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SaaS Reseller Partner Enablement Strategy to Create Superstar Sellers

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In today’s competitive tech business landscape, selling alone isn’t enough. Having a stellar team of SaaS resellers is essential for achieving business goals. And every year, those resellers become increasingly important in driving sales and revenue growth.

A channel strategy with the right partner sales enablement pieces can create SaaS reseller superstars. We’ve seen it happen countless times and we’ve talked to the masterminds behind the success stories about what they did.

That’s why we’ve put together a step-by-step partner sales enablement guide that will help you turn your resellers into rockstars. From product training to competitor analysis, here’s what you need to know about supporting your SaaS reseller team through every step of the sales process.

Why Do You Need a SaaS Reseller Partner Enablement Strategy?

The value of reseller partners is no secret. But simply having SaaS resellers on your side is not enough to guarantee success. That’s where a partner enablement strategy comes in. 

Setting your partners up to sell more effectively with a reseller-specific partner enablement strategy means giving them the tools, processes and materials that support their work. A SaaS reseller partner enablement strategy also helps you set goals and acts as a roadmap towards accomplishing those goals.

If channel sales are part of your organization, then chances are you already have elements of sales enablement for your partners. But SaaS resellers are a partner breed of their own: what works for one partner type isn’t always the best fit for another type. Resellers, for instance, need different support than technology partners with more focus on marketing materials than integrations or product development. 

If you work with SaaS reseller partners, then you need a partner enablement strategy tailored to them. This is true whether you’re a veteran in the world of partnerships, developing a new go-to-market (GTM) strategy or starting fresh.

Here’s how you put it all together.

Key Elements of a SaaS Reseller Enablement Plan

Every enablement plan will look slightly different because, in order for it to be most effective, it should be specifically tailored to your reseller partners.

However, the key elements of a comprehensive enablement strategy are consistent across industry and organizations. Think about it in terms of the partner journey with you: onboarding, training, generating leads and closing deals.

Tailored Onboarding for Specific Reseller Types and Groups

Sales enablement starts as soon as a new reseller joins your program.

Your onboarding experience really sets the stage

“Your onboarding experience really sets the stage,” said MJ Patent, a go-to-market expert in the partner space.

She’s currently VP of Marketing at Logically, but when she was a guest on our recent webinar about onboarding, she was co-founder and CEO at Alveo.

“It’s the first impression for your partner and makes sure that your partner understands what this relationship looks like, what they are going to be expecting from you moving forward and how you are going to strengthen that relationship over time.”

It’s critical to the very foundation of your relationship with your reseller partners. On top of that, the way you onboard and introduce yourself lays the groundwork for how your partner will talk about your product or service to their own customers.

“If you miss that opportunity, it’s really hard to get those partners to think that you’ve changed and now it’s better,” said Patent.

Taking a Step Back For Better Onboarding

With SaaS resellers in particular, having a great onboarding experience is important for brand representation and reputation. As resellers, they are showcasing your organization and your values at every interaction. That’s immensely powerful.

In fact, as Patent highlighted, if a partner doesn’t start to market and sell your offering within the first 90 or so days of recruitment, it’s highly likely that they will never do it.

“This onboarding process is extremely crucial as part of your overall channel strategy,” she said.

Think of onboarding as a two-way conversation. You may have a lot to say as you bring someone new into the fold, but making sure you’re communicating the right messages at the right time is important. You have to know your partners very well to effectively carry that conversation.

This is where segmentation comes into play. With resellers, you know the broad type of partnership you are working with. But break it down further – what kind of SaaS reseller are they?

  • Are they a straight forward reseller, buying your product at a discounted rate and then reselling it as-is to make a profit off the margin?

  • Are they a Managed Service Provider (MSP), offering subscription-based services?

  • Are they a Value-Added Resellers (VAR), focused on reselling software that they have added value to through, for example, bundling additional services or solutions?

  • Or are they another type of reseller all together?

Knowing the answer to this initial question tells you a lot about the way in which they sell and what their priorities are. Take a step back to look also at factors like market size, organization size and what kind of internal sales resources they have.

“The way that you’re going onboard is going to be different,” Patent said.

“The amount of hand-holding you’re going to need, depending on the type of partner it is, is going to be different. For example, if they don’t have a sales team, you are probably going to have to have more support on sales because they don’t have those capabilities internally versus an organization that has a huge sales organization.”

From there, use those insights to align your onboarding content and modules to your partner’s specific needs and your goals. This will help you to set expectations around what the rest of the reseller training process will look like, as well as inform your greater partner enablement strategy.

Proven Techniques for Product Knowledge & Positioning Training

Effective onboarding goes hand-in-hand with successful training.

When you compile materials for your training program, break them down by the categories of knowledge that you hope to arm resellers with. No partner enablement strategy is complete without heavy emphasis on:

  • Product knowledge
  • Positioning

Before you consider training content, though, think about the overall structure of your training program. Regardless of what kind of information you are trying to share, these strategies can help make sure key takeaways sticks:

  • Add short quizzes at the end of each module to ensure partners are fully understanding the material.
  • Include certifications of completion to encourage partners to finish all required training modules.
    Offer other forms of recognition – like shout-outs or awards – for engaging with your content.
  • Schedule regular check-ins to find out if your partners have any questions or need additional support.
  • If you work with an international partner base, consider offering training materials in other languages.
  • Share resources in an easily accessible content library so partners can refer back to the material as needed.
  • Track training content engagement to see where partners are falling off or if there are any areas that need to be improved.
  • Automate repetitive parts of the training process with a PRM tool

Once these elements are in place, move on to creating training content that is tailored to your partners.

In particular, technical product training needs to be at the heart of your SaaS reseller enablement. And not just any product training will do. Reseller partners often have multiple other partnerships going at the same time, so it’s important to make sure training is concise, relevant and easily digestible.

Make sure to cover:

  • Features
  • Capabilities
  • Use cases
  • Integrations
  • Support

Make sure your partner has a solid understanding of how your software works, so they are able to share this knowledge authentically and smoothly with their customers.

The next piece of the puzzle is positioning. In your training, make sure to include details about:

  • The competitive landscape.
  • Your differentiators and unique selling points
  • Your value proposition

Your partners should feel confident explaining how your solution stacks up against competitors and speaking to what sets your solution apart.

Enabling Partners With Strategically Crafted Playbooks

Onboarding and training really have one ultimate goal: to set your partners up to sell. Their success, after all, is your success.

But reseller enablement doesn’t end with a training curriculum. As we’ve talked about before, everboarding is a much more effective way of creating long term success. To recap quickly: everboarding is an approach to supporting your partners that goes far beyond the traditional 30-60-90 day efforts.

It means taking a bigger picture view to empowering and engaging partners.

And when it comes to supporting sales with your reseller partners, engagement really is key. After a partner has completed all the onboarding and training you provide, lean into learning more about what they need.  

The best way to know, of course, is to hear it from your reseller partners with regular check-ins.

But if you’re not sure where to start, putting together a SaaS Reseller Sales Playbook can be a good next step for sales enablement. It gives them the most important information they need, including: 

  • Product overview → Overview of your software solution, including features and most important aspects

  • Competitive analysis → Competitive advantage and details relating to differentiators

  • Ideal customer profile → Who your ideal customer is and where there is overlap with your partner’s customer bas

  • Sales process → Steps of your structured approach to successfully closing a sale, including prospecting and lead qualification

  • Pricing and packaging → Outline of pricing strategy, including any discounts or special offers.

  • Marketing and sales → The materials you can put together to help with their marketing efforts, including messaging strategy, branding guidelines and any collateral they can use.

None of these elements needs to be particularly long, the important thing is to make sure that the most vital information is at their fingertips when they need it. Combine this with a robust content library of additional resources – like case studies, white papers or templates, for instance.

Enabling Partners Means Proper Motivation

Don’t overlook the impact that motivation plays in spurring on sales. Encourage your reseller’s with the right compensation and commission structure. There are two main types of resellers – one where the partner buys your product at a discounted price and resells it, making a profit on the margin. The other type is when a partner resells your product alongside theirs as a bundle, or with other added benefits like a subscription service.

Of course, the compensation structure you offer should match the type of reseller they are and how you work together. There may not be as much flexibility in that area for adjustments. If so, look more closely at your rewards for surpassing targets. That can include anything from gifts cards or other awards for an individual who is outperforming expectations, or additional resources like an increase in market development funds (MDFs).

Rules of Engagement to Better Manage the Relationships

You can have all the right pieces of onboarding, training and support in place to enable your reseller partners. But it’s your rules of engagement that keep the entire operation running smoothly. 

These rules are what keep everyone on the same page and, with resell partnerships in particular, they are a must to avoid channel conflict. Effectively managing the relationship allows your reseller partners to focus on what matters – selling – rather than spending time on the nitty-gritty of how to work together. A solid foundation sets the stage for your superstar resellers.

As you formalize the rules of engagement for your reseller program, the two most important issues to address are:

  • What are the roles and responsibilities of your partners, broken down by reseller type and tier?
  • How are you managing lead and deal registration to ensure a fair process that avoids duplicates?

Effective partner relationship management is an absolute necessity with SaaS resellers to improve efficiencies and make your program stand out from the competition. 

Using a PRM with your resellers can be one of the best ways to ensure these rules of engagement are followed with less administrative hassle. That’s because a PRM system like Allbound allows you to automate and streamline each step, while maintaining transparency and communication. The impact? A program that ultimately strengthens your SaaS partners reselling abilities.

Additional Resources To Support Your SaaS Resellers

The Partner-First Approach to Developing Partnerships That Add Value – Partnerships are hugely beneficial for everyone involved – you, your customers and your partners themselves. But what does it mean to truly add value through partnerships? We dig into that question.

Examples of Great Partner Pages – Content and Design to Inspire – Partner pages help engage prospective partners and build traction among current ones. Here are some examples of what effective partner pages look like and how best to leverage them. 

Co-Marketing Activities and Ideas for Joint Promotion in 2023 – If you are planning to do any co-marketing with your SaaS reseller partners this year, this list of activities and ideas for joint promotion will point you in the right direction. Read on to find out what kinds of co-marketing to do in 2023 and best practices. 

Perfecting Your Reseller Partner Program: 5 Mistakes to Watch Out for and Their FixesWhether you are just starting out with a reseller program or already a pro, there are some common challenges that can hinder the growth and success of these program types. Here are five common pitfalls and what you can do to overcome them.

Ali Spiric

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