SaaS, Social Media, Online Software Applications… all have one in common, those businesses need indirect sales channels to grow.
Any kind of reseller on the other hand can only be successful, profitable and attractive to end customers when they have a larger product portfolio – single brand resellers can’t survive. Here is what I believe SaaS companies need to do:
1) Try to bring SLAs and terms in harmony with the market
The “All SaaS Enterprise” remains a dream if a customer would have to deal with 20 different partly contradicting terms. More so, a channel partner would have no chance ever getting a customer to sign many very different terms.
2) Share partner list and support partner cross pollination
If we are open about our partners, we help grow a channel in general by helping partners to grow their own business. Five SaaS vendors with 20 different partners each may bring 100 partners to the table. Assuming only a 50% are a match – every one of the five would ramp their channel instantly to 50 partners. And those partners would double or quadruple their revenue opportunity – making them more incline to invest.
3) Develop SaaS channel best practices and share it
While most SaaS vendors agree on the fact that SaaS and on premise is different, only a few have the experience to develop, maintain and grow an indirect business channel. A vendor side partner council, with the support of web 2.0 and social media tools would accelerate knowledge transfer and shorten channel experience development.
4) Create a unified channel development initiative
It takes only a hand full of vendors to put a stake in the ground and convince the world that there is a commercially attractive model to build and grow a SaaS Partner Business. But as long as SaaS vendors would compete with their partners, offer commissions that can’t pay a sales engagement, SaaS is doomed to remain a small company business with no way to grow.
Xeesm, a young SaaS based social media software company is selling through partners and open to join forces with any SaaS vendor who is interested in doing so. If you like to touch base, you find me here: http://xeesm.com/AxelS.
(my social map)