April 01, 2022

How to Build and Grow a Technology Partner Program

Learn how to build a technology partner program to increase customer retention and build brand loyalty.

technology-partner-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 Technology Partner 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!

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. A whopping “76% 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 potential 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! 

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

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 like 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. 

Make Sure you Have Support From the Entire Team

When considering a technology partnership, it’s important to make sure your potential partner’s entire team is onboard. 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 the whole team is supportive of the integration because each part of the team 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. 

Team Roles Chart

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 joint 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. Check out these tips for writing a memorable one. 

Create Joint Marketing Resources

Once you have your joint value proposition clear, make marketing resources 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 through setting up regular calls, sending email updates, and checking in on progress towards goals. 

Looking for More Advice on Technology Partner Programs?

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

Freshbooks logo

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 their partner ecosystem. 

Zapier

zapier logo

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

Freshworks logo

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. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is a Technology Partner Program?

A technology partner program is one that intentionally integrates your product with theirs. Technology partner programs can also build a custom integration.

What is a Technology Partner?

A technology partner, also known as an integration partner, is another software company that integrates their product with yours for a better customer experience.

How to initiate a Technology Partnership?

First, strategically select potential technology partners. What products are your customers using already that could be integrated into your product? Explore the technical dimensions of integrations, and ensure that your team and their team agree. Once you have found a good fit, create a joint value proposition and a co-marketing strategy.

How to become a Technology Partner?

First, do research using a platform like Reveal or Crossbeam. Find companies that align with your vision, industry, or customer base. Reach out to potential partners to see if they feel it would be a good fit. Make sure the whole team, from product to marketing, is one board.

Where can I find examples of Technology Partner Programs?

You can check out our Greatest Minds in Partnership article series, linked in the examples above. You can also start your search by seeing if your favorite SaaS companies have partner programs. The partnership pages are often located in the home page menu.

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