Preparing for Partner Programs in 2023

Preparing for Partner Programs in 2023

Learn the best way to find and keep partners for your new partner program in 2023. Understanding the different kind of partners and more.

Thinking about going into another year without a partner program? Forget about it. Starting a partner program from nothing can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Having a partner program should be considered a non-negotiable for all companies, regardless of the industry you’re in. We understand that it can be daunting getting started.
How do you find partners and how do you keep them? Luckily, you can find the answer to these questions by answering two other important questions: what will your partner do for you, and what will you do for your partner? Keep reading to learn more about the different kinds of partners and partner incentives, so you can start 2023 ahead of the curve.

What Will a Partner Program Do For You?

The first step of a solid partner program is to determine what you want out of it. There are several different kinds of partnerships and each one will come with its own benefits. It’s not a bad idea to have a diversified portfolio of partners that can offer you different things. However, when you’re just starting out, it’s best to stick to one or two types of partnerships. This will help you get the hang of how partner programs flow, the amount of time and money you’ll need to dedicate and how best to keep track of the omnichannel communication. The most common kinds of partners in a program are affiliates, referrals, and resellers. There are also solution providers, tech/ISV/product partners, MSP partners, and OEM partners!

how to set up a partner program

Affiliate Partners

This type of partner acts as a sales-conversion tactic. Affiliate partners will receive a link generated for them they’ll use to direct their customers to your site. When a customer makes a purchase through the affiliate’s link, the affiliate earns a small commission. Affiliate marketing works well if your partner already has an established relationship with their target audience. If your partner is already well-established in their industry and well-versed in the needs and wants of their target audience, that audience is more likely to trust them when they’re recommending your business. This gives your business an almost instant credibility boost, which can be helpful if your company is newer.

Referral Partners

Referral partners may also be referred to as lead-generation partners. The role these partners play is straightforward – these partners recommend your company to their connections to bring you business. The difference between an affiliate and a referral partner is that the traffic a referral partner brings in is interested in doing business with your company, not just buying your product or service. These referrals may bring in co-marketing opportunities, new technology or software for your business, or may even become partners themselves.

Reselling Partners

While any business model can utilize the first two types of partners in their partner program, reselling partners are most beneficial to those running an ecommerce, B2B, or SaaS business. Your partner company will take your product or service and embed it into their own sales process, marketing it to their consumers the same way they’ve successfully marketed their own products. Resellers are some of the best partners a B2B company can have, because your partner company will take on the majority of the marketing efforts your company would normally make. This can be a great choice if you’re looking to lower operational costs.

Solutions Partners

Solution partners provide their own services to customers while utilizing a product or service offered by your company. These partners then recommend your product or service to their customers to use on their own. Think of it like taking your computer in to have a virus removed and the tech support person encourages you to purchase a specific anti-malware product – those two companies are probably in a solutions partnership. Solutions partners and referral partners may sound similar, however solutions partners encourage their customers to buy from you, not necessarily partner with you.

Tech/ISV/Product Partners

Tech/ISV/product partners are SaaS companies who build an integration into another company’s products. ISV in this case stands for Independent Software Vendor. These partners develop, sell and integrate software for your business to expand your product or service’s capabilities. These partners can also help in creating long-term competitive advantage through product differentiation. In a partnership with a tech/ISV/product partner, your company will typically act as a referral partner. When others express interest in investing in software integration, you’ll refer them to the company you’ve partnered with.

MSP Partners

Managed service providers or MSPs, are service companies that implement technology and manage the operation of that technology for customers. MSPs provide services for your IT infrastructure such as network management, cybersecurity, remote support, billing management and scheduled maintenance. MSPs also cut down on the time needed for cloud configuration and updates because they have access to coding that would typically take months to build in house.  

OEM Partners

Original equipment manufacturer or OEM, partners offer software that can be embedded into your own product or service. OEM partnerships are most commonly used to integrate embedded analytics for your products/services. They can also be used to embed cloud analytics for other areas of your company. These partners are a great choice if you’re looking to cut costs in terms of product development. They bring the added benefits of having your product exposed to new markets and receiving continuous customer support for the software. 

Whether you’re looking to step into your first partnership role or increase your performance and move up in your company, the Partnerships Career Progression Playbook has everything you need to be successful in your field. Once you’ve signed your offer, you can apply to join Partnership Leaders. Gain access to one of the largest networks of partnership professionals and discover open roles on our job board.

Join The 1700+ Leaders Transforming Partnerships

As a member of Partnership Leaders you will:
  • Build and learn with the top partner people at the best companies around the world.
  • Increase your impact and accelerate your career with proven resources, tools, and best practices.
  • Grow a network of peers, partners, and advisors with common objectives.

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