How to Build the Best SaaS Partner Program [+ Examples] 2023

Anant Gupta
16 Min Read
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Building a successful SaaS partner program can be daunting, with several elements to consider in its design and operation. Yet, studies have shown that such programs significantly boost businesses’ sales strategy and Partner Relationship Management (PRM).

This article offers a step-by-step guide on how to develop the best SaaS partner program, including real-world examples from industry leaders. Keep reading to reveal the blueprint for creating an effective partner program that accelerates your business growth.

Types of SaaS Partner Programs

There are several types of SaaS partner programs, including referral programs, affiliate programs, integration partner programs, and value-added reseller programs.

Referral Program

A referral program can boost your business. It lets happy customers tell others about your service. They share a link or code with friends. Then, when those friends sign up and pay for the service, the referrer gets a reward.

The prize might be money off their next bill or even cash in hand. With this plan, everyone wins! New customers get to use the great service they need. Old customers earn rewards for spreading the word about you.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are a type of partnership that can help businesses grow and attract new customers. In an affiliate program, you collaborate with other businesses or individuals who promote your product or service in exchange for a commission on any sales they generate.

This can be a great way to expand your reach and increase brand awareness. Companies like Slack, Zendesk, Shopify, and Drift have successful affiliate programs that serve as examples for others.

By building strong relationships with affiliates and providing them with the necessary resources and support, you can create an effective affiliate program that boosts your business’s growth.

Integration Partner Programs

Integration partner programs are an essential component of a successful SaaS partner program. These programs involve collaborating with other software providers to integrate your SaaS solution with their platforms.

By doing so, you can offer more value to your customers and expand your reach in the market. Integration partnerships allow for seamless data sharing, improved functionality, and a better overall user experience.

Examples of successful integration partner programs include Slack, Zendesk, Shopify, and Drift. These companies have effectively leveraged integration partnerships to enhance their offerings and attract more users.

Value-added Reseller

A value-added reseller is a type of partnership in SaaS programs where the reseller adds extra value to the product or service before selling it to customers. This can include additional features, customization, or integration with other software.

Value-added resellers help businesses by offering unique solutions and tailored experiences for customers. They play an important role in promoting and expanding a SaaS brand, and many successful companies have built strong partnerships with value-added resellers to enhance their sales strategy and reach new markets.

Some examples of value-added resellers in the SaaS industry include Salesforce AppExchange and Microsoft Azure Marketplace.

Importance of SaaS Partner Programs

SaaS partner programs are really important for businesses. They help to increase sales and build relationships with customers. By partnering with other companies, businesses can expand their reach and get more exposure for their products or services.

Partnering with complementary businesses can also bring in new customers who may not have heard of the SaaS brand before.

Another benefit of SaaS partner programs is that they allow businesses to tap into the expertise and resources of their partners. Partners can provide valuable insights and support, helping to improve the overall quality of the product or service.

This collaboration can lead to innovation and better solutions for customers.

In addition, SaaS partner programs enable businesses to scale quickly without huge investments in sales teams or infrastructure. Partners take on some of the marketing and selling responsibilities, allowing companies to focus on other core areas of their business.

Overall, SaaS partner programs are a win-win for both parties involved. Businesses gain access to new markets and customers, while partners benefit from earning commissions or fees by promoting a trusted SaaS brand.

It’s a powerful strategy that can drive growth and success in today’s competitive market.

Steps to Build a Successful SaaS Partner Program

To build a successful SaaS partner program, you need to outline your strategy, create a compensation plan, consider the program’s structure, build processes, be a resource for your partners, and measure success with key performance indicators (KPIs).

Outline your strategy

To build the best SaaS partner program, it is essential to outline your strategy. This means having a clear plan and direction for how you will work with partners. Start by identifying your goals and objectives for the program, whether it’s increasing sales or expanding into new markets.

Consider what types of partners you want to collaborate with and how they can help you achieve these goals. Develop a framework that outlines the roles and responsibilities of both your company and your partners.

It’s important to establish criteria for selecting partners and define the benefits they will receive from participating in the program. By outlining your strategy from the start, you can set a solid foundation for building a successful SaaS partner program.


– The article suggests two main types of partnerships for building a SaaS partner program: reseller partnerships and licensing partners.

Create a Compensation Plan

To build the best SaaS partner program, it’s important to create a compensation plan. This plan outlines how you will reward your partners for their efforts in promoting and selling your software.

A fair and attractive compensation plan can motivate partners to work harder and bring in more customers. When creating the plan, consider factors such as commission rates, payment structure, and performance incentives.

Look at successful SaaS partner programs like Slack, Zendesk, Shopify, and Drift for inspiration on how they have structured their compensation plans. By designing a well-thought-out compensation plan, you can encourage strong collaboration with your partners and drive mutual success.

Consider the Program’s Structure

When building a SaaS partner program, it is important to consider the structure of the program. This involves determining how you will onboard and train partners, as well as how you will manage their performance.

To ensure success, create clear guidelines and expectations for your partners. It’s also crucial to establish effective communication channels so that partners can easily reach out with any questions or concerns.

Additionally, make sure to provide resources and support materials that will help partners promote your product effectively. By considering the program’s structure, you can set up a strong foundation for your SaaS partner program and increase its chances of success.

Build Processes

To build a successful SaaS partner program, it’s important to establish clear and efficient processes. This means creating guidelines and procedures that partners can easily follow.

By outlining the steps they need to take, you can ensure consistency and streamline the partnership experience for everyone involved. Additionally, you should develop a system for tracking partner activities and progress, such as using a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform.

This will help you stay organized and measure the success of your program in real time. Remember, building strong relationships with your partners is crucial, so be proactive in providing support and resources to help them succeed.

Key facts:

– Building processes for your SaaS partner program helps ensure consistency and efficiency.

Be a Resource for Your Partners

To build the best SaaS partner program, it’s important to be a resource for your partners. This means providing them with the support and tools they need to be successful in promoting your product or service.

You can offer training sessions, webinars, and documentation to help them understand your product better. Additionally, provide them with marketing materials like brochures and case studies that they can use to showcase the value of your offering.

Regularly communicate with your partners, listen to their feedback, and address any concerns or challenges they may have. By being a reliable resource for your partners, you can strengthen your relationship and drive mutual success.


– The article mentions that SaaS partner programs are a great way to build a business.

Measure Success with KPIs

To determine the success of your SaaS partner program, it’s important to measure key performance indicators (KPIs). These are specific metrics that show how well your program is performing.

Some KPIs you can track include the number of leads generated by partners, conversion rates, revenue generated through partnerships, and customer satisfaction ratings. By analyzing these metrics regularly, you can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions to optimize your partner program for better results.

Examples of Successful SaaS Partner Programs

Slack, Zendesk, Shopify, and Drift are all examples of successful SaaS partner programs.


Slack is a popular communication and collaboration tool that also offers a successful SaaS partner program. With their program, agency owners and resellers can earn commissions by referring new customers to Slack.

This referral partnership allows businesses to benefit from the growing demand for team communication software. By becoming a Slack partner, agencies and resellers can offer their clients an innovative solution while also generating additional revenue for their businesses.

As one of the top SaaS providers with a successful partner program, Slack serves as a great example for agency owners and resellers looking to build their partnerships in the SaaS industry.


Zendesk is a leading SaaS provider with a successful partner program. They offer different types of partnerships, including referral and integration programs. Their partner program allows agencies and resellers to earn commissions by referring customers or integrating Zendesk’s software into their offerings.

Zendesk’s partner program provides resources and support to help partners be successful, including training, marketing materials, and dedicated account managers. By partnering with Zendesk, agencies, and resellers can expand their service offerings and generate additional revenue streams.


Shopify is a leading e-commerce platform that offers a highly successful SaaS partner program. Their program allows agency owners and resellers to earn revenue by referring clients to Shopify.

Participants can receive up to 20% of the monthly subscription fees for each referral. Shopify provides resources, training, and support to help partners be successful in promoting their brand.

With over one million businesses using Shopify, it serves as an excellent example of a strong SaaS partner program that can benefit agency owners and resellers looking to grow their businesses in the e-commerce industry.


Drift is a leading provider of conversational marketing software, and they have an excellent SaaS partner program. Their program focuses on integration partnerships, allowing businesses to seamlessly connect Drift’s chatbot and messaging capabilities with their existing platforms.

This partnership provides added value for customers and helps businesses boost their sales and customer engagement. Drift also offers extensive resources and support to its partners, ensuring that they have the tools and knowledge needed for success.

With Drift as a model, businesses can learn how to effectively build an integration partner program that enhances their overall SaaS offering.


Building a successful SaaS partner program is crucial for businesses to thrive. By using the right strategies, compensation plans, and structures, companies can create strong partnerships that drive growth.

Examples of successful programs like Slack and Shopify show how effective these partnerships can be. So, if you want to build the best SaaS partner program, take inspiration from these examples and follow the steps outlined in this article.

Start building those valuable partnerships today!


1. What is a SaaS partner program?

A SaaS partner program, also known as Partner Relationship Management or PRM, is a business-to-business (B2B) strategy. It allows Software as a Service (SaaS) companies to grow by teaming up with other businesses.

2. How do I build the best SaaS partner program?

To build the best SaaS partner program, you need careful planning and strong strategies. You can think about using affiliate partnerships, reseller business models, or even white-label programs.

3. Can having a good name make my SaaS partner program more attractive?

Yes! A creative and clear name for your B2B SaaS partner program can grab attention and show what your software does.

4. Are there examples of successful strategic alliances in the software marketplace?

Yes! Many well-known software marketplaces thrive because they have smart strategic alliances at the right time.

5. What are some benefits of building a solid SaaS partner network?

Growing an effective SaaS partnership network leads to greater sales reach and more success for your Service as a Software (SaaS) offer.

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