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channel strategy tips

In the recent past, vendors selling SaaS solutions were hesitant to jump into indirect sales, concerned that the subscription-based selling and support model that SaaS relies on wouldn’t combine profitably with what the channel offers. But recently, there has been more than enough data demonstrating that SaaS companies stand to benefit quite a great deal from a well-constructed partner program. Beyond the studies and industry insider analysis that gives the channel a thumbs-up for SaaS, there’s another big factor that should tell you conclusively that there is money to be made for SaaS vendors in the channel.

And that is: the biggest names in SaaS are now selling in the channel.  

No matter what line of work you’re in, learning from the best in the business is always a good way to get ideas about what steps you can take to build out your own channel partnership program. So let’s take a look at some of the creative channel plays being run by some names you’ve undoubtedly heard, and see what insights we can glean from them.

Dropbox’s VIP Rewards

In a heavily data-driven business world, swapping massive files through an intuitive GUI is a necessary part of doing business and reliable data storage is a necessity that takes infrastructure and skilled IT, things that businesses, especially SMBs, can’t always afford. Because of that, file sharing and storage vendor Dropbox has carved out a big niche as a reputable, user-friendly, secure cloud storage provider—and they’ve been building their already impressive presence among disparate clients with a channel of SMB solution providers.

Perhaps most notable about Dropbox’s partner program is their commitment to treating their partners well. Their VIP program offers top partners monetary incentives and free swag, but more interestingly, it also offers them invitations to exclusive events. This makes the channel program sound almost like an innovative retailer rewards program (and that’s not a bad way to think about it). Setting up your channel partnership to treat top performers as part of an exclusive club can inspire better sales and get your partners truly excited to sell your services.

LogMeIn’s Promoting MSP Enablement

Easy remote collaboration between disparate office environments is necessary for businesses of all sizes in this new era of the interactive, decentralized workplace, which has led to the popularity of LogMeIn’s suite of tools. The company implemented a channel partnership in 2013, and in doing so sought to extend more than just the reach of their tools into offices.

The top brass at LogMeIn aim to set up channel partners not just to sell the tools, but to manage them. Enabling solution providers to become managed service providers can extend the value of the tool for the client using it by making sure it’s managed correctly, and this can also generate an ongoing, positive relationship between SaaS vendor, solution provider, and client. Enabling a channel partner to act as an MSP allows a vendor to build the ongoing use of its product into a client’s business – and so it’s a strategy that any SaaS vendor should consider when planning a partner program.

Google’s Partner Control Panel

Google is one of the biggest names in technology as a whole and a pioneering force in the world of SaaS solutions. For its business-class GSuite, the company’s channel partner program offers, among other advantages, a sophisticated Partner Console that those taking part in a deal can use to manage its ins and outs.

While certainly not every vendor has Google’s expertise in building out a multi-user app to facilitate channel collaboration, when Google recognizes that having the right tools for collaboration is a priority, it’s something to take note of.

So when you’re thinking about setting up a channel partnership, don’t just think people – think software. Having the right solution installed, one that will give your partners everything they need to successfully sell your services, is a must for getting the most out of a partner program.