If you are currently thinking of – or already pursuing – SaaS renewals through partners, this piece is an opportunity to focus on one key question: “Have we as an organization done the necessary homework and foundation laying – from an offer, sales, marketing and operations perspective – to assure our partners’ success?”
In our whitepaper series, “How to Engage the Channel for Successful SaaS Renewals,” the second paper focused on “Best Practices for Leveraging the Channel.” At the core of these best practices is the realization:
- Successful SaaS renewals through partners depend on the entire organization playing a role.
- SaaS renewals through partners are very different from traditional “product” or “solution” sales. Consequently, they require key functional areas to understand existing partner ability, willingness and concerns. Plus addressing each of these at each stage of offer development.
The Offer Development Continuum – A Helpful Map for your Team
Most organizations have some version of the diagram above. That is to say it maps the journey of an offer from its earliest stage through its commercial life. Therefore, this blog post will apply this map to SaaS renewals:
- Who leads each stage
- What’s included in each stage
- What is different about this business
- What’s critical to get right
1. Portfolio Planning
Who Leads? The SaaS offer team with input from the channel team.
– Building expansion paths into the offer
– Capturing and sharing usage data
– Developing a compelling busines value proposition (see Portfolio Planning for SaaS Renewals through Partners)
– Firstly, SaaS renewals can be a totally new business for partners, requiring new skills and ways of interacting with your company.
– Although in total they can represent a very significant percent of total revenue, each renewal value can be small compared with a partner’s traditional sale. Therefore, it can be difficult for vendors to capture and hold partner attention.
2. Concept to Market
Who Leads? The Channel team with input from the offer team, finance, legal, operations, direct sales, and customer success.
– Firstly, a statement of market opportunity
– Partner selection criteria
– Partner policies, program and incentives
– An evolution path i.e. the process for managing partner ramp-up
– Firstly, you’re working in an environment in which you, the vendor, remain attached to the end-user throughout the lifecycle.
– Secondly, your policies that relate to the end-user (ex. autorenewals, co-terming, grace periods, pricing) impact the partners’ business.
– In addition, poor performance of your sales and customer success teams can affect your partners’ renewals rates.
– Both your requirements and benefits for SaaS partners will be significantly different than your existing partner program.
– Not all of your partners are capable of transitioning to SaaS renewals. Or willing to make the journey. As such, there will likely be some skills and culture gaps that will need adressing over time before full performance targets can be met.
3. Lifecycle Management
Who Leads? The cross-functional team.
– Firstly, ownership of the partner’s performance
– Secondly, support for the partner’s performance
– Finally, measuring partner performance metrics
– Securing SaaS renewals business requires partners to work with your organization in new ways. Therefore, this can lead to a high risk for confusion and mixed messaging. Not to mention gaps in critical hand-offs.
Net/net….partner engagement for successful SaaS renewals: (a) starts at the very beginning of the offer lifecycle (b) continues throughout the offer lifecycle and finally (c) involves every function of the organization. For a more in-depth discussion of these topics, please download our whitepaper “Best Practices for Leveraging the Channel.”