In the turbulent field of partnerships, technology-related collaborations have emerged as a promising option for SaaS companies aiming to achieve sustainable growth. As part of the ongoing Partner School series, Co-Founder and CEO of Firneo Scott Pollack engaged in a deep-dive discussion with Scindia Balasingh on this topic.

Though she is currently Head of Global Partnerships Marketing for Multiplier, Scindia is also a partnerships industry veteran who has led global marketing and partner marketing for companies like Freshworks and Vajro. Her interview with Scott shed light on the nuances of leveraging technology partnerships to drive growth in the competitive SaaS sector.

Why Technology Partnerships Matter in SaaS

Since partnerships play an indispensable role in revenue generation, brand perception improvement, and product enhancement, many SaaS companies have prioritized these relationships in recent years. According to Scindia, there are three major types of partnerships in the SaaS industry: first are channel or reseller partnerships, where solutions are resold for commission. Next, affiliate partnerships involve firms referring clients for a commission. 

While these partnerships can undoubtedly be useful, Scott and Scindia’s discussion focused on the third type—technology partnerships. In technology partnerships, two or more companies use technology to address a shared customer problem.

Technology partnerships can be an extremely helpful growth lever for SaaS businesses. To demonstrate the benefits of this approach, Scindia discussed how Multiplier focuses on solving compliance and payroll challenges for global hiring while collaborating with recruitment companies to address the hiring side. This is just one example of how technology partnerships allow SaaS companies to provide solutions instead of standalone products.

Building Foundations for Technology Partnerships

As the conversation pivoted to the significance of choosing the right partners, Scindia warned partnerships leaders against viewing their technology partnerships as a one-way revenue channel. Instead, she advocated for a mutual growth mindset with an emphasis on aligning Ideal Customer Profiles, crafting a joint narrative, and understanding partners’ personas.

Scindia also stressed that partnerships pros need a robust go-to-market (GTM) plan focusing on educating partners before they dive into co-selling. As part of this, she mapped out a strategic timeline for realizing returns from technology partnerships: 

  • The initial phase involves building integrations and crafting narratives.
  • Subsequent quarters should focus on top-of-the-funnel awareness activities, including joint webinars, social announcements, and integration kit videos. 
  • Finally, co-selling activities should commence in the third quarter (if not later).

She emphasized that it takes at least three quarters to see tangible results from these relationships, and stressed the importance of conveying reasonable expectations to leadership. 

The Challenge of Quick Wins

In many cases, partnership leaders want to demonstrate the value of their work by creating quick wins. Though Scindia acknowledged the importance of showing clear results to leadership, she also noted that partnerships pros should balance this priority with the need to build a robust partnership funnel over time.

For partnerships leaders facing this dilemma, Scindia proposed a strategic approach built around understanding the metrics that matter to internal teams and demonstrating the value of partnerships through quantifiable results. For instance, she encouraged partnerships pros to point to benefits like cost savings and increased efficiency while working with their company’s marketing team. By doing so, they’ll be able to present meaningful results while continuing to focus on the slow and steady growth of their partnerships.

On the topic of marketing and technology partnerships, Scindia identified webinars, events, thought leadership content, and co-selling as effective strategies. She emphasized the need to select channels based on a partner’s strengths and audience. Thoughtful integration of marketing channels tailored to the partner’s expertise can enhance the success of joint initiatives.

Ensuring Long-Term Partnerships Success

For a partnership to succeed for longer than a month or two, it needs the involvement of people outside each participating organization’s partnerships team. Scindia discussed the importance of getting various internal teams (including marketing, sales, and customer success) on board with the partnership journey. 

According to Scindia, a collaborative approach to partnerships should aim to align the partnership’s overarching goals with each team’s KPIs. Along with the marketing strategies listed above, proactively involving customer success teams in app adoption and ensuring that product teams understand the impact integrations can have on revenue are crucial steps toward the goal of maintaining successful partnerships.

Scott and Scindia’s conversation wrapped up with insights on sustaining partnerships over the long term. To this end, Scindia advocated for quarterly planning and joint GTM strategies. She also noted that partnerships leaders can ensure the sustainability of their technology partnerships by setting mutual targets, continuously checking on progress related to these goals, and tweaking these metrics if the need arises.

Partnering for Success with Fireno

In the competitive world of SaaS, strategic technology partnerships can be a powerful growth lever when partnerships leaders approach them with a meticulous plan. Scindia’s insights underscore the importance of finding compatible partners and balancing quick wins with long-term planning while attempting to build enduring technology partnerships. As SaaS companies navigate the complex world of partnerships, gaining internal and external alignment is also paramount for unlocking sustained growth.

Of course, understanding the basics of technology partnerships for SaaS companies doesn’t mean this process will always be easy—especially if you didn’t get reliable guidance when you entered your first partnerships position. If you’re a partnerships leader looking to take the next step, you’re in the right place: Firneo specializes in giving aspiring partnerships pros the playbook they’ll rely on for the rest of their careers. Best of all, getting started is as easy as signing up for our Mastering Partnerships Strategy program!

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