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How to Find the Best Companies With Which to Partner – Checklist & Examples

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Whether you’re looking for new partner programs to join or are hoping to expand your existing sales ecosystem, it’s critical to look for the best-fitting organizations. Succeed, and your well-chosen partners can elevate your brand image, round out your product offering with enhanced functionalities and integrations, and boost your company’s bottom line with minimal upfront investment. Pick the wrong collaborator, and you can waste resources on strategies doomed from the start, or even hurt customer relations. 

Unfortunately, there isn’t one list of the best companies with whom you should partner. Instead, finding the right programs to join or companies to invite to your program will depend on your individual goals, capabilities, and more.

This article will dig into the green and red flags you should look for when exploring potential companies with which to partner.

 

Finding the Best Companies With Which to Partner

When looking for organizations with partner programs to join, there are a few key points you’ll want to consider. Just because a brand has a successful program and works with companies in your network doesn’t mean they’re the best fit for you.

 

Goal Alignment

The best partner programs to join align with your goals. For example, if your top goal is integration/feature expansion, you should look to join partner programs for organizations that have solutions well-matched to you.

Similarly, if you’re hoping to grow your ecosystem, you should plan to partner with organizations that will create new opportunities for you.

Audience Overlap

Your organization will benefit the most from getting in front of the right audience. That’s why it’s critical for that partner program you select to have an overlapping audience with your own.

While you may not know the exact accounts a particular organization is targeting before partnering with them, you can ensure you both hope to connect with the same demographic audience. There are free tools like Reveal which allow you to view audience overlap between your CRM and a potential partners, without showcasing your entire prospect/customer list.

Maturity

You should always consider the maturity of an organization you’re looking to partner with. More mature companies will have better-established programs, likely with more advanced training, stronger resources, and additional benefits to reap.

At less mature organizations, you might be one of fewer partners, which may mean you get additional attention. However, these teams won’t be as established, and will probably have fewer resources.

Program Requirements

Different partner programs have different requirements for participants. Make sure you know what’s expected of you before joining. 

For example, some programs may require a set amount of leads delivered per quarter or may have revenue minimums. There isn’t a problem with program requirements, but you should make yourself aware of them to ensure you’re prepared to fulfill them.

Red Flags of Which to Be Aware

There are a few key red flags that you’ll want to look out for when searching for organizations to partner with.

The partner organization doesn’t vet you. 

Just like you vet potential partners or potential hires within your organization, any programs you’re joining should vet you to ensure you’re a good fit. If the company you’re looking to partner with lets everyone into their program, they likely don’t dedicate the right attention to engaging partners.

The organization has unrealistic expectations.

Many partner programs have requirements. This is to weed out bad-fit partners or organizations that aren’t prepared to collaborate. However, some programs may have unrealistic expectations, like wildly high revenue minimums or insane lead share requirements.

Be wary of organizations with too high of expectations — it will be frustrating for your team to keep up with impossible standards.

Identifying the Best Partners to Welcome into Your Program

Unsurprisingly, many of the same qualifiers for a great program to join overlap with those for ideal-fit partners to add to your ecosystem. When recruiting partners, also look for goal and audience alignment to ensure you can effectively support each other.

Goal Alignment

Partners who join your program should have goals that align with yours. Ideally, you’ll work together to reach your goals together.

Audience Overlap

The best companies to join your partner program will have an audience that overlaps with your own. This ensures that you’ll have the greatest potential impact — partners with a vastly different audience likely won’t be able to help you achieve your goals.

Resource Availability

Depending on the expectations you’ve established in your partner program, it’s essential to ensure your potential partner is well-equipped with the right resources. These may include a strong channel sales team, dedicated partner marketers, or product engineers.

Additionally, your potential partner should be prepared to conduct org mapping, introducing each of your team’s key stakeholders to each other.

Red Flags of Which to Be Aware

As you consider different organizations to allow into your partner program, be aware of these two red flags.

A partner is only interested in driving revenue.

While revenue is a fantastic benefit for you both, you should each have additional goals tied to your partnership. The path to driving revenue through a partnership isn’t a quick one, so organizations focused only on this key metric will likely churn quickly.

Your potential partner is involved with tons of partner programs.

It’s great to know your partner has a strong ecosystem, but be wary of organizations that are overcommitted to too many programs. These partners will likely be hard to schedule back, they may take weeks to get back to emails, and likely will be slow to complete training.

It takes time and resources to grow partnerships, so ensure any prospective partner is prepared to step up.

Fantastic Partner Programs to Consider

The best companies to partner with will completely depend on your goals, but there are a few companies we see running incredible programs.

Box

Box partners with value-added resellers, system integrators, service providers, and platform providers. Their focus is on making content sharing and collaboration easier than before with an integrated ecosystem of partners.

Cambium Networks

Cambium Networks’ Connected Partner program welcomes value-added resellers, system integrators, managed service providers, and ecosystem technology partners. Together with their partners, Cambium Networks is working to bring wireless broadband and enterprise WiFi solutions to customers with simplicity and affordability.

Zoom

Zoom partners with various organization types, including service providers, technology service distributors, alliance partners, developers, and more. By partnering with Zoom’s established business, your organization can gain expertise, expand your reach, and stand out in the industry.

Want more examples of the cream of the crop? Read 30 of the Best SaaS Partner Programs (and Why They Are So Good).

Grow Your Organization Through Partnerships

Whether you’re looking to join a partner program or start your own, partnerships can be incredible catalysts for growing your organization. Keep these qualifications and red flags in mind when exploring potential companies with which to partner – a bad fit can damage your organization, while wasting valuable time and resources.

Build a Channel Partner Recruitment Plan + Email — If you’re ready to start recruiting channel partners, this article will help you build an effective recruitment plan. Discover the key strategies you need for recruiting optimal partners, including social media and email tactics.

Adding Partner Types to Your Channel Sales Program — There are various partner types you may consider adding to your channel sales program, but knowing when to add which type to your program can be challenging. Read this article to learn more about the different partner types, including those you may consider adding to your ecosystem.

Building a Channel Partner Go To Market (GTM) Guide — After building the foundation for your partner program, a go-to-market strategy is critical for ensuring you’re ready to leverage the investments you’ve made. This article digs into building an effective go-to-market strategy from planning, to growing, supporting, and engaging long-term.

Ali Spiric

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