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Tips & Guides — 15 Nov 2022

Why Start a SaaS Partner Program?

7 Reasons to Create a Partner Program for Your SaaS Product

Having created a great SaaS product, you still need to be recognized and known in certain markets. When it comes to marketing, many startups and young SaaS businesses prioritize short-term results. They don’t even look towards channels like partner marketing. However, is it worth giving up on an inexpensive and performance-based strategy that pushes the boundaries and accelerates SaaS growth?

Partner marketing can crucially increase a SaaS company’s income in the long run, and that’s not all. Through partnerships, you can build trust around your brand. And in the end, while your partners promote your product, you can make room to focus on further developing and improving your own product.

Depending on approach and objectives, SaaS partner programs are divided into:

  • Advocate – partnerships with the low level of interactions, where partners can endorse your SaaS product to their clients when it’s appropriate;
  • Referral – each time partners bring the lead to you or generate the sale of your SaaS product, they receive a commission fee;
  • Strategic – partnerships aimed at achieving long-term goals by combining efforts in marketing, sales, or through product integrations.

Of course, other companies will only want to partner with you if there is a tangible profit for them. Thus, you need to remember that SaaS partnerships, as well as any other, must be mutually beneficial. Only under this condition, you can count on long-term and successful partnerships.

But primarily, let’s take a closer look at the seven reasons why you should create a partner program for your SaaS business.


1. Expanded Reach

Through partners, you automatically expand the reach of contacts and later clients that you may not be able to get solely relying on your own resources. On top of that, relations with the clients obtained through partners would be on a different level from the get-go. But as they trust your partner, they are much more inclined to trust you.

2. Reduced Cost

A partner program is a great way to expand your marketing team without paying for it proportionally. You can look at it as an optimization of marketing costs. With a partner program, you have more publishers promoting your product through their resources and networks. And you don’t pay for their time as you do for your in-house marketing team; you pay only based on performance, for leads or conversions.

3. New Market Entry

One of the strategies to grow is to enter new markets, which can be challenging due to peculiarities with product localization. Partnerships with well-established names from different geo regions can open up a doorway for your company to become recognizable in new markets. And once again, you achieve it through external resources without hiring specialists for particular markets.

4. More Trials Ending in Conversion

Sometimes SaaS companies face difficulties in converting trials into paid customers. As a result, marketers together with product owners are racking their brains trying to solve this problem. Partner programs can be a solution to increase the churn rate among trials. The leads coming from partners generally have a higher trial-to-paid conversion rate compared to the direct channels. Try it, and it can make a big difference on your bottom line results.

5. Effective Scaling

Due to the win-win model that partnerships are based on, you can safely attract more potential partners to your program. If your program has proven that it works effectively at the early stages, then you will get constant income growth by scaling this channel.

6. Increased Product Focus

By building a partner program, you partially drop the need to have a significant workforce in the marketing and sales teams. Also, owing to partnerships, you can direct all your focus primarily towards improving the product.

7. Performance Attribution

Often SaaS companies find it hard to measure the ROI of specific marketing channels. Fortunately, partner marketing is based on performance marketing principles. Therefore, there will be no difficulty in tracking the results, especially the generated income of each partnership.

Even more so, you don’t even need to have your own management tools for creating a great partner program. The ready-to-go partner marketing solutions help you instantly start your partner program and track all important metrics.

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What Makes the Top SaaS Partner Programs Stand Out?

Before we name the top SaaS partner programs, it’s worth highlighting one common feature that they share. Almost all well-known SaaS businesses offer their partners marketing support in the form of marketing collateral, onboarding, and even sales training. Providing support for your partners in one way or another deserves special attention if you want to build and retain successful partner relationships.

Now, let’s have a look at some of the outstanding SaaS partner programs.

Hubspot Partner Program


HubSpot is a vast SaaS product with a wide range of services to offer for marketing, sales, customer service, and content management teams. Their partner program is not an exception as it splits into three parts:

  • Solutions – for agencies and service providers;
  • Apps – for app developers and companies;
  • Hubspot for startups – for accelerators, incubators, and VCs.

Even that’s not all. HubSpot also has separate partner programs for educational institutions, and for publishers, bloggers, influencers and other content creators. This approach with the partner program division into purposes makes it much easier to manage and onboard partners. Consequently, every branch has a higher conversion rate and profits. While HubSpot’s partner program offers tempting 20% referral commissions, they also charge you a $50 monthly fee to sign up.

Slack Partner Program

Slack is a business communication platform integrated with multiple other third-party apps and daily bot that customers can use within the service. Among their 1000 SaaS products, they have such famous partners as Google, Zoom, and Salesforce. Slack’s partner program is live proof that integrations with big names help customers to build trust towards your product and retain customers for long periods. To join the Slack partner program, you need to submit an application in order to be considered. You need to meet specific requirements to be approved.

Paypal Partner Program


Paypal provides end-to-end payment solutions for online and mobile platforms, marketplaces, and crowdfunding sites. Also, they provide you with a free partner program. It’s available to certain business solution providers as a part of the agreement that they will use PayPal as a payment method for their merchants.

Databox Partner Program

Databox combines all of your company’s performance data in one place. By linking together data sources such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, Salesforce, AdWords, and more, Databox allows your company to track performance and gain valuable insights in a short time. Their partner program aims at agencies that strive to become more data-driven relatively fast and for free. Additionally, Databox provides partners with co-marketing materials, support, and all the necessary online training. In the future, a free program tier for partners can introduce a motivation system and lead to better performance and higher revenue.

Zendesk Partner Program

Zendesk is designed to simplify the communication for companies and make the relationships with clients clear and straightforward. For this reason, they provide a customer support platform, knowledge base, and chat.

Zendesk’s credo is ‘No two businesses are the same’ that’s why they split their partner program into three directions: Affiliate Program, Select Program, and Master Program. This division means that collaborations are based on opportunities and contributions. On the program’s landing page Zendesk provides clear information about the different types of partnerships and how they will benefit partners.

Atlassian Partner Program

Atlassian gives different businesses a wide range of tools for collaborative work. Like many previous examples, the Atlassian partner program also has a tier loyalty system where partners can earn more for more immense achievements. Reaching a higher tier of partnership with Atlassian can give a partner better referral bonuses, product discounts, and even more. All in all, a tiered partner program is an easy way to reward your partners and make long-lasting partnerships.

Now that you know why SaaS companies use partner programs check our step-by-step guide to learn how to start your own partner program.

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Affise Academy

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Affise Academy

Affise is a partner marketing platform for brands, advertisers and agencies to scale via all possible performance marketing channels. Synergy of technology and our long standing experience lets you expand your partnerships, automate every step of the campaign lifecycle and make data-driven decisions.

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