Why SaaS Partner Programs & Consultants Are a Match Made in Heaven

January 17, 2020

After working with and talking to dozens of agency, consulting and SaaS leaders, I’ve realized two universal truths:

  1. It’s all about “solving for the customer”—and being the best at doing so
  2. In a competitive environment (for customers, for growth, for hiring, for managing talent) every edge matters

A relationship with the right partner creates opportunities in both of these areas for agencies, consultants and SaaS companies—a match made in heaven if you will. Here are the top five benefits consultants, agencies and SaaS can realize through their partner relationship.

Grow With Your Customers

Considering that the cost of acquiring new customers far outweighs the cost of retaining and upselling your existing customer base, it’s safe to say that customer churn is public enemy #1.

No matter how many new customers you acquire, if you’re losing customers on a consistent basis, you’re stunting your company’s growth. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Leveraging strategic partnerships is one of the best ways to combat customer churn and grow your business.

SaaS products work best when they have expert humans dedicated to consistently optimizing and maintaining them. Conversely, agency and consultancy services are most valuable when they’re executed through great software products.

This is why it’s no question that having a robust partner program is one of the most effective ways to scale your business—especially for consultants, agencies and SaaS companies.

Enhance Brand Equity and Thought Leadership

They say that individuals are the average of the 5 people they spend the most time with—and this goes for companies too. With this in mind, it’s no question that you should be associating your company with peers that you want to emulate in some capacity.

Whether you admire their culture, their product, their brand or even their marketing strategy, your company can benefit simply by association. Take advantage of this benefit by engaging in frequent collaboration with your strategic partners. The nature of your collaboration could range from co-marketing initiatives to product launches to co-branding events.

By partnering with a company whose solution or service complements yours and speaks to a similar target customer, you can take advantage of each other’s audience, credibility and social presence for mutual value. Customers love authenticity, and when two companies get together to create fresh, valuable content that speaks to customers in a holistic way, both parties are going to be more effective in breaking through the noise and connecting with their audience.

Increase Credibility and Promote Trust

For SaaS companies

No matter the size of your knowledge base or the intuitiveness of your product, it can sometimes be difficult for new customers to maintain momentum once they’ve finished onboarding with your customer success team.

Agencies and consultants can keep the ball rolling by providing specialized expertise. By offering specialized support in a specific industry, set of products or the like, an agency or consultant can enable your customers to hit the ground running and start generating the outcomes they envisioned in the sales process.

Strong consulting relationships will indicate to your prospect base that once they purchase their product, they’ll have different levels of expertise and support at their disposal. Leveraging a partner ecosystem will provide peace of mind for those considering investing in your product, ultimately increasing your company’s credibility in the competitive landscape.

For agencies and consultants

When purchasing a product, you essentially know exactly what you’re getting. You’ve seen the demo. You’ve probably even tested it out yourself.

On the other hand, purchasing business services is a whole different ball game. Rather than purchasing something tangible like software products or physical goods, you’re purchasing someone’s knowledge and expertise in the form of a relationship.

There’s no demo or free trial of someone’s brain. There’s no way of predicting exactly how that relationship will make you feel. And more often than not, you won’t even meet your consultant or strategist until the deal is signed, sealed and delivered.

Where there may be tangible deliverables within your agreement, the relationship itself is subjective, and with subjectivity comes risk. In an attempt to mitigate this risk, investing in business services is an understandably nuanced and critical process for a prospect.

Fortunately, an effective SaaS partnership is a great way to ease the mind of a cautious prospect. Knowing that your agency is a chosen partner of a SaaS company your prospect knows and trusts can be the deciding factor in whether or not they become a new client or a lost opportunity.

Enrich Customer Engagements

For SaaS companies

A great product is nothing without a great strategy, and SaaS companies know this all too well.

Too often, prospects purchase with tunnel vision: they focus on the product and its functionality. They get caught up in features and specs, leaving little consideration for sussing out the nitty-gritty details. What goes overlooked is the necessary strategy in order to create the desired output that drew them in the first place.

A SaaS product doesn’t single-handedly create the outcomes featured in case studies or testimonial pages. Rather, a case study or a shining testimonial is the end result of the strategy behind the tool.

One of the primary responsibilities of customer success is to provide guidance and expertise regarding the product, not necessarily the client’s broader business strategy—cue agency partners.

An effective agency or consulting partner doesn’t just know how to use your product, they know how to leverage it as an element of their client’s holistic strategy. Refer your customers to certified experts to ensure that your product is implemented as part of a high-impact initiative that will be supported across the customer’s business.

Fostering customer-agency relationships will ensure that your customers are getting the most out of your product, leaving your customers satisfied and inclined to continue investing in your product.

For agencies and consultants

It’s safe to say that there are software solutions for just about every function of a business. Marketing, accounting, operations, inventory, sales—whatever it is, there’s a software product to make the tasks within that function easier and more effective.

With software solutions to automate and streamline the fundamentals, agencies and consultants can focus on what they do best: solving their client’s unique problems.

Being able to hone in on the expertise and support that makes your agency unique enables you to deepen your customer relationships through the delivery of solutions that matter to them. By positioning your agency as an integral part of your client’s team, you’ll see increased customer lifetime value (CLV) and ultimately, increased client satisfaction.

Receive Support in Bringing a New Product or Service to Market

For agencies and consultants

In this day and age, the majority of business is conducted digitally. This means that the majority of business services are conducted digitally as well—with the help of SaaS products.

As any agency or consultant knows, bringing a new service to market is no simple feat. But with the help of a SaaS partner, agencies can lighten the load and streamline their go-to-market strategy. Whatever your new service is, consider what kind of software tools you’ll use to support it. Launching a new email marketing practice? Your ideal partner is Mailchimp. Offering conversational marketing consulting? Enter: Drift. Helping customers improve their business productivity? You’ll want to work with my new company, Formstack. You get the idea.

By partnering with a company relevant to your new service, you can lighten the workload, expand your audience and enhance the quality of your initiative.

For SaaS companies

Launching new products is the lifeblood of any growing SaaS company. But after the painstaking work of building your product is said and done, you’re posed with a whole new challenge: bringing that product to market.

You know how awesome your new product is, but convincing the general public of its awesomeness takes some tact. Instead of opting to go it alone, lean on your agency and consulting partners for support.

By partnering with an agency to generate a proof of concept for your new product, you can reassure prospects of its effectiveness and usability. Leveraging an agency partner to help in the promotion and launch of your product can help your company generate demand, broaden your reach, and convert new users.

If you’re looking to scale your company, bring a new product to market, enhance your brand equity, deepen your customer relationships, or all of the above, leveraging strategic partners is a no-brainer. Agencies, consultants, and SaaS companies alike can join forces to empower their customers, and ultimately, drive sustained growth.

Amanda Nielsen

Partner Enrollment Manager<br>Formstack

Amanda Nielsen is a demand generation marketer at New Breed, a diamond-tier HubSpot partner offering full-funnel marketing solutions to the B2B SaaS space. She drives growth for New Breed by leveraging inbound content creation, lifecycle marketing, and multi-channel inbound marketing campaigns to attract visitors and convert them into leads.