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7 Reasons a Partner Program Drives Customer Success– the TradeGecko Journey

As a Totango customer, Trade Gecko uses our platform to monitor their customers in order to ensure their success. This guest blog highlights the way a program they have implemented supports Customer Success and reduces churn.

Does your SaaS company have a Partner Program yet? If the answer is no, then it definitely should – and here’s why. A partner program is an important way to drive revenue and customer success.

At TradeGecko, the idea came about when we had enthusiastic accountants, bookkeepers and consultants who were already looking for solutions for their clients, approaching us to work together.

Since we launched our TradeGecko Partner Program, the results have been tremendously positive, both from a revenue, brand-building and customer success perspective.

Getting Started

We started with a ‘free-to-play’ model where anyone could receive training to become a Partner, and subsequently offer setup of our software for their clients as a free agent.

Initially we saw high traction, with Partners enthusiastic to be listed in our Directory. We built a compensation model classifying Partners into different levels dependent on the amount of clients they brought onboard.

Finding the Right Model

After a few months we realized our model was not focused enough, we were not working closely enough with our Partners to build a proper revenue stream.

We decided to realign our model towards a more stringent approach, where we devoted more effort and resources to training our partners to become an extension of the TradeGecko brand and team.

Moving towards a ‘pay-to-play’ model, we implemented a fee for Partners to become either Experts (providing hands on setup) or Advisors (merely channeling leads towards us), with redefined goals and incentives. We believed this would increase ‘ownership’ in the TradeGecko platform for our Partners – and, thankfully, our (risky) decision was vindicated.

Finding Success

Our Partner Program now represents a significant percentage of our revenue stream, and it is constantly growing.

Here are a few advantages and lessons that we’ve learned from building a solid Partner Program:

1. Trust – the Cornerstone of Sales

Clients coming through Partners share one unique characteristic – they received a recommendation from a company or person they trust. This trusted, third-party, endorsement is crucial, especially when compared with clients coming to us directly from an organic search.

Human nature compels us to place greater faith in recommendations from people we trust. It is vital for SaaS companies to capitalize on this trust, remain honest in interactions with clients, and never over-promise.

2. Lower Risk of Churn

Engagement levels are comparatively higher for Partner-funneled customers. These customers receive extra hand-holding from dedicated Partners, who not only help spring clean their inventory, but go the extra step to plan, setup and manage integrations and extensions accordingly. These customers consequently exhibit good engagement with our product.

As much as we would love to establish the same level of relationships through direct sales, Partners often have a much more in-depth and unique view of the client’s business, and an intimate understanding of the product/business fit.

In the long-run, this familiarity often makes a difference in customer retention by decreasing the risk of churn.

3. Reaching Additional Geographies

While SaaS companies typically target a global market, building a worldwide presence can often be a challenge, especially when one accounts for factors such as time-zones and language barriers.

A solid Partner Program will help you build connections and service geographies, markets and regions otherwise out-of-reach. For example, we have enthusiastic partners in markets as diverse as Malta, Hong Kong, UAE and Canada to name a few – regions we would probably have struggled to reach so early into our growth. How awesome is that?

To make it better, there is the possibility for exponential growth as both our business and our Partner network develop.

4. Closer Support

Traditionally, industry-standard turn-around times for support tickets range from immediate to 72+ hours – which can seem like a lifetime in our fast-paced, constantly-connected business world.

And while our average response time for technical issues is currently around 8 hours, it is always good to know that our Partners are there for our clients in the interim. They provide customers with quick first-level support and basic troubleshooting, which can often solve many issues directly.

So think of a good Partner Program as not just an extension to your sales force, but also your service and support team. Your clients will thank you for it in the long run!

5. Scalability

Even if training a Partner and building a relationship of mutual trust takes longer than your usual sales cycle, every Partner you train, is an investment, they have the potential to contribute to the growth of your user base and revenue.

Bear in mind that this provides scalability not just in a geographic sense, but also through their respective ecosystems and communities. For example, a Partner in France who is an accounting/financial consultant will be able to not just act as a localized extension of your team in Europe – but also have a substantial network of accounting communities, forums and events to reach out towards potential clients who might need a platform like yours.

6. Steady, Consistent Feedback

As part of a Partner-Solution Provider relationship, Partners often offer a product for years, and have in-depth knowledge about the quality of software or platforms they offer. After all, they are putting their name behind someone else’s creation.

With a significant stake and involvement in the quality of your software, Partners are inclined to provide regular, granular feedback, especially from the clients they’ve brought on-board – helping you to better chart the path of your product’s growth and development, shaping it to become even more useful for real life businesses.

7. Good Partners can be Inspirational

Many of our Partners have been around for many years, and they know their respective markets like the back of their hand. They recognize a good product when they see it, and duly recommend it to their customers.

And when customers are happy with what your software is doing for them, the gratitude, recognition and praise afforded by both your Partners and your customers is a strong motivational tool for your team and company to do even better.

Summary

The TradeGecko Partner Program has not just become an excellent source of revenue for us, but also done wonders in helping extend the reach of our platform to markets and regions which would simply not have been possible at this stage otherwise.

This ability to come in first from a position of trust, through reputable Partners, helps in positioning the company to customers as one that truly cares for them, as opposed to simply being another figure on the P&L sheet.

TradeGecko’s Partner Program has greatly aided our rapid growth as a leading player in our space, and we would highly recommend you consider setting up one if you don’t already for your SaaS company.

“As Implementation Specialists, our aim is to provide our clients with the most suitable solution for their needs. We place customer satisfaction above all else, and we have been delighted time and time again with TradeGecko – outstanding support & a rewarding partner program. It is a pleasure dealing with a team who shares similar ideals to us – truly a win-win-win situation for all parties.” says Kris Hofer from Your Modern Practice in Sydney.

Just be sure to find and tweak a model which is ideal for your business – if done right, it can only be positive for your company’s in the long run.

Nadia About the Author

Spirited and enthusiastic, Nadia is TradeGecko’s Head of Partnerships. When she is not powering up TradeGecko’s Partner Network, she enjoys practicing yoga and discovering new music to listen to.

Ellen Gomes

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