3. You share your target audience with a business in a different industry
You do not want to have partners who are also competitors. However, it is possible to work with businesses in the same market if you do not offer the same product or service. This would allow them to sell your product or service as a solution for their existing customers.
An example could come from SaaS partner programs. A consulting company specializing in business process redesign could join SaaS partner programs offered by a company providing cybersecurity monitoring or AI-powered data analytics services.
4. You have good incentives
Your business plan must include good incentives. The rewards need to achieve 2 goals. First, they must be lucrative enough to draw good partners who can actually deliver the results you need. Second, they should be within your budget. In other words, the incentives should not cost you too much of your profits.
5. You have leaders who can facilitate relationships
Relationships are essential for B2B partner programs. Your company needs people who can foster working relationships with partners and create connections that make working together easier. The best SaaS partner programs will not be effective if you do not have people who can convince worthwhile third parties to participate.
The 5 steps for starting a B2B partner program.
The best partner programs require a step-by-step approach. Here are the benchmarks you should target when establishing these programs.
Define your goals
The first step in building any program for your business is to decide what constitutes success. For B2B partner programs, the goal will typically be to increase sales or membership signups. You can define your goals with figures so that they are not arbitrary. For example, you could target a specific number of subscriptions or a dollar amount. Depending on your business model, you could also measure the growth percentage of the company.
Reach out to your preferred partners
The next step in developing your program is to find partners you think will help you achieve your goals. You do not want to work with competitors, but companies with the same target audience can make excellent partners. Consider partners who offer a service or product that your services or products could complement.
Contact these partners to see if they are interested.
Offer the right incentives.
You need to match your incentives with your budget needs and partners' preferences. There are several options that you should consider.
- Commission percentage. One of the most common incentives is a percentage of each sale or a portion of the profits. If your partner earns 20%, they would get $20 for each $100 in sales.
- Flat commissions. If your products or services have similar prices, you can pay the same amount for every sale or signup. This might be useful for businesses like SaaS companies, which offer subscription services. They can pay the commission upfront rather than recalculating the amount every time there is a renewal. Flat commissions can also work for activities like lead generation, which do not produce specific dollar amounts.
- Wholesale pricing. Some partners can sell your products directly to their customers at a markup. You offer them wholesale pricing, and they take care of the sales and distribution themselves.
Perks like event tickets, free products, or discounted travel do not usually work for B2B partnerships because the goal is to increase profits. However, you could still use them as relationship-building tools and extra perks for reaching dollar or percentage benchmarks.
Create a clear agreement
Once you have ironed out the details, you can create an agreement that clearly spells out the partner arrangement. In addition to percentages, dollar amounts, and requirements for closing a sale, you will want to outline any rules that partners need to follow. They are representing your brand, so you will want to keep them from using underhanded tactics to sell your product.
Provide the right support
You want to set your partners up for success (because their success is your success, too). You should provide marketing materials and if needed, conduct training for sales staff. You can also have dedicated contacts (separate from regular customer or client services) for partners in case they have questions or concerns.
Impress your partners with your emails
Mailchimp is an essential tool for communicating with partners and helping them communicate with customers. You will want to maintain a consistent brand identity whether you are dealing with clients directly or your partner is communicating with them.
You can create emails about new products, pricing, or promotions and send them to all partners at once using Mailchimp. You can also create sales emails that partners can use to maintain contact or make special offers to their leads. These tools can help with their sales efforts while also ensuring that they present your brand in the way you want.
Check Mailchimp's email marketing tools to learn how they can help you create a successful partner program.