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How to Build and Grow a Technology Partnership Program

Learn how a Technology Partner Program can be a great way to enhance your company’s offerings, grow your customer base and retain customers. Explore the potential of Technology Partner Programs and how this type of partnership can maximize your growth and take your business to the next level!
How to Build and Grow a Technology Partnership Program
Published on
April 1, 2022

How to Build and Grow a Technology Partnership Program

Imagine discovering a superpower enabling you to increase your visibility in online marketplaces and retain customers for life. A Technology Partner Program can be a great way to enhance your company’s offerings, grow your customer base, retain customers, and stay steps ahead of your competition.

Companies across the technology sector have found success in using Tech Partnership Programs to make their products more attractive, useful, and integrated into thriving software ecosystems.

Explore the largely untapped potential of Technology Partner Programs, and consider how this type of partnership can maximize your growth and take your business to the next level!

What Is a Technology Partner?

A technology partner is a company that collaborates with another company with a similar audience to leverage its technologies, expertise, and resources. The goal is to achieve shared objectives, such as improving products, expanding market reach, or driving innovation.  

Types of Tech Partnership Programs

There are three distinct types of tech partnership programs: integration partners, marketplaces, and plugins/extensions. Let's explore each of these categories in detail:

Integration Partners

Integration partners collaborate to seamlessly integrate their respective technologies, allowing customers to leverage the combined capabilities of both platforms. These partnerships aim to provide enhanced functionalities, streamline workflows, and improve user experiences.

For instance, a CRM software company might partner with an email marketing platform to integrate their systems, enabling customers to sync contacts, automate marketing campaigns, and track engagement seamlessly. 

Marketplaces

Partner marketplaces serve as platforms where technology partners can showcase and distribute their products or services to a broader customer base. These partnerships enable customers to discover, evaluate, and procure a variety of complementary solutions from a single marketplace.

An example is the Salesforce AppExchange, where developers can offer their product or application that extends the functionality of Salesforce CRM. Customers benefit from a wide range of integrated solutions available in one central hub.

Plugins, Extensions, and Add-ons

Tech partnership programs in the form of plugins, extensions, and add-ons involve companies collaborating to develop additional features or functionality that can be easily added to existing software platforms. These partnerships allow customers to customize and extend the capabilities of their core software.

For example, a website builder platform might partner with a payment gateway provider to create a plugin that enables seamless integration of payment processing functionality into websites built on the platform.

These technology partnerships bring real value to both the collaborating companies and their customers. Integration partners ensure a smooth and unified user experience, marketplaces offer a convenient hub for a wide array of solutions, and plugins/extensions enhance customization and flexibility.

By harnessing the strengths and expertise of their technology partners, companies can provide comprehensive and value-added solutions that cater to the diverse needs of their customers, and be a source of a new revenue stream.

Why Start a Technology Partner Program?

There are many great reasons to consider starting your own Technology Partner Program. This type of partnership is different in structure from referral, reseller, and affiliate partner programs, but offers many comparable benefits.

Increase Customer Retention

Consider this: a customer is less likely to switch over to a competitor if all of their favorite tools are bundled in one place and working together seamlessly!

The more integrations your customers use with your software, the more likely they are to stay with you long-term. Studies have shown that customer experience (CX) is crucial for customer retention.

About 52%  of consumers will quit a brand due to a bad customer experience. It’s five times more costlier to attract new customers than to retain existing ones, so it’s important to keep your existing customers happy and engaged.

You can actually address this issue and improve retention with integrations. When your solution is embedded with other solutions and processes, your customers will have a better experience, and they won’t want to leave you. This decreases customer churn or attrition.

Gain New Customers

Increase the number of incoming qualified leads through a Technology Partner Program. When you work with a trusted technology partner, their customer base will likely trust your solution, as well. You’ll close more deals because you’ll be working with an established reputation.

Increase Brand Awareness

Increase your brand’s visibility in online marketplaces through your tech partnership. You’ll be able to engage in co-marketing campaigns and reach their audience through your presence on their website and in their own marketing materials.

They’ll share about your solution and the benefits of integration with their product. This is a great way to reach new potential customers and spread the word about your business.

Selecting Strategic Technology Partners

It’s critical to do your due diligence when selecting and recruiting technology partners. This type of partnership requires a long-term commitment to ensure that each partner benefits from the integration.

Krishanth Thangarajah, Head of Global Technology partnerships at Freshworks, suggests doing research, ensuring goal alignment, limiting assumptions, and exhibiting empathy in partnership conversations.

Additionally, there are a few more things you can do to ensure strategic and successful tech partner selection: 

Make Sure you Have Shared Customer Accounts

Using a solution like Crossbeam or Reveal will help you know in advance if the integration is possible and feasible. This can save you a lot of time at the outset of the process!

For example, Crossbeam lets connect your CRM software so you can cross your customer and prospect base with your potential integration partner and see if you have a large group of potential people that would likely to use the integration.

Reveal bills itself as a kind of B2B dating app for collaborative growth. It uses data to match you with companies that share a high level of synergy in areas of industry, product, or ideal customer persona.

Ensuring that you have overlapping customer accounts can let you know whether it is worthwhile to partner with a company and offer tech integrations with them.

Screenshot of Crossbeam indicating leads and partner lead overlap, from G2.com.

Make Sure you Have Support from other Teams besides the Tech Team

When considering a technology partnership for your business, it’s important to make sure your potential partner’s Company is on board. If it’s only the tech team that is interested in making a partnership with you, it might not be a good idea and could very easily fail.

For a successful tech partnership, it’s important that other teams, such as product, sales and marketing, are supportive of the integration because each of them plays an important role.

It’s also important to have the support of upper management for maximum alignment. Each team within a company is an irreplaceable component of a well-oiled machine.

Distinct team roles in tech partnerships

Create a Joint Go-To-Market Strategy

Once you have strategically selected a technology partner with all of the right attributes, it’s time to start planning how you will share this exciting news with your combined audiences.

Creating materials ahead of time, such as a joint value proposition and co-marketing resources, will help you make the most of your technology partnership’s potential.

Make a Joint Value Proposition

Creating a joint value proposition is a great first collaborative endeavor with your technology partner. You want to be able to articulate the unique benefits of your integrated products, and how they will benefit customers.

Your solution has a value, and their solution has a value, and together your solutions have a different or stronger value.

A joint value proposition will help your customer base understand the synergistic benefits of this partnership and how this update impacts them and their choices as consumers.

Your joint value proposition should be customer-focused and provide clear and persuasive reasoning for how this integration will improve their experience. 

Create Joint Marketing Resources

Once you have your joint value proposition clear, make marketing resources (such as a E-book) to share with your audience and their audience.

A solid co-marketing strategy will help ensure that everyone is on the same page about your integrated product and messaging.

Set up a Plan to Ensure Sales and Marketing Teams Promote the Solution

As you prepare your marketing resources, set up a clear plan and timeline for your marketing goals. New integrations will be exciting to promote, and you’ll want to make sure each partner is getting the word out, generating qualified leads, and closing deals.

Setting clear expectations in this realm will set you up for success.

Maintain High Engagement with Your Technology Partners

As with any other type of partnership, it’s important to stay engaged to ensure continuous growth. Over time, your integration might not be the first thing marketing and sales teams think of, as they may be focused on new projects or more urgent matters.

It’s important to try to maintain close contact with them so you stay top of mind. The more they remember you, the more you’ll sell.

Maintain a regular and consistent communication channel by setting up regular calls, sending email updates, and checking in on progress toward goals. This will also strengthen your relationship with your partners.  

Technology Partnership Examples

Check out our Greatest Mind in Partnerships series for more examples of Technology Partner Programs in practice! In this series, you will learn first-hand from the technology partner experts.

Here is a sneak peek:

Freshbooks has a successful integrations-focused partnership strategy that encompasses areas such as inventory management, analytics, project management, and bookkeeping services, to name a few.

In their newly launched AppStore, they presently offer 120 integrated applications! Learn more about how Freshbooks is building its partner ecosystem.

Improvado offers an extensive integration program as part of its modern data stack for revenue operations. With over 300 integration partners and continuous growth, marketers benefit from streamlined data processes. Read more about their strategy for building impactful relationships. 

Zapier offers an excellent technology partner experience to prioritize retention. They treat partners as they treat their customers and aim to give more than they get. This approach has yielded great results, with 40% of Zapier signups coming from partners. Read more about their strategies for partner retention and high-quality integrations.

Freshworks developed a tech partner strategy to focus on product enhancement, lead generation, and churn reduction. They understood that the more integrations a customer uses, the less likely they are to leave for a competitor. With this in mind, Freshworks focused on selecting and retaining quality technology partners. Learn more here.

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