How a Prominent Marketing Agency Makes the Business Case to Partner with SaaS.

How a Prominent Marketing Agency Makes the Business Case to Partner with SaaS

If you listened to last week’s episode of Partnered 2020 with David Lewis (CEO of DemandGen), then you must listen to this follow-up.

Today’s discussion will help both sides of the partnership understand how to approach the decision to partner:

  • For Channel / Partner Managers – you are going to hear what it take to get into a prominent agency’s stack and onto their services page.
  • For other agencies – you are getting a playbook on how to vet new potential partnerships. (make sure to listen to the end when Anita provides advice on when and how to start a partnerships division or hire someone like her)

Joining me on this episode is Anita Covelli. Anita is the former Partner Development Director at Oracle, former Director of Strategic Partnerships at ReadyTalk, and now Vice President of Alliances at DemandGen – a large agency in northern CA focusing on marketing technology implementations.

Anita is in the unique position to decide who their agency works with, and how close of a relationship to pursue.

Anita is the person who receives, reviews, tests and decides on new software for DemandGen’s clients. If certain criteria are not in place, the tool fails the test and may never get reviewed again.

And passing means entering a very large ecosystem of SaaS transactions that David and Anita oversee.

In today’s interview, you will learn:

  • What’s involved in her business-decision around any new partnership.
  • Items determining organizational readiness for a partner program.
  • How Anita vets the potential of the relationship to drive new services development.
  • What advice Anita would give to SaaS companies looking to partner with agencies.
  • And on the flip side – how she would advise an agency interested in starting a partner program?

This was a truly fantastic and eye-opening discussion for me.

I’ve taken notes so you do not have to – enjoy this conversation with Anita Covelli…

I’m going to ask Anita all about this process on today’s podcast – asking her:

  1. What impact have partnerships had on DemandGen’s business?
  2. What are some of the things you’ve seen SaaS companies do wrong when approaching you about partnering?
  3. How do you assess if a SaaS company is a fit for partnering with DemandGen?
  4. What are some of the key metrics, or signals, you use to gauge the health of a SaaS partnership?
  5. Where have you seen the most success with SaaS partnerships? What’s driving those results?
  6. What exclusivity needs Anita has?
  7. When and why have these in place: Mutual NDAs, Account Mapping, Agency and SaaS ICP alignment.
  8. How do you show the business case for a new technology investment i.e. new services?
  9. What advice would you give to SaaS companies looking to partner with agencies?
  10. On the flip side, how would you advise an agency interested in starting a partner program?

Items determining organizational readiness:

  • Company history?
  • How many customers?
  • How many salespeople?
  • Firmographics?
  • Do they have buy-in from sales leadership?
  • Do they have a dedicated partner manager?
  • Do they have market-development funds?

The potential of the relationship to drive new services development…

Is there a need for that technology’s customers to have ongoing support on top of that tool?
Can the agency’s team build services on top of new technology?
Can the tech add value to current service retainers for clients?

What is the professional services strategy of the saas vendor?
Are they planning to build out their own professional services org or are they going to continue relying on agencies for those services?

Finally, what is their agency-partner strategy? Are they looking for a small group of partners in that space or are they seeking multiple?

Here’s what’s involved in the business-decision around a new partnership:

  • Selling price?
  • Potential Revenue?
  • Access to a sandbox?
  • Volume – addressable market for the new service?
  • How much of that volume is the partner going to provide?