How To Recruit a Network of Partners Promoting Your SaaS Product
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How To Recruit a Network of Partners Promoting Your SaaS Product


– Hi my name is Dan Martell,
serial entrepreneur, investor and creator of
SaaS Academy and in this video I’m gonna teach you how to
recruit incredible partners that want to promote your product. Be sure to stay to the end where
I share with you my partner pipeline process that
includes email scripts and a tracking grid
to make it simple. (upbeat music) So getting partners is
probably the most efficient way to grow your business
and the reason why is you can essentially outsource your
costs to acquire a customer through those partners. For many partners you only
pay them once they bring you customers with
credit cards on file. When I was starting
my company Flowtown.com that was our initial strategy. We signed up 13 partners,
companies like MailChimp, WooFu, Constant Contact, iContact,
essentially our question was who had email addresses out in the
market ’cause Flowtown was a social email marketing tool
and how could we create win-win scenarios with those partners
to get them to promote it to their existing customers? I recently had one of my
coaching clients do the exact same thing for accountants. Their software is in payroll
which it makes an obvious correlation that they would
approach accountants and they recruited 2,000 accountants
out there continually send them new customers
for trials that are converting at 90% of their trial. So, the partnership model is the
most powerful way from a cost point of view and speed to get
your business scaling but you need to know these five
steps to make it work for you. Step number one,
find shared customers. It’s very important
when you’re thinking of companies to approach. Typically founders
do this wrong is because they are reactive
to inbound interest. Companies out of the blue
reaching out to them and saying, “Hey, I really
love your product. “We’d love to partner.” What you want to do instead
is be proactive and strategic outbound and say what are the
big pockets or industries or types of tools or
companies that would have a shared ideal customer profile? What I mean by that is if
you look at your customers, you’ve got ones that you
don’t like to work with at all. You have those that are okay but
I wish they would spend more and then you have
your ideal customers. The ones that not
only love your product, they get your product
and they want to expand. Take those, think about the five
top ones you have today and go find partners that have shared
customers around those perfect customers because if you don’t
do that you can do a lot of work building the partnership
structure the agreements etc. only to find out
that their audience was not perfect for you. Step number two,
profile partners for growth. This is a simple concept that if
you’re gonna spend the time to reach out to people to partner
with to promote your product you need to make sure
they’re a rising star. The way I think about it is high
tides rise all boats if you can hook yourself into a
partner that is growing 20, 30, 40% per year, some of them
100, 300% if you can find a dozen of those kind of partners
that are investing in their business their lead gen, their
marketing so that they grow and they promote your product
just by the high-rise concept you’re going to
grow your business. So make sure they’re
in growth mode not in survival mode
in their business. Step number three,
create a hit list. It’s very important. I believe that everything in
life comes down to a funnel from recruiting to marketing to
reaching out to partners and the only way to make this work is to
build a hit list of customers or potential partners because you
don’t want to feel like that one Microsoft partner,
that one Salesforce partner, that one Facebook
partner is going to make or break your business. There’s no silver
bullets in a partnership. You want to find
a model that works, a framework, you want to
identify a cluster of potential industries of companies that
would work best and build that hit list of at least
20 companies and work through it just like any other
pipeline in your business. Step number four,
connect to fit. Make sure that when you approach
these partners the nuance in the language is not that,
“Hey, we want to talk about “a partnership,” is, “Hey, we’re
due it’s really cool stuff. “We think it might be a
fit for your customers. “Do you have 15 minutes to jump
on a quick call to see if that “might be interesting to you?” It’s not saying that
you’re asking for anything. You’re saying I don’t
even know if this would make sense for us, for you. Why don’t we just have a quick
exploratory call to see if our technology would make a lot
of sense for your customers? And you can hint to the
potential reciprocation of what they offer and you can add it
to your customers but really in the early days, especially if
you have a unique workflow, unique innovation, a
unique approach to what you do, some kind of technology they’re probably
more in need of you to do that deal
than you need of them. If you have something innovative
and unique in the market and you can make them look different
than their competitors then that’s what they need from you. So make sure that
you connect to fit, not connect to sell. They’ll feel that, they’ll say
no whereas an expiratory call usually gets a warm reception. Step number five,
invest in the channel. This is the
most important thing. I was recently talking to one
of my clients and they had a partnership, a structure
they created in the past, three years prior. And they had I think they said a
couple dozen partners but it was really just like kind of
like get a referral link. It was more of our referral
system versus a partnership model and what I suggested is
that they invest in that channel and what that means is that if
you can get a partner to add, I mean just think about this, add an email to an
onboarding sequence. After a customer achieves
some level of success in their solution of the product of
they hit some success milestone offering your solution as a
way to enhance their business or experience if you can add that
as a reoccurring activity in that partner’s kind of
customer lifecycle then the more they grow,
the more you grow. So that requires somebody on
your team to actively work with those partners to
make sure that happens. Giving them the assets that they
need to create maybe marketing materials, banners,
landing pages. Maybe do a joint webinar with
that partner to really make sure that you support
them in promoting your product and
get commitments. To me if you don’t
have somebody at scale, this is at scale, flying around
meeting with your partners to make sure that you get
commitments from them from a promotional schedule in the next
12 months and asking them how you can support them better
to promote your product then you’re missing
the huge opportunity. I know some of the top
companies in space Leadpages, ConvertKit that 20 to 30% of
their growth came specifically from partnerships and
it’s in you to go get that if you invest in the channel. So quick recap, step number
one, find shared customers. Step number two,
profile partners for growth. Step number three,
create a hit list. Four, connect to fit for
sale and step number five, invest in the channel. As I mentioned earlier I want
to share with you an exclusive download, my partner pipeline
framework which comes with email scripts for reaching out and a
tracking grid so that you can make sure that you monitor
and move those partnership conversations forward. You can click the link
below in the description to download that. If you liked this video be
sure to click the like button, subscribe to my channel and
share this video with a friend. Thanks for watching
I’ll see in the next week. Oh that gets them to say yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes. – [Jared] Did you
change your shirt though? – [Dan] That’s
always a good thing.

About Ralph Robinson

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10 thoughts on “How To Recruit a Network of Partners Promoting Your SaaS Product

  1. Want to know how Leadpages and ConvertKit grew so fast without breaking the bank? Watch this episode to see the 5 keys of profitable partnerships.

  2. Dan this is awesome 🙂 even tho we don't have a SaaS company but rather offer Service based solutions, I can already think a couple of things how to apply this in my industry. Cheers!

  3. Amazing video – thanks Dan! Who would you suggest targeting within an organization to start the partnership conversation. CEO, Sales Lead, etc… ? Thanks !

  4. Hi Dan, your content is awesome. Do you think it is possible to launch a SAAS from Bangladesh? Can you please make a video on what should be the approach for creating a SAAS from outside North America/Europe from your point-of-view. The major issues that we are currently facing is like reliable payment gateway and finding affiliates/sales reps for the product. What would be your suggestion for us?

  5. So all you have to do is find 5 or 6 partners who are growing at 300% per year – and persuade them to buy from you. Easy!

  6. Would love a little more detail on how you made win/ win partnerships…what you gave in exchange. I can think of several potential partnership in my industry…but trying to figure out what to give from my end.

  7. How do you secure that big partners do not simply implement your SaaS idea into their business?

    Big players sure not sign NDAs that easily.

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