These days, software as a service (SaaS) isn't a far-out techie concept the way it may have seemed just a few years ago. It's a broadly accepted, widely adopted paradigm for software deployment and management in businesses of all sizes. In a surprisingly short period of time, it has changed the way people work, and it's also changed the way people sell. The old days of moving boxes of software has given way to today's subscription-based, cloud-deployed solutions. As the market has changed, so have the needs of the channel partners that position, sell, and implement SaaS products.
Back in business computing's past, alongside install CDs and various iterations of the floppy disk, is the partner portal. Those pieces of rudimentary communication software kept vendors just in touch enough with their partners to make sure product was moving. They were necessary, and they did their job. But these days, the job is infinitely more nuanced, and a portal is not nearly enough to get the job done. To best support your partners, you need to think beyond the traditional partner portal. Let's explore exactly what that consists of and how you can use it to manage the entire partner lifecycle and close more deals.
The New Demands of SaaS
Maintaining healthy relationships has always been critical to channel partnering, but when selling subscription-based solutions, quality, streamlined communication is even more important. Your partners need to establish deeply rooted relationships that keep clients subscribed and seeking out more of your services, and they need more from you to do it successfully.Here’s what your partners are expecting in a modern portal:
When it comes to getting SaaS tools implemented and opening up those recurring revenue streams, things can become complicated. And the bigger you scale a channel program, the more partners—and individuals within those partner companies—it involves. In days gone by, partner portals were fine for keeping track of a few aspects of a channel program, but simple portals required that everyone involved needed to do a lot of manual work outside the portal—typically swapping information via iteration after iteration of spreadsheet..
With SaaS solutions, this is a recipe for disaster: There's simply too much going on in a single partner relationship (let alone a partner program with tens or hundreds of partners) for anyone to keep track of manually. Partner acceleration software takes you beyond the portal by automating “busywork” tasks. This lets you and your partners get down to the nitty-gritty and cuts out all the room for extra error that comes with extra work.
Establishing, sustaining, and maintaining the complex channel relationships critical to success in SaaS can't rely on simple phone calls or emails—they require real-time collaboration. At each stage of the game, all of the players need to be talking to each other in real time: brainstorming ways to meet everyone's needs and maximize value. Tools that can take you beyond the partner portal allow for anytime/anywhere communication that's logged and tracked so that there's never any risk of crossed wires.
Training and Content Delivery
For your partners to adequately be able to position your product, sell the newest features, and know what the product is really capable of down to the minute, they need training. And not just any training—they need information that's presented in a way that will stick with them and that they can conveniently access at any time.
Active, Intelligent, and Accelerated
Selling your SaaS solution through the channel offers an unprecedented opportunity to generate revenue and create value for you, your partners, and your clients. But going in with old tools is like trying to work on a dial-up modem: It might be theoretically possible, but you're needlessly handicapping yourself from the outset. Go beyond the outdated partner portal with a cutting-edge sales acceleration solution that maximizes ROI.