Partner ecosystems are becoming increasingly important for B2B SaaS businesses. They provide access to new customers, generate additional revenue streams, and expand a company’s reach beyond its own efforts.
Creating an effective partner ecosystem requires thoughtfulness in its design and execution. We recently hosted a webinar with PartnerStack where the Senior Channel Partner Manager, Negar Nikaeein shared with us how everything you need to know to start or join a partner ecosystem.
What is a partner ecosystem and why do you need one for your B2B SaaS business?
Source: Scaling Through Partner Ecosystems Webinar
In order to create a successful ecosystem, all indirect channels must be working together efficiently with a common goal in mind. This can be a challenge to orchestrate, but when done correctly, can result in increased sales and shared value between all participants.
The organisations in our ecosystem must consist of those that you trust to lean on. They can help get the product in front of a wider audience and will communicate value.
Partner types in an ecosystem
There are three main types of partnerships that can make up an ecosystem: technology, strategy, and channel.
Technology partnerships are formed when two companies come together to create an integration or share data to support customers.
These types of partnerships are much more strategic as they can involve creating a new product or marketing strategy to obtain a certain goal.
Channel partnerships are formed when companies work together to distribute products or services. These include affiliate, referral, and reseller programs.
How to start an ecosystem
There are three phases involved in your ecosystem launch: Planning, building, and launching.
Phase 1: Plan your strategy
Partnerstack has put together a pre-flight checklist which you can use when planning your partnership strategy.
Phase 2: Build your program
Once you have the planning in place, you can get to building your partner program. As your partner program scales, you should think about tapping into a tool that enables your partners to easily access key information, like a PRM. PartnerStack's PRM platform enables your organisation to share onboarding and marketing resources and structure your rewards program.
Phase 3: Launch your program
Once you have your strategy formulated, you can launch your program. This is when you should be creating your landing page, recruiting partners, and onboarding and engaging partners.
How to join an ecosystem
Instead of creating your own ecosystem, you may choose to join an existing one. Marketplaces and distributor networks are where you can join hundreds of thousands of partner programs and get in with the most active B2B SaaS companies in the market
PartnerStack’s ecosystem gives access to more than 70,000 active partners specifically selling B2B cloud.
Ecosystems present a new way of thinking about business opportunities, and they are only going to become more popular in the coming years. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it's important to understand what ecosystems are, who they're for, and how you can start or join one.
We hope this blog post has given you a good introduction to the topic. If you want to learn more, we suggest watching the 30-minute webinar with PartnerStack on the subject. In it, we go into more detail about each of these points and offer practical advice for building a business case for investing in ecosystem partnerships.