“Building Joint Solutions with Tech Partners” is a hot topic in the partner ecosystem world. In an era of hyperspecialization, investing in joint solutions is a critical component to tech partnership strategy. When partners collaborate and build jointly, they are able to innovate in new ways and ultimately provide tailored solutions for their customers.
We brought together an experienced panel to discuss the best practices around building joint solutions and our experts had a lot to share!
Why are SaaS companies building joint solutions with partners today?
Businesses today face increasing pressure to offer more solutions than ever, be ready for the unexpected, and perform at the highest levels. There will consistently be core products and features within each company, however it's impossible to build and fulfill the entire spectrum of each customer’s needs all on your own. This is where creating joint partner solutions comes in.
These days customers have a wide range of providers and solutions to choose from. Organizations are now more at risk than ever of losing consumers to rivals if they don't meet or exceed expectations. Technology partnerships provide customers the opportunity to use better, more integrated solutions, which result in better, more fulfilling customer experiences. Collaborating on technological innovations merely makes sense; it benefits both parties in terms of market share, new technology, and improved customer satisfaction.
Another major benefit of collaborating on joint solutions is that it helps organizations scale. Scaling, not only from a platform perspective, but also geographical expansion, adaptation to multiple use cases, and more.
The beauty of partnership is that even in the realm of joint solutions, partners can lean on each other to bring their best attributes to the end customer, creating the very best tailored product. And, if your ideal customer profile (ICP) is quite specific, as soon as you are able to add solutions partners, you then expand into their ecosystem as well, creating visibility, credibility, and ultimately the potential to scale at a greater capacity.
Partnership with GSIs
In an effort to offer a solution that meets their client's needs, GSIs often collaborate with software companies to incorporate open source tools, frameworks, and other components. It is crucial for both partners to invest a significant amount of time in properly researching the possible partner and weighing the benefits and potential challenges before deciding to form a technical relationship. Partners who share your ecosystem, fill product gaps, and are on par with, or better than you, make strong technical partners.
The size of the company also affects how GSIs approach their technical partnership strategy. Many smaller SaaS companies who genuinely desire substantial partnership business, lack the potential to attract bigger GSIs unless they are exceptionally distinctive. In order to “prove their worth”, these smaller companies must create credibility through their customers. They will often collect client success stories or provide select GSIs with use cases or development for new use cases if they want them to join in developing and providing the solution with their product.
Challenges of building joint solutions with partners
Every partnership comes with challenges and benefits and tech solutions partnerships are no different. In fact, some might say that building joint solutions can be more challenging than other partnership models.
When two SaaS companies are monitoring the development of an integration, several questions need to be addressed from both a product and GTM perspective. From the product, questions should clarify integration ownership, how to provide accessible APIs, and who develops the integration. If a company wishes to collaborate with an SI partner, they also need to determine who will provide customer support and both businesses have sufficient documentation to address support-related issues.
From a GTM perspective it's important for partners to align their goals and gain clarity on issues like co-marketing, co-selling, and how to promote a specific integration. Also important to assess is how your respective sales teams work together. Is there communication, collaboration, and alignment? Those all are critical for partnership success.
In order to deal with challenges when they arise, both organizations must work together to establish clear rules of engagement early on and follow them end to end.
A best practice strategy from our panelists
1. Identify common customers: When planning to build a technology integration with a partner, use an account mapping tool to identify common customers, as these overlapping accounts are the first ones you will most likely target once your integration goes live.
2. Identify your shared prospects: Shared prospects are a goldmine of potential revenue since the overlap indicates the likelihood that these companies would more likely adopt the joint solution. Additionally this opens the door for a common customer success story, and a co-marketing strategy where you can provide discounts and other incentives to your common prospects.
3. Create shared collateral: A critical piece to joint solution success is sharing the “good news” with both internal and external parties. Collateral on how the integrations work and a number of logos that are using these integrations can quickly gain interest. Circulating them internally to the CSMs who are talking to your customers and are internal advocates to promote these integrations is a great start. Also, promoting this to your internal sales teams and SDRs as well for when they prospect is helpful. As the SDRs are performing discovery and asking the customer what solutions they currently use, they can suggest the concept of integrating with those solutions to provide a more beneficial solution.
Joint solutions to consider
In the world of SaaS, success is determined by how much progress has been made towards a goal.
Marketplace solutions are successful by creating a platform for partners to co-sell their solution in an easy to find location for customers. For example, companies may profit from Shopify's platform simply by incorporating it into their offerings or creating products that revolve around it. As a result, after you've met a set sales goal, the Shopify team will collaborate with you to grow your partnership revenue through co-marketing and will also aid in spreading the word about your products to a broader audience.
Companies like ADA and Add Call have a variety of Marketplace OKRs, such as pipeline objectives, the number of applications available in the Marketplace, etc. What is interesting to note is that the companies who focus on co-marketing and obtaining MQLs through the marketplace partner are companies that are performing well.
Cloud partnerships with Hyperscalers
In order to participate in a cloud partnership, you must be a tech partner of the cloud provider (hyperscalers). The cloud provider will give you market development funds (MDFs) if your service drives cloud consumption or helps the sales representatives shorten their sales cycle. However, they do have programs to incentivize salespeople when they place their products in these ecosystems. Along with their partners, the cloud companies (hyperscalers) are working to develop technologies that are applicable to nearly every sector of the addressable market, making cloud partnerships a viable option for the vast majority of ISVs.
The role of System Integrators in building joint solutions
System Integrators play a significant role in managing their clients’ technological environment and operational processes. They help to evaluate, design, and implement complex IT systems.
One aspect that contributes to the system integrator's involvement is their visibility into numerous businesses in several verticals. This diversity of visibility aids in their capacity to consider the potential demands of the client that they may not have otherwise been aware of. System integrators bring this knowledge to the table when it comes to how challenging integrations can be. Through their vast experiences, a system integrator can help ensure that the solution itself is fine-tuned to fit those specific sectors or verticals.
The second aspect is deployment. System integrators are accustomed to analyzing the collaboration of several partners and vendors and how the joint solution can be packaged, how the system capabilities are being priced and packaged, etc. In the current broader business environment, there are other threats that require caution on the part of a company, such as cyber security, platform mobility, and the unexpected inflow of users. All of these threats provide deployment challenges, hence prepackaged solutions are required and systems integrators can assist with this.
Finally, system integrators regularly engage with many different types of partners and run programs for them. The SIs have an established system in place to group partners based on the stages of envision, build, and scale they are in. Based on different partners, their solutions, their use cases, and the local regulations, system integrators assist in putting together the local compliances that are necessary for these partner companies.
If organizations approach their relationships with system integrator partners carefully and know when and how to use them as a resource to source and expedite sales, working with SI partners offers them a significant opportunity.
As the digital era continues to evolve, building joint solutions with tech partners can be a significant strategic avenue to grow your company revenue. In addition to aiding in the sale of a product, technology partnerships provide long-term advice, services, and support that replaces or enhances your in-house technological know-how.
To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about modern partnering, he can be reached on Twitter, LinkedIn, or send Chip an email at: email@example.com