for steady growth and income.
$500 in commission
Access to Kiflo's Partner Portal
A reseller partnership program is when a partner purchases a larger quantity of subscriptions and/or licensing for your product and then packages with their own. Unlike affiliate and referral partners, reseller partners are responsible for the entire sales cycle, from lead generation to closed/won business. To recognize their greater effort, they will typically receive higher rewards than any other type of partner.
Formstack is a workplace productivity platform that helps businesses find creative solutions to routine tasks that slow them down. This is accomplished by allowing businesses to create custom forms, documents, and eSignatures quickly and easily—all without the need for technical expertise or programming.
The Formstack partner program is an ecosystem of solution experts and complementary technologies that work together to amplify Formstack's products by co-creating products, solutions, and customer outcomes that exceed market and client expectations.
Incentives and benefits include:
A dedicated partner team
Partner training and certification
Reseller and referral commercial options
Smith.ai is a call answering service that provides you with the equivalent of a live internal receptionist by way of a friendly, capable virtual receptionist who handles everything on your behalf, including answering calls, scheduling appointments, qualifying leads, and more.
Smith AI's partner program welcomes and works with businesses of all sizes. With a partner portal, you can access every account you oversee, including chat and virtual receptionist services that increase business profitability, from a single login dashboard.
Rewards and benefits include:
Co-marketing, co-selling, and guest writing opportunities
Free live webinar tailored to your audience
Free affiliate training and resources
Access to Smith.ai experts and insiders group
Drift is a cloud-based service that enables companies to add live chat windows to their websites and automate sales processes, improving customer experience and loyalty. This is achieved by utilizing crucial features like proactive chatting, offline access, and chatbots.
The Drift partner program offers partners a road map for growing their businesses, technology stacks, and associated services. Partners can scale their benefits with Drift as their business grows with Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers.
Partners get the following benefits:
Drift's resources and co-marketing assistance
A dedicated partner sales manager and partner success manager
Earn 20% revenue share on Drift software
Vena Solutions is a simple-to-use budgeting and enterprise-class financial management tool that can generate precise reports and forecasting models from financial databases in real-time, assisting medium- to large-sized businesses with their financial planning, forecasting, and automation needs.
The Vena partner program provides you with everything you need to advance your business, improve customer experiences, and provide round-the-clock support and white-glove service that can accelerate your company's growth.
When you join the Vena Partner community, you’ll:
Gain access to all the support, tools, and expertise you need to succeed
Graduate through a tiered system
Gain exclusive access to a community of knowledgeable peers and vena experts
Access to the content portal and public announcements for partnership/joint initiatives
Intuit includes Quicken, QuickBooks & TurboTax to Mint.com. Their end-to-end solutions have revolutionized the way millions of people manage small businesses, payroll, accounting, and personal finance.
Intuit offers multiple roadmaps for becoming a reseller solution partner, including:
Building onto the Intuit platform through application integrations
Providing customized business management solutions, programs, and processes that meet your customers' diverse and complex requirements.
Becoming an Intuit supplier
It is important to note that these are just the tip of the iceberg; remember that partnering with the right companies in the SaaS industry can eliminate expansion, solution, and even marketing challenges your company is sure to face.
By creating and/or honing your SaaS partner program, you'll notice an increase in revenue, a better brand presence, improved networking, information exchange, and, of course, technological advancement. But whether you are a large SaaS company or a small software startup, there is always a partner program that can assist in lead generation and company growth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What can SaaS partner programs do for my business?
With a SaaS partner program, your company can reach new heights by broadening its reach and gaining access to a larger network.
What is a SaaS affiliate partner?
A SaaS affiliate partner is a subset of a marketing partner who drives traffic to your business via tracked links and earns a commission when that traffic converts.
What is a SaaS referral partner?
A SaaS referral partner is someone who recommends your software to people they know in exchange for rewards, benefits, and compensation.
What is a SaaS reseller partner?
A SaaS reseller partner sells the products of a SaaS company directly to their market audiences, and they typically receive separate contract terms, training, and support.
Is a SaaS VAR partner different from a SaaS reseller partner?
A SaaS VAR partner provides migration, training, add-on development, and integration services, which differs slightly from a traditional SaaS reseller partner.