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5 Min. Read

What Is a Partner Program? A Guide to Building an Ecosystem

What Is a Partner Program? A Guide to Building an Ecosystem

In the world of business, a saying you’ll often hear is, “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Building relationships with your customers, as well as other businesses, is vital. Because we live in the digital age, building relationships is easier than ever. One of the best ways to do so is through the use of partner programs.

If you’ve used any popular website plugins, you’re taking part in an online partnership. Similarly, popular websites like YouTube and Twitch provide partner programs to their users. Is a partner program right for your business? Keep reading to find out!

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

What Is a Partner Program?

The Three Types of Partnerships

Key Takeaways

What Is a Partner Program?

A partner program is a digital marketing program used online. It’s often used by software as a service (SaaS) businesses, because it fits their business model best. However, partner programs can cover a wide range of businesses, depending on how they’re executed.

For the most part, you’ll find that programs are based on building alliances between businesses. These business alliances promote business growth for all involved parties. The community of businesses works together, making an active ecosystem. Sometimes, when the right businesses partner, a huge ecosystem can be created. It all depends on the integrations available to users, and the businesses involved.

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Why Are Partner Programs Necessary?

When computers were first being developed, nearly all software applications were standalone. These options were complete packages. Every application had to be a jack of all trades. Business models in the past were very independent of one another. Companies would offer suites of programs, but integration was unheard of.

Fast forward to the internet age. Now, users have access to all sorts of different software options. Businesses have had to change from being well-rounded to being specialized. Along with that specialization has come more flexible business models. Software companies began to work together, offering specialized parts of a whole. Each software business brings a primary function to the table. When you put them all together, you get the best result, creating a better digital experience for millions. In today’s market, partner programs are essential to a successful business.

The Three Types of Partnerships

Partner programs tend to fall into three different categories. These categories represent partner programs that make up the majority of the ones offered by businesses.

Tech Partners

These are also known as integration partners. The basis of tech partners is data exchange. Tech partners transmit data from one program to another, allowing for a number of advantages.

  • Optimized workflows for software options
  • Event triggering between programs
  • Creating marketing strategies

By allowing these interactions to happen, tech partners are able to focus on a few objectives. They provide a consistent customer experience, leading to customer retention. They also influence one another’s revenue. By recommending that softwares be used together, both parties tend to see higher sales.

The best way to find a tech partner is to find a business that offers a service that you lack. You want to play off of your weaknesses by using their expertise. Similarly, you’ll need to be able to offer them expertise in an area that they are lacking, as well.

Channel Partners

If you’ve reached a plateau in sales, you may need to look for a channel partner. In exchange for a fee, a channel partner will help sell your product for you. The commission rate is often reasonable, considering you won’t have to do the selling yourself. This is also known as finding an indirect seller to partner with your business.

This is most effective when looking to expand outside of your typical market. Rather than having to use time and resources on creating a presence, an established partner can sell for you. This instant access to a different market is the best way to increase the reach of your business quickly.

Strategic Partners

Any partner that doesn’t fall into one of the previous categories is likely a strategic partner. The defining qualities of a strategic partner are loose. The best identifier for a strategic partner centers around their goals. Strategic partners have similar goals to one another. They may have overlapping products or markets. By working together, they can increase their chance of success.

Often, strategic partnerships lead to one company acquiring another. This is seen when companies begin to co-brand, and market together. Strategic partners form long term relationships and commitments. While they do this, they also display elements of tech and channel partners, as well.

Key Takeaways

The best road to success as a small business is through working together. This is especially true of software providers. When you can find a partner that elevates your business, you’ll tend to see more success in a shorter amount of time. However, you have to be able to offer something in return, as well. If you need more information like this, be sure to visit our resource hub. We have plenty of information for entrepreneurs and industry enthusiasts!


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