You've probably heard of the term "software as a service" (SaaS) before, but you may not know exactly what it means or how to go about getting started with one. A quick search for definitions on Google will turn up plenty of results—but they all seem to be different from each other. Even if you do find some common threads between them, there's still no easy way to tell which ones might work best for your particular project.
The good news is that most partners can offer different solutions based on their own unique needs. If you're looking into building a partnership with an established company like Fiverr or GoDaddy, you'll get access to dozens of useful services that aren't available through any individual seller account. And if you want to learn more about this popular type of relationship, we have everything you need right here!
For those who don't already know, a SaaS reseller is just someone acting as a middleman between two separate parties. They buy products at wholesale prices and then sell them to customers at a markup. When you think about it, that sounds pretty similar to affiliate programs, where affiliates buy products at full retail price and then promote them online so that people can purchase them at a discount. The main difference though is that resellers make money by selling the product directly instead of making commissions off sales made by others.
Resellers generally take care of customer support, billing, and shipping issues. But because they're buying goods and services at wholesale rates, they often end up paying much less than traditional retailers would charge. This makes these relationships extremely lucrative for both sides involved. For example, when you sign up with a reputable web hosting provider like GoDaddy or Bluehost, you'll typically pay anywhere from $5-$15/month depending on the package you choose. On top of that, you'll also receive discounts on things such as domain registration, email accounts, website design, etc. In many cases, the actual cost of ownership ends up being around half of what you'd pay to run things yourself.
This kind of arrangement isn't limited only to high-end items either. You could even use reselling sites like Amazon Marketplace to save money while shopping for everyday household supplies. Just remember that anything purchased through a marketplace requires you to fulfill certain requirements first (like having an active credit card). Otherwise, you won't qualify for the sale price.
Partner programs allow sellers on specific platforms to take advantage of additional features and benefits offered exclusively to users who join. These perks range from free storage space to priority customer support. Some providers even let you create custom packages tailored specifically to your audience. All you have to do is pick out the relevant information and submit it along with payment info to secure your spot. Once approved, you'll gain instant access to whatever you requested.
While you can easily set up a reseller account without a partner program, the ability to integrate with platform-specific tools gives you better control over your branding efforts. It also allows you to provide more personalized assistance to clients, which should help drive increased conversions and revenue throughout the lifetime of your relationship. Plus, since you're working with one group rather than multiple sources, you'll enjoy greater consistency across all channels.
Some platforms include partner marketing opportunities within their default offering. Others require you to apply separately to become part of the program. Either way, signing up for a partner program doesn't necessarily mean you lose valuable functionality. Many of today's leading ecommerce marketplaces offer robust partner options, including:
BlueHost - Offering various levels of integration with WordPress websites, BlueHost has built its reputation among bloggers and small businesses alike thanks to its user-friendly interface and affordable pricing. Learn more...
GoDaddy - With a massive portfolio of domains, SSL certificates, and dedicated servers, GoDaddy excels in providing quality customer service for every level of buyer. Sign up now & start saving!
BigCommerce - Built especially for entrepreneurs, BigCommerce offers a variety of addons designed to enhance the look and feel of storefronts. Get Started Here!
CJ Affiliate - One of the industry leaders in affiliate management technology, CJ Affiliate provides comprehensive tracking tools for all types of campaigns. Join Now!
Clickbank - Whether you're promoting digital downloads, physical products, or membership sites, clickbank is home to thousands of merchants ready to accept payments via Paypal, Credit Card, Debit Card, Bitcoin, CashU, Check, Money Order, Wire Transfer, Western Union, PayPal Payments Pro, Visa, JCB, MasterCard, Discover Card, American Express, Diners Club, and more.
In addition to offering more specialized services geared toward helping you build your brand, partner marketing programs usually come equipped with a wide selection of resources that are otherwise unavailable to independent sellers. These extras can include:
Account creation templates -- Often referred to as landing pages, these prebuilt forms are perfect for creating new accounts quickly and efficiently.
-- Often referred to as landing pages, these prebuilt forms are perfect for creating new accounts quickly and efficiently. Customer support forums -- Since you'll likely have more questions regarding your business' daily operations, you'll appreciate having direct access to knowledgeable staff members whenever you need them.
Since you'll likely have more questions regarding your business' daily operations, you'll appreciate having direct access to knowledgeable staff members whenever you need them. Customized training guides -- As long as you follow the instructions provided, you'll never struggle to understand how to operate the system properly.
As far as benefits go, partner marketing software tends to fall somewhere in between basic and advanced offerings. While basic plans tend to focus primarily on giving you access to tools, advanced versions typically give you the opportunity to customize everything according to your exact specifications. Depending on how flexible you're willing to be, you can expect to spend anywhere from several hundred dollars per year to well above $1,000 per month.
Examples of successful partner marketing SaaS models
To illustrate the potential rewards associated with partnering with large corporations, consider the following five examples involving companies known for their success in the field. Each company was able to achieve significant growth using a reseller strategy, and the resulting revenues allowed them to expand further down the road.
monday.com - A social media scheduling tool used by millions of employees worldwide, Monday.com was originally created back in 2005 as a simple way to share status updates and photos with coworkers. Over time, however, the site evolved into something much larger. Today, it boasts hundreds of features catering to virtually anyone interested in staying connected to friends and family on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, FourSquare, YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud, Dropbox, Instagram, and more.
DocuSign - An electronic signature solution with global reach, DocuSign lets individuals and organizations complete contracts and legal documents electronically. Founded back in 2003, DocuSign currently serves clients in 150 countries and is owned by Adobe Systems Incorporated. Its primary mission is straightforward: to simplify paperwork and reduce costs wherever possible.
ClickBank - A leader in the digital download arena, ClickBank helps online marketers generate higher profits by allowing vendors to upload their wares onto the network. Thanks to its vast catalog of downloadable content, affiliates can earn substantial income simply by referring visitors to the site. To date, ClickBank has generated nearly $100 million worth of revenue annually.
Amazon Marketplace - Originally founded in 1995 to facilitate purchases between third party sellers and Amazon itself, Amazon Marketplace allows buyers to browse and shop for discounted products from tens of thousands of participating stores. Like eBay, Amazon charges fees on transactions completed through its portal. However, unlike eBay, Amazon retains 100% of all proceeds earned through listings.
If you're planning to launch a startup and need expert advice on choosing your initial niche, check out our article titled How To Choose Your First Product Niche. We discuss three methods for narrowing down the possibilities and explain which method works best for each situation.
When you decide to enter into a SaaS reseller agreement, you'll obviously need to obtain an appropriate license key. This will allow you to install the software on your computer and begin testing it for compatibility. After you confirm that everything functions correctly, you'll need to register as a seller with the vendor so that you can place orders. Finally, once you've received your order(s), you'll need to ship the item(s) to the client's address.
Once you hit the ground running, you'll discover that the process of setting up a reseller account is actually quite simple. There are few restrictions placed on you during setup aside from requiring you to provide valid contact details. From there, you'll be given access to a number of tools that can help streamline the entire process.
For instance, after registering, you'll automatically receive an invite code containing detailed installation directions. You'll also notice that the next step involves selecting a plan from a list of predefined options. This ensures that you always select the correct tier for your current circumstances.
Partnerships can be tricky things. You want the right people on your team who will help you grow, but at the same time, you don't want to lose control over how that growth happens. That's why when it comes to growing your brand through an online presence, partnering up with someone else may be exactly what you need.
But how does one go about finding this kind of partnership? And which ones should you choose from? We've got answers for all those questions—and many more besides! Read on to learn more about the different types of relationships between partners, as well as some tips for successfully working them into your business strategy.
The first step to creating any sort of partner program is determining what type of relationship you'd like to have with your customers and/or potential customers. The most common options include:
Reseller - This involves selling products or services directly to end users (in other words, not including a middleman). For example, if you own a company that sells website hosting plans, then you could set up a reselling agreement with another company that offers web server space. In exchange for setting up these agreements, you would receive a percentage of each sale made by your clients.
VAR / MSP – A VAR stands for Value Added Reseller. An MSP refers to Managed Service Provider. These two terms refer to something similar: both involve having access to a product and using it to provide solutions to others. However, they differ slightly in their approach towards doing so. With a VAR arrangement, you take care of everything involved with managing the service itself, while with an MSPS, you're there just to provide support once problems arise.
Software Partner – As we mentioned earlier, a Software Partner is essentially someone who has access to the same tools that you do. They might use your platform to run marketing campaigns, manage client accounts, or even sell products related to yours. But unlike a traditional reseller, you won't necessarily get a cut of every sale. Instead, you'll split revenue based off of how much work goes toward making the customer experience better and faster.
Value Add Reseller – Like a Software Partner, a Value-Add Reseller is also someone who works within your ecosystem, but they tend to focus less on sales than on providing additional features and benefits to existing customers. If you're looking to make money without actually taking part in the transaction, this is probably where you should look.
As you can see, the differences among these three categories aren't always clear-cut. So before choosing whether or not to pursue a particular option, it helps to know what you're getting yourself into. Here's a quick rundown of some pros and cons associated with these various arrangements.
Pros & Cons of Different Types of Partnerships
Revenue Sharing vs. Commission Based
When it comes down to it, there really isn't much difference between Revenue Sharing and Commission Based. Both rely upon some form of compensation being paid out to either party depending on the amount of activity going on. But whereas a Revenue Share allows you to keep 100% of the profits generated by your customers, a Commission Based system only pays you after you've reached certain thresholds.
In short, Revenue Sharing is easier to implement, because you don't have to worry about keeping track of commissions earned on specific transactions. It also means that you retain ownership rights to your products. On the flip side, however, Revenue Sharing tends to favor larger businesses due to its simplicity. Smaller companies may find themselves losing too large a portion of their profit margin for their efforts.
Commission Based systems, on the other hand, allow you to scale easily. Since you're paying out per unit sold rather than per transaction, smaller operations can afford to participate in such schemes without worrying about missing out on money. However, since you still need to monitor individual purchases, it becomes harder to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.
If you're planning on running a small operation, you may decide that it makes sense to pay a third party to handle all aspects of your site management, instead of trying to figure out everything yourself. After all, hiring employees requires training, and learning new skills takes time away from the actual job itself.
On the other hand, if you're dealing with a medium sized enterprise, it may seem counterintuitive to hire outside assistance. Why give up control of something that you already understand inside and out? Especially considering that you wouldn't be able to offer the level of customization that you can today, anyway?
That said, it's important to remember that no matter which route you take, you're likely to encounter issues along the way. Whether you're dealing with a simple problem or a major issue, you'll eventually need to turn to someone else for help. When that happens, it's crucial to have an established process for communicating effectively with your partner. Otherwise, things could quickly become messy.
So far, we've talked mostly about how different types of partnerships affect your bottom line. Now let's talk about how they impact your customers' experience.
With a Revenue Sharing deal, you'll have full responsibility for ensuring that your customers feel satisfied with the overall user experience. But in order to accomplish this goal, you must put in the effort necessary to build long term relationships with your customers.
For instance, if you're offering a discount code via a referral link, you must regularly update your list of codes and send fresh email notifications whenever anyone uses it. Even if you're relying on a third party to handle the technical stuff behind the scenes, you still need to stay engaged with those customers. Not doing so risks alienating them, especially now that they're aware of your existence thanks to your affiliate links.
By contrast, Commission Based deals require very little maintenance, because you simply pay out according to whatever threshold was met during the previous month. While this sounds great in theory, it often leads to a lackadaisical attitude toward customer satisfaction. Many people prefer to wait until they absolutely need an upgrade, or until they discover that their account needs fixing. By then, it's usually too late.
Now that you know the basics of how partnerships work, it's time to start thinking about ways to incorporate them into your business plan. There are plenty of opportunities available, ranging from building partnerships with complementary vendors to establishing joint ventures. Take advantage of these options to improve your chances for success.
You've probably heard about SaaS (Software As A Service), but you may not be sure exactly how it works or how much money you can make from selling it. If this sounds like you, keep reading for an introduction to SaaS and some tips on how to get started with your own SaaS partnership.
In short, SaaS is when someone pays a monthly fee in exchange for using a service that they would otherwise have to pay for themselves. This means that if you're interested in starting a new SaaS business, there's no need to build anything yourself—you just sell other people's products instead!
The most common type of SaaS is web hosting, since many businesses use websites these days. However, any kind of product could potentially become SaaS, including ecommerce platforms, email marketing tools, CRM systems, blogging services, etc. The list goes on and on!
If you want to learn more about SaaS, check out our article explaining the difference between Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
When you partner up with a SaaS provider, all you'll ever really interact with directly will be their website. You won't deal with salespeople at all, so unless the SaaS company has some sort of direct contact center available, you won't even see them. Instead, you'll communicate with support staff who work remotely via phone, chat, forums, etc.
This makes it easy to find potential partners because you don't necessarily need to know anyone personally before signing up. Even better, since you only deal with one person rather than twenty different people, you can save time by finding someone else who already knows everything you'd like to know about the product. It also helps that you aren't dealing with customer service issues over email, which is often frustrating.
Because of those benefits, SaaS providers tend to offer higher commissions per sale than traditional online retailers. In fact, sometimes they give away free trials to entice customers into buying subscriptions! When you sign up for a trial, you usually agree to purchase the subscription after 30 days. Afterward, you might end up paying anywhere from $5-$100/month depending on the package you choose.
But here's the thing...it doesn't matter whether you're making $1/sale or $10/sale. Because you're never actually interacting with the consumers anyway, there's nothing stopping you from offering whatever price you want! That said, you should always try to negotiate lower rates with suppliers, especially early on. You can either ask the supplier upfront for a discount or wait until you receive the first bill and then tell them you'll accept less than full payment.
As long as you're getting paid something, though, you shouldn't worry too much about negotiating pricing. There's plenty of competition on the market, so prices will continue to decline regardless of how high you set yours.
One of the biggest misconceptions about SaaS is that it applies mostly to big corporations. While larger organizations certainly benefit from outsourcing the management of their IT infrastructure to third parties, there are still plenty of smaller companies that rely heavily upon SaaS solutions today.
For example, let's say you run a small consulting firm. Most of your clients hire you individually, meaning you're responsible for setting up accounts, collecting payments, answering questions, and managing relationships with each individual client. These tasks would take hours each month, which is why you'd prefer to pay someone else to handle them for you. So you start looking around for a good SaaS solution, and you discover several options.
Some of these include Google Apps, Zoho Office 365, and Microsoft Office 365. They can both provide word processing and spreadsheet functionality, along with basic collaboration features such as shared calendars and documents. But what sets them apart is that they allow you to customize your experience based upon your needs. For instance, you can add custom fields to spreadsheets that display information relevant to your specific practice area. And Google offers templates that help you quickly create professional presentations without having to spend countless hours learning HTML code.
These kinds of customization options mean that you don't have to settle for standard versions of office suites. Plus, you can avoid spending thousands of dollars on licensing fees every year (if you're lucky enough to qualify for volume discounts!).
Another important factor to consider when deciding which SaaS option to go with is security. Some providers require users to log into their system using two-factor authentication (e.g., SMS messages sent to cell phones). Others simply verify that the user entering data matches the account associated with his IP address. Either way, it prevents malicious hackers from accessing your sensitive files and passwords.
There isn't a hard and fast rule saying "this SaaS platform is only for SMBs" versus "this SaaS platform is only for large enterprises." Many (but not all) SaaS providers cater to both sides of the spectrum, providing similar offerings to both large corporations and solo entrepreneurs alike.
It does seem that SaaS tends to attract bigger brands, however. Companies like Groupon and Foursquare are known for their success with SaaS packages, whereas smaller startups often turn to cheaper alternatives.
That being said, it's possible to succeed at SaaS while working for a corporation. Just remember that your job title must reflect the type of business you're running. For example, if you're currently employed as a consultant, you wouldn't call yourself "the CEO of XYZ Corporation," since CEOs typically manage teams of employees. Likewise, "CEO" isn't appropriate when referring to a freelancer, entrepreneur, or independent contractor.
Instead, it's best to refer to yourself as "XYZ Company" or "XYZ Consulting Services". By doing so, you signal that you're part of a team and that you're bringing something valuable to the table. Your prospective employer will likely be impressed by this distinction and appreciate your willingness to embrace change.
And hey, maybe someday you'll decide to join forces with another SaaS vendor!
Check out our related articles below to learn more about becoming successful with SaaS, and stay tuned for more helpful content coming soon!
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