Where to go and how are others?

I’ll start in the forehead – whether or not to sell SaaS through partners is not an easy question. On the one hand, SaaS itself is diverse – from systemic to applied, solving business problems, and the pool of potential partners for their sales is very wide – from cloud providers to business consultants (business lines, subject area). On the other hand, there is the illusory nature of the independent life of a service on the Internet, in which there is no place for intermediaries.

The complexity of the partnership issue is fueled by the policies of leading vendors, which are usually guided by. Leaders, recently, have taken different positions in relation to partners – Microsoft is building its cloud services – O365, Outlook.com, leaving for direct sales, and Google, on the contrary, is “courting” Russian integrators.

In general, the decision to work through a partner channel depends on many factors – the niche of the solution, its cost, the mass of potential partners in the market, the strategies of competitors, the will of the company’s management. To reduce uncertainty and make the right decisions on the issue, I propose to analyze the theory, find out the opinion of experts and look at practices.

Theory and hypotheses

There is an opinion that it is more convenient to place a SaaS service in your own cloud and start actively promoting it offline and on the Internet. The result is that the service will start selling itself and everyone is happy. A partner channel on the web is not needed – we sell online.

Practice – expert opinions

 amoCRM CEO: It doesn’t work!

“Very unlikely to fly, let’s say so. Affiliates work well if they create additional value or offer a more complex product. These are either consultants-implementers, or integration of services with each other. Such banal resellers, even with very accurate positioning, give poor results (there have already been so many of them, all the same).»

 Market expert *aaS: it works!

“In principle, my opinion is known. If the average check from a client is less than several tens of thousands of dollars a year, then the direct sales model will not allow scaling the business to serious volumes (tens and hundreds of millions). Those. without partners and channels – nowhere. Selling b2b HaaS in terms of delivering value to the client is almost no different from selling traditional corporate IT. But it is very different from selling voice services by subscription (that’s why I don’t believe in selling clouds through opsos). Those. for the most part, this is not boxing, but presale, sale of solutions, integration, software packages, consulting.”

CEO of MoySklad: this is still unclear!

“The traditional SaaS partnership model doesn’t work well. Why do users choose clouds at all? Three reasons: online, simplicity, cost reduction. Online allows the developer to independently sell their product globally, without reference to the region – the value of local partners is reduced. Cloud services are simpler, which means that the need for training and implementation (this is usually done by partners) is reduced. Cloud services are cheaper, which means that if you divide the revenue between a partner and a developer, it may not be enough for two.”

Does this mean that SaaS partnerships will never work? No, but some new model will be successful.

 СEO Zingaya: it works like crazy!

“Significant problems of the SaaS affiliate program, in my opinion, are related to the fact that the products are quite cheap, and therefore it is difficult to give a lot of money to the channel. Because of this, the channel is not too interested, especially since SaaS resale needs to be strained. Of the more or less successful affiliate programs, I can only remember Salesforce, but it’s not even SaaS, but a whole platform with a bunch of clients, so it looks and works differently there.”

The opinions of experts are confirmed by the fact that it is necessary to carefully weigh all the pros and cons when choosing an affiliate strategy and building an affiliate channel.

Discussion Affiliates of one startup

The Quickme Practice – Reasons We Work With Partners

In our practice, we decided to build an affiliate channel and here’s why:

– Quickme is still more of an infrastructure solution (Business Mail and File Storage) or BPaaS (Business Process as a Service) and “closes” the needs of users in communications. There are enough companies on the market that are providers of such services – that is, the number of potential partners is enough to find like-minded people among them who will believe in the product. In particular, we have seen a clear increase in the number of cloud providers

— It is possible to bet on classic hosting providers. Interestingly, the leading free mail services do not occupy the lion’s share of the market for mail for domains (statistics before the launch of Business mail from). As a result, you can go to the second third echelon of such companies and discuss an affiliate program with them.

— Quickme is a startup and we have insignificant budgets for promotion, which simply won’t be enough to quickly create a recognizable local brand and attract partners cheaper.

— We have established relationships with system integrators from the TOP-10, with which we can enter the market of large companies and government agencies.

— We see the development of technological platforms for cloud providers that “know how” to integrate and sell SaaS, for example from Parallels. Jelastic, ISP and see them as a way to “reach out” to the leading providers.

– The product is simple and for its sales it is not necessary to involve the resources of the partner’s sales department.

For ourselves, we understood that partners are an additional value for us and received:

— Client bases of partners

— Providing the best SLA and infrastructure.

— Trust in partners from big business.

— Potentially large/expensive project tasks/money.