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Types of SaaS Partner Programs With Examples

Understand the different types of SaaS partner programs and see real examples.
SaaS Partner Programs Types With Examples
Published on
September 27, 2022


Innovation has changed dramatically and has become critical in the digital age. And in tandem, technology has advanced from the small square disks we used to insert into our computer hard drives to subscription-based software.

And so, it is not surprising that businesses want to take advantage of the latest and greatest. 

All this subscription-based software has merged into what we call SaaS, a cloud-based software delivery model that can develop and maintain cloud application software that can be made available to customers via the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis.

This unparalleled cloud software has assisted many businesses in reducing costs, scaling, upgrading processes, and speeding up innovation cycles through faster access to the latest systems and software.

Businesses globally can now use modern cloud applications to connect everything from financials, human resources, and supply-chain processes to commerce, marketing, sales, and service solutions. 

Now that we've defined SaaS, let's look at what a Saas Partner Program is.

What is a SaaS Partner Program? 

Companies have long sought an easy way to maximize sales efforts and reach through trust and compatibility-based partnerships. SaaS bridges the need through partner programs that foster brand loyalty, broaden market reach, and increase revenue.

A SaaS partner program is an agreement between a company (vendor) and third-party organizations or individuals (partners) to market and/or distribute software to new audiences.

Because these programs benefit all parties, partners are rewarded incentives ranging from cash to tangible commissions. The key to success is understanding goals and metrics, and forging connections.

Benefits of a SaaS Partner Program

When it comes down to it, each SaaS partnership has its own set of benefits, but one thing to keep in mind is that a successful SaaS partnership benefits all parties involved: the vendor, the partners, and the customers.

After all, that is the whole point of a partnership. Some of the advantages of establishing a SaaS partnership program are:

Increased Income

Your sales activity rises, and your vendors benefit from your partnership. It is undeniably a win-win situation that has proven to be fruitful.


A SaaS partnership program can increase sales and revenue by providing another channel of distribution, through specialized services or other added value you can provide. In turn, it will result in increased user signups, higher customer retention, and increased revenue.

Broader Network

In a SaaS partnership, working with a trusted leader in a given sector can increase your chances of finding and nurturing qualified leads, which will ultimately help you increase your market presence and gain access to a variety of connections, resources, and expertise.

Product Portfolio Enhancement

In a SaaS partnership, the ability to solve diverse customer needs and pain points makes your company more desirable, which will aid in increasing sales and giving you access to more clients, allowing you to develop a wider range of products and solutions.

Types of SaaS Partner Programs

Companies of all sizes have long recognized that partnership is one of the most effective ways to accelerate growth.

And the easy-to-scale cloud infrastructure and frictionless consumer experience of SaaS solutions allow your company to market directly to the end user, with the option of selecting from different types of SaaS partner programs.

SaaS Affiliate Partners

Affiliate partners are one of the most popular SaaS partner programs and are a subset of marketing partners, partnering with influencers, bloggers, businesses, and even publishers with the main goal of rewarding your partners for driving traffic to your business.

An affiliate partnership is an agreement between your affiliate program and another affiliate program, individual, or business to jointly promote each others' products and help the company's reach and revenue by increasing exposure and marketing reach.

HubSpot Affiliate Program

Here’s an example of a SaaS affiliate partner program:

HubSpot’s Affiliate Program Page

The HubSpot Affiliate Program enables you to earn up to $1,000 commission on client referrals made using your unique affiliate link in emails, blog posts, webinars, and other materials. There are no minimum sales requirements; all that is needed to start participating is to sign up.

SaaS Referral Partners 

There are numerous advantages to having close associates for your business, and one of them is a referral partner.

Referral partnerships, like most channel partnerships, begin with a formalized and detailed agreement with another person or business. And these partners then recommend your products or services to people with whom they have established relationships.

In exchange for a successful referral, the referral partner earns a reward every time they generate a new sale for your company.

A referral partnership can help drive better results from loyal customers to promote your service. This can result in better customer acquisition, reduced costs of acquisition, and more trust.

Trello’s Referral Program

Here’s an example of a SaaS referral partner program:

Trello's Referral Partner Program rewards partners with access to Trello Gold.

Trello is a project management platform that facilitates the organization of all types of ventures, from personal to-do lists to customer service and product management.

Each friend who signs up for Trello after hearing about it from a customer advocate receives a free month of Trello Gold. Users can add stickers to their boards, store more files in the system, and store more files with Trello Gold.

SaaS Reseller Partners

By co-branding a product with their own, reseller partners profit by purchasing a product or service from a parent company and reselling it to end users. This can be a game changer to increase sales, develop relationships, and expand the business's network.

Klaviyo’s Reseller Program 

Here's an example of a reseller partner program:

Klaviyo's Reseller Partner Program Page.

Klaviyo is an email marketing platform that assists online businesses in automating their email, SMS, and push notifications.

Klaviyo's Reseller Partner Program is designed for agencies, freelancers, and systems integrators who work on behalf of their clients with eCommerce and email marketing platforms.

SaaS Integration Partner

An integration partnership, also known as Tech partners, occurs when two SaaS companies connect their products by developing a tech connection between their systems to provide customers with a more seamless and functional experience. This makes daily interactions with businesses easier, more convenient, and personalized.

Crossbeam & HubSpot’s Integration Partnership

Let’s look at a real-life example of an integration partnership:

In Crossbeam & Hubspot's integration, the Crossbeam contact list that shows up in Hubspot has the same naming structure and information as Crossbeam reports.

The Hubspot & Crossbeam integration operates as a link between your marketing database and your sales database, enabling smooth movement of activity and data to create co-marketing campaigns that are highly targeted.

To do this, Crossbeam data is imported into HubSpot contact lists to target businesses that are related to collaborative marketing campaigns and to start workflows, follow-up tasks for sales, and more. This makes it easier for your marketing team to create and deliver highly targeted co-marketing campaigns and to leverage the lists to create campaigns.

SaaS Solution Partners

As the name implies, solution partners provide customers with a specific solution to an issue that the vendor may not be able to complete. And they accomplish this by providing a diverse set of expertise and skill sets to help your brand achieve its goals through strategy and tactical execution.

In this group you can find:

  • Marketing Solutions Partners: partners who understand the intricacies of marketing and are obsessed with strategy and execution.
  • Engineering Solutions Partners: These partners are more focused on the technical side of things, helping brands organize and implement their tech platforms.
  • Automation Solution Partners: These companies develop streamlined automation and procedures by integrating with the vendor's software and other integrations.

In general, solution partners are results-oriented, assisting you in demonstrating ROI, meeting benchmarks more quickly, or developing (and meeting) the appropriate KPIs.

Pipedrive’s Solution Partner Program

Here's an example of a solution partner program:

Description of Pipedrive's Solution Partner Program.

Pipedrive's Solution Partner Program offers strong technical support for deployments and product integration.

The solutions program is perfect for integrators, consultants, and VARs who want to offer advisory and value-added services while actively promoting and reselling Pipedrive alongside their expert services.

In addition to offering discounts on program features, royalty-free licensing, and marketing development funds and assistance, the solutions supplier also has years of excellent experience in customer interaction, CRM, and marketing automation.

How to Build the Best SaaS Partner Programs

Determine the Best Partner Types for Your Business

Most people find this part difficult, but it is actually quite simple; the key is to find partners who have access to the markets into which you want to expand.

Here are a few things to think about:

  • The extent to which you wish to extend your reach.
  • The distinct benefits that each partner will bring to your business and the market to which they cater.
  • How your potential partner and their audience would benefit from marketing or selling your product.

Keep in mind that you should not limit yourself to your own needs. Understanding a partner's goals, needs, and challenges will allow you to more effectively cater to them, resulting in a successful program. 

Use Your IPP to Find the Best Partner

Once you know the best type of partner for your program, you should solidify it in your Ideal Partner Persona (IPP). Partner personas are research-based profiles that describe each group of partners with whom you collaborate. 

Your IPP should include:

  • Company/Market Demographics
  • Partner goals
  • Knowledge
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Tech capabilities/compatibility

Investing the time upfront to research your partner personas will help you develop a solid strategy for positioning the program to partners, providing them with the right resources, and rewarding them in a motivating way.

Create a Recruitment Strategy

A great channel program cannot exist without recruiting great partners. The key is to have a plan in place that is organized, proactive, and consistent.

With the right recruitment strategies, you can effectively communicate with potential partners who align with your brand and channel goals, resulting in an increase in the overall enrollment rate.

Structure Your Program

You're starting from scratch and it can be difficult to envision exactly what kind of structuring would benefit your program the most. 

Creating an amazing SaaS program is a big investment of time, effort, and resources. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when structuring your program.

Rewards & Benefits

The incentive you provide is part of what makes a partnership successful. Incentives make each partner feel like they are a part of your team and are motivated to help you succeed.

The following are some incentives to consider for your SaaS partner program.

  • A commission on sales
  • Funds for market development
  • Training and certification
  • Access to the latest software


A partnership agreement should outline what each party expects from the partnership.

This also defines the resources that each party brings to the table, as well as the duties that each will perform.

The agreement should specify:

  • Mutual goals
  • Incentives
  • What partners may and may not promote
  • What will occur if one of the partners fails to meet the requirements

Remember, before a partnership can be formed, both parties must sign a partner agreement.

Set Measurable and Specific Partnership Goals

Setting and tracking partner program goals are essential for determining whether your program provides a sufficient return on investment and helps you meet overall business KPIs.

Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for each partner relationship in addition to goals for the overall partner program. 

Also, keep in mind that individualized KPIs should be mutual between you and your partner, so make sure you're on the same page about these objectives.

Build Your Processes & Assets

To ensure that your program is efficient, build processes and assets based on how you want your partner program to roll out.

  • Onboarding: Partner onboarding is a multi-step process that involves introducing and integrating new partners into your company's partner program.
  • Training: To keep your partners on the same page, use a strategic approach to train partners. Make your training material as simple as possible so that partners can easily progress in the partnership.
  • Business plans: A partner program business plan is critical to program success and should be developed before launching your partnership program. It will help partners understand your goals and the resources required to achieve them.
Use Business Plans in Kiflo to track the progress of set goals with partners.

There are several key sections you should include in your channel partner business plan or proposal:

  • Goals and objectives
  • Strategies for operations and management
  • Initial market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Financial projections

Finally, once you have a program in place, it is a good idea to revisit your partner's business plan every year to ensure your goals and initiatives are up to date.

Build in Feedback Loops

Feedback loops can be a great way to keep your company committed to improving the partner experience and giving you a competitive advantage. It is the simplest way to increase partner satisfaction and can be automated.

Improve Consistently 

Process and product improvement are both driven by improvement. Looking for ways to improve your partner program will invariably increase its value and lead to more sophisticated and overall more cost-effective processes for your program.


No SaaS partner program is static, and adapting to the market's ever-changing demands is only natural. It is critical that you approach the search or development of a SaaS partner program as a continuous process.

To lighten the load, implement processes that will allow both partners to progress more easily.

A partner relationship management (PRM) software automates routine processes, integrates with your existing tools and workflow, and automatically rewards partners for their sales in a timely manner.

These features greatly simplify the process of onboarding, monitoring, and managing relationships with your partners.

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