You may be familiar with affiliate marketing or strategic partnerships, but there is much more to partnerships then you may think. Thankfully, there are many different types of tools out there to help you run an effective partnership program.
We comprised this breakdown of the partnerships ecosystem to give you an idea of how expansive it truly is – with everything from affiliate tracking to Through-Channel Marketing Automation. The ecosystem has many components all working together making it the most exciting thing in business development and marketing today (…in our opinion, of course).
Further, there are thought leaders in each area of partnerships creation and management. We’ve found a few we know and continue to learn from, but feel free to let us know if we missed anyone 🙂
First, let’s define the different types of partnerships. Typical business partnerships can fall into one of four categories: Reselling, Co-Selling, Affiliate, and Referral:
- Reselling: A reseller is a company or individual that purchases goods or services with the intention of selling them rather than consuming or using them.
- Co-Selling: “Co-selling is a method of product and service distribution where “channel partners” are the primary route to market. These channel partners are organizations or people that sell products or provide services on behalf of hardware, software, cloud services, or networking partner.”
- Affiliate: “Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
- Referral: “Referral marketing is the method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals.” Businesses can employ strategies to refer certain partners consistently for the purpose of getting a referral bonus for each sale they assist in making.
The 9 types of tools discussed below are all useful in helping your business effectively manage any of the following:
- Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
- Finance & Pricing
- Through-Channel Marketing Automation
- Channel Incentives Management
- Channel Data Management
- Channel Enablement
- Influencer Marketing
- Referral Management
1. Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
PRM software helps you manage partners throughout their overall lifecycle. This tool can help you with recruiting and onboarding, training, communication, development, and co-selling and co-marketing.
- PartnerStack (formerly called GrowSumo) enables companies to leverage partnerships in order to grow revenue, increase distribution, and go to market quicker and more efficiently. The fastest-growing software companies in the world like Asana, Drift, Freshworks, and Intuit use PartnerStack to power their reseller, marketing, and referral partner programs.
- Magentrix Community Solutions redefine collaboration and go beyond sharing content by enabling Partners, Customers, and Employees to engage with the data, content, and conversations critical to business. Seamlessly integrated with the leading CRM solutions, Magentrix Solutions for PRM, Customer Success and Employee Collaboration make it easier for teams to work together, increase engagement and productivity for revenue growth.
- With WorkSpan Ecosystem Cloud, alliance and ecosystem leaders are able to build-with, market-with & sell-with their ecosystem partners in a single, secure, cloud-based network to grow business & abundance together. WorkSpan makes it easy to work across partner types and partner tiers to grow ecosystem value by driving joint revenue, entering new markets, accelerating time-to-market, innovating on new solutions to meet shared customer needs and developing trust across company boundaries.
- Channeltivity is a partner relationship management software platform that helps companies build strong relationships, optimize partner productivity and support new sales. Channeltivity is easy to use, fast to set up, and connects to Salesforce.com. Channel Management modules include a robust Partner Portal, Deal Registration, MDF Co-op fund management, Lead Distribution, Joint Business Planning and much more.
- Lisa Thoman, Partnerships Consultant at LTL Partner Consulting
- Jenna Goldman, Head of Partnerships at Oracle
- Scott Fratianne, VP of Channel Sales & Partnerships at Pipedrive
- John Ferrara, Co-Founder & CEO at Nimble
Co-selling is when channel partners are the primary distribution route for getting your product or service out to the market. These channel partners can be organizations or people that sell products or services on behalf of a SaaS provider.
- Crossbeam is a collaborative intelligence platform that helps companies build more valuable partnerships. It serves as an escrow service for data, allowing companies to find overlapping customers and prospects while keeping the rest of their data private and secure. Not only can Crossbeam help you prioritize the right partners to work with, but it can also help you measure the impact those partnership programs have on your business.
- PartnerTap transforms sales partnerships through automation. No longer will salespeople need to send territory spreadsheets to their partners and try to figure out their common accounts. We’re building a community of salespeople and giving them a better way to share intel and leads.
- CoSell.io allows you to discover prospect and customer overlaps between partners, unleashing the power of relationships through co-selling. Get valuable insights from your partners on key prospects and customers. Enable your sales team to understand what it takes to succeed on your deals, directly from your partners.
- Tom Newton, CEO & Founder at Peer2Peer Partners
- Maciek Szczesniak, Director Global Channel and Sales Programs at Hewlett Packard Enterprise
- Manoj Jain, Managing Director, Enterprise Partner Sales at Microsoft
3. Revenue, Pricing, and Management
This is where pricing, revenue, and costs are managed. All commissions, rebates, and reporting is often handled using channel finance management software.
- AppBind is a company that solves problems of SaaS resellers. Its platform allows buy and manage any online service and pass the charges onto clients automatically. The platform enables to control every subscription, easily add backup cards and bank accounts and manage fees for any service you sell.
- Vendavo powers the shift to digital business for the world’s most demanding B2B companies, unlocking value, growing margin and accelerating revenue. With the Vendavo Commercial Excellence platform, companies develop dynamic customer insights and optimal pricing strategies that maximize margin, boost sales effectiveness and improve customer experience.
- ChannelCentral provides services to IT Manufacturers, Distributors & Resellers to help them become more efficient in their processes and become easier to do business with. It does this by creating cutting edge cloud tools; combining software as a service (SaaS) and content management to help manage portfolios through its application development.
- Sunir Shah, CEO atAppBind
- Daan Mannaerts, Global Partnerships Manager at TIE Kinetix
- Manish Godara, Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives at SAP
4. Through-Channel Marketing Automation
Through-channel marketing automation is a strategy for distributing advertising and marketing messages through a network of indirect partners. You can manage campaigns, social media content, leads, and more.
- ManoByte is a business growth agency based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They employ inbound marketing strategies, sales support services and customer experience solutions for businesses that are serious about meeting their sales and revenue goals.
- Distribion’s web-based marketing solution is the only proven multi-channel marketing automation solution built for distributed marketing organizations in regulated industries. Distribution streamlines the process of delivering and executing campaigns across communication channels: email, social media, print, direct mail, newsletters, microsites, presentations, forms & surveys, rich media, search engine marketing, and mobile.
- Netsertive is a marketing technology company that enables brands, publishers, and local businesses to reach customers online, at scale. Netsertive’s platform and services coordinate messaging, brand experience, and performance across all digital channels to drive awareness, consideration, and sales.
- Sugata Sanyal, Founder & CEO at Zinfi Technologies
- Jason King, Director of Growth Marketing at 360Insights
- David Wilson, Partnerships & Alliances Director, Americas at Sitecore
5. Channel Incentives and Program Management
The incentives for channel partners play a large role in making the partnership mutually beneficial. Channel incentives tools help you manage the distribution, tracking, and allocation of incentives to your channel partners.
- ITA Group
- ITA Group knows leaders today are facing significant business challenges that impact the overall success of their organizations—from employee recruitment and retention to sales and market share to customer loyalty and satisfaction, and everything in between.
- Hinda Incentives
- Hinda Incentives helps engage, inspire and reward the people most important to your business by managing successful reward and recognition programs for your clients. For nearly 50 years, we have been helping clients achieve their goals through well developed and managed sales incentives, employee engagement initiatives and customer loyalty programs.
- Incentive Solutions
- Incentive Solutions is a full-service incentive management house. For over 16 years we have helped companies improve employee and dealer performance, and we have developed successful, thriving loyalty programs for their customers. They offer a variety of resources and are experts in the fields of incentive solutions and awards, group travel, meetings services and planning, creative communications and more!
- Susan Heintz, President at Channel Management Professionals
- Steve Damerow, Founder at Incentive Solutions
- Jared Shusterman, CEO at Sproutloud
6. Channel Data Management
Channel Data Management lets you collect the data from partners you need, including financial, incentive, and inventory data. This data can then be tracked and used to tweak your program, protect against fraud, and even generating artificial intelligence predictions.
- IQBlade is a B2B Intelligence Platform which helps you to thrive in today’s ultra-competitive markets. Using analytics and data science to process huge amounts of data, we are helping Tech Companies and Local Government to map supply chains and get instant insight into the most effective routes to market.
- Founded in 2011, SaaSMAX, Inc. (www.SaasMAX.com) is the ultimate app marketplace, solution provider network and channel management program.
- Model N
- Model N is the leader in Revenue Management solutions. Driving mission-critical business processes such as configure, price and quote (CPQ), contract and rebate management, business intelligence, and regulatory compliance, Model N solutions transform the revenue lifecycle from a series of disjointed operations into a strategic end-to-end process.
7. Channel Enablement
Channel Enablement promotes developing your channel partners through educational materials, offering certifications, and offers partner portals.
- Channel Mechanics
- Channel Mechanics accelerates revenue and creates competitive advantages for companies leveraging the channel as their go-to-market model. Our cloud-based channel enablement platform, channelIT, gives customers the tools, data, and insights to execute great sales ideas.
- Skilljar is the leading customer training platform for companies to accelerate product adoption and increase customer retention. Skilljar’s award-winning solution empowers companies to deliver beautiful customer training experiences backed by data. The product is more than just a learning management system (LMS) – it’s purpose-built for customer and partner enablement. Features include best-in-class student experience, payments engine, social certifications, advanced analytics, and integrations with Salesforce and Marketo.
- Zift Solutions
- Zift Solutions increases channel sales and boosts marketing impact by delivering a superior technology platform, strategic insight, and global channel support.
- Expertus helps the world’s most innovative corporations gain and sustain a competitive advantage by transforming the way they educate and empower their workforce, customers and business partners. Our next-generation LMS software and managed services work together to make learning experiences highly accessible, relevant and flexible while ensuring that training administration is efficient and effective.
- Jay McBain, Principal Analyst – Channels, Partnerships & Alliances at Forrester
- Chuck Searle, VP of Partnerships & Alliances at Brainshark
- Adam Miller, President & CEO at Cornerstone OnDemand
- David DuVall, Alliance Program Manager at MediaFly
8. Influencer Marketing
Influencer Marketing software helps companies find and build relationships with industry influencers. Influencers can be people with a large social media following that have a similar audience as your target, or they can be people of influence in your industry like popular authors or figures.
- Mavrck an all-in-one, advanced influencer marketing platform enabling companies such as P&G, Godiva, and PepsiCo to harness the power of ideas people trust. Marketers use Mavrck to discover and collaborate with influencers, advocates, referrers, and loyalists to create trusted content and insights for customer journey touchpoints at scale. Using its self-service influencer manager, marketers can take an automated and performance-based approach to influencer marketing.
- AspireIQ is the leading influencer marketing platform for producing branded creative at scale. Our software platform empowers brands to build large-scale communities of influencers and content creators to produce the thousands of custom branded images and videos needed to power every customer touchpoint: digital advertising, social media, website content, email marketing and more.
- Traakr transforms brands with Influencer Relationship Management and is the standard for measuring the impact of influencer content on your market share.
- Kevin Creusy, Co-CEO at Upfluence
- Eytan Avigdor, Founder & CEO at Klear
- Jesse Leimgruber, Co-Founder & CEO at NeoReach
9. Referral Management
Referral Management software allows companies to promote and track the sales of their goods or services to their customer’s existing networks using referrals.
- Amplifinity referral software generates revenue growth for sales-driven companies. Amplifinity turns your different referral sources including partners, customers, agents influencers, consultants and more into a source of high-quality demand generation by automating and integrating referrals into the marketing and sales processes. Companies like ADP, Citrix and ADT trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging experience for their partners.
- Talkable builds refer-a-friend programs that allow e-commerce businesses to acquire new customers through the endorsement of their friends and family, shared via email, SMS, and other social channels.
- Extole’s enterprise advocacy platform and a team of experts create beautiful advocate and referral programs, so brands can harness the power of online sharing to the benefit of their bottom line. Extole enables marketers to connect with millions of advocates, scaling word-of-mouth to acquire new customers and increase loyalty using their greatest competitive advantage: their customers.
- Greg Bauman, Director, Channel Partnerships & Alliances at Annex Cloud
- Savvas Zirtikis, Co-Founder & CEO at Viral Loops
- Chad MacKay, CEO at LinkTrust