A partner relationship management (PRM) software is a tool designed to facilitate the partnership experience from end-to-end. It is primarily used by partners to drive traffic, leads and deals to a vendor, and by a partner manager and their team to manage their partner relationships as well as support their partners.
Most PRMs should be enable resources sharing between the two parties. It should also provide communication tools, relevant analytic dashboards, as well as link tracking and lead/deal submission tools.
Any marketing channel where you "pay to play," including display advertising, content syndication, search advertising, etc.
A metric used by software vendors with a "freemium model" to track how many users have converted from free trials to paid subscriptions.
It’s helpful to understand partners as a part of how a company can choose to scale. The standard way a company does this is to hire talent internally, growing its go to market teams. Alternatively, a company can look to partners, third party entities, to grow its reach, similar to your sales and marketing team without increasing headcount. These partners can be individuals, consultants, or companies. There are many different kinds of partners each of whom provide different types of values, including affiliate partners, referral partners, and reseller partners.
Also see: Affiliate partner, Referral partner, Reseller partner, Technology partnerships, Strategic partnerships
A common job title for those responsible for building partner relationships in service of hitting company sales targets. They may or may not manage a team.
Partner acquisition refers to growing your partner program by enrolling new partners into your partner program. This involves your partner recruitment strategy and the process it takes to apply to your partner program.
Mobilizing the partners you've recruited and motivating them to complete tasks that are beneficial to your business (e.g. sharing links, getting leads, etc.)
An official badge that partners can display on their website and in their marketing to officially associate themselves with your program and brand. This allows they to communicate their professional relationship with you and build trust with their audience.
A partner ecosystem is a network of businesses who serve similar audiences but are not competitors and may thus benefit from collaborative marketing and sales strategies. In an ecosystem, the involved companies orchestrate all indirect distribution channels to scale and grow. For example, a marketing automation platform (MAP), a video marketing platform, and a content management system (CMS) are three businesses who target similar customers and would benefit from joining or creating a network together.
By co-marketing and even co-selling in strategic partnerships, companies can sell more products and support happier customers who have a suite of complementary tools at their disposal. Partner ecosystems help businesses serve their customers’ needs in ways that they can’t necessarily do themselves through their own technology. By recommending trusted products that fill functionality gaps, companies can set their customers up for greater success, and of course, greater retention and customer lifetime value (CLTV.)
Example: The Quickbooks partner ecosystem contains hundreds of companies — mostly technology vendors — who serve small businesses.
The process of educating partners and providing them with the resources they need to successfully promote your offerings. This might include educational resources that familiarize the partner with your product and how to speak to it, promotional resources that kick-start their on promotional strategy, or systems and processes they are able to utilize as they navigate their partner journey.
Also see: Partner journey
The process of keeping partners active participants in your program, whether that means driving traffic or submitting leads and deals, the goal is to encourage partners to continually drive value through your program.
Also see: Partner activation
A partner join source indicates the channel from which a partner applies to your program, whether from your owned channels (e.g. your website, email, paid ads, internal team outreach), referrals from existing partners, or through a partner network.
The partner journey describes each step a partner goes through when learning about, joining, and earning value through a partner program. It can be likened to the buyer journey. The steps of the partner journey can be defined differently depending on the business, as can the order of certain steps. However, most partner journeys generally follow this structure:
Interest > Recruitment > Activation > Investment > Devotion
The interest stage is where a vendor gains the interest of potential partners. Recruitment involves informing potential partners of your product and offering a partnership. Activation represents the first value earned by the partner. Investment is when the partner recognizes vendor value and invests further time and capital in the relationship. Devotion occurs when partners are ready to scale with you.
Example: Jenn found that only a small percentage of partner were making it to the investment phase of her partner journey, so she decided to spend more time and energy ensuring partners hit their activation targets within their first two months of joining the program.
A partner network is a SaaS vendor's group of affiliates, referral partners, and/or reseller partners. These partners help to market and sell the vendor's product, receiving different commissions or cuts based on their partner type and agreement.
Some vendors will have only one kind of partner in their network (for example, if they only have an affiliate program), and some will run more than one kind of partnership within their network (for example, having both affiliate and referral partners). Vendors are responsible for providing their partner network with the required training, resources, certifications, and incentives required for the partners to market and sell their products.
Example: Lookwin runs an affiliate partner program and a referral partner program. Their partner network consists of every company involved in either program, whom they support with required education to sell their product and reward with commission payouts for sales and leads.
A partner newsletter is an email newsletter regularly sent to your partners. Content may vary, but partner newsletters usually include some combination of relevant updates, product news, content, info about partner-focused events, and any other partner-centric information a vendor wants to convey to their ecosystem.
Partner newsletters are often sent bi-weekly or monthly, but cadence may vary. We recommend creating a partner newsletter as a way to keep partners engaged and in the loop of what's happening with the program.
Example: Chase wanted to shout out a webinar her partners would be interested in, so she included it in her monthly partner newsletter.
Partner onboarding is the process of educating and training a new partner in your partnership program to be able to perform the duties required of their participation. Partner onboarding occurs after the partner has formally agreed to join the program and the terms of the partnership have been defined and agreed upon. It can be run differently from program to program, but generally incudes education on the vendor's product and the partnership platform and technology.
The goal of onboarding is to prepare a partner for activation. Onboarding should provide a partner with all required knowledge to fulfill their end of the agreement, which may include (but isn't limited to) marketing the vendor's product, referring leads, selling the vendor's product, or advertising affiliate links. Onboarding may include certification courses so the partner can prove their knowledge of the product and platform is sufficient before proceeding with marketing or sales activities.
Example: ItelCo agreed to a referral partnership with Panner. The first step after signing the referral agreement was to be onboarded. ItelCo took courses and completed certifications, learning about Panner and their referral process as they went. By the time they finished, they were ready to start sending leads!
Partner personas are research-based profiles that describe each different group of partners you work with. By outlining each type of partner’s wants and needs, you are able to understand what they require to be successful in your program. Partner personas act as a cheat code to help you recruit new partners effectively and give each group the support they need to become active participants in your program.
A program that connects companies to multiple types of partners who provide marketing support, leads, and/or sales.Partners can consist of marketing partners, referral partners, and/or reseller partners.
A metric that looks at how many partners stay in a program over time.
A metric that looks at how much revenue can be directly attributed to the partner channel.
A marketplace where partners can search for and discover new companies to partner with.
Passive income is revenue that an individual or a company generates without actively working for it on a regular basis. Make no mistake, it can sometimes take a great deal of upfront effort to generate passive income. But once the initial lift is completed, little to no active effort is required for that revenue to keep coming in on an ongoing basis. This makes it a really attractive method of earning revenue, especially over time.
Partnerships provide companies with an opportunity to generate this kind of passive income. For example, an agency may generate revenue (very actively) by working on client projects. But if they also sell software subscriptions on behalf of vendors, and that vendor offers them 15% of the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) of customers they sold to, then the agency will receive a nice chunk of passive income each month.
Example: With passive income from partnerships rolling in every month, marketing agency CEO Lissandra can feel confident that she could still pay all employees, even in dry months without a lot of new clients.
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Pay per action advertising is a kind of advertising in which you only pay when a user carries out a specified action. Actions can include subscribing to a newsletter, visiting a webpage, purchasing a product, or other notable events in a purchasing journey.
Pay per action advertising is similar to pay per click advertising, in which the marketer would pay for each click an ad gets. While a click can be considered an action, the difference between the two is the pay per action advertising can focus on conversion events.
Example: Liam ran a pay per action ad campaign for his online sock store in which he paid each time a user purchased a pair of socks.
Also known as a reward. A payout is the compensation a partner receives for generating leads and revenues. It's almost always monetary, but can occasionally take the form of leads, giveaways, or marketing funds.
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