How to Measure ROI on Tech Partnerships

With the number of SaaS companies skyrocketing, the number of SaaS partnerships have also skyrocketed. Between 50 and 70 percent of SaaS companies are currently earning revenue from partnerships. 

With the increased importance of strategic partnerships, it has become more important to accurately track the ROI on these arrangements. With channel partnerships, companies can track referrals and sales, which form a direct line with revenue. Showing the ROI on tech partnerships can be murkier. 

Many companies just use their intuition that tech partnerships are valuable. This approach may work to launch a few tech partnerships, but it becomes problematic when executive management or key teams in the organization, like engineering or product, aren’t onboard.  

In a world where the average business is using a dozen or even hundreds of software products, tech partnerships have become essential to attracting and keeping customers. Here’s how to add some rigor to your tech partnership program, and track and show its ROI.

The Business Case for Tech Partnerships

Tech partnerships involve an integration between products, which a user might find in either company’s integration marketplace. No matter where an integration between two companies is accessed by the user, integrations can help companies:

  1. Generate new leads
  2. Generate new customers
  3. Reduce customer churn
  4. Increase customer brand advocacy
  5. Increase customer upsells
  6. Reduce time spent on customer support
  7. Increase brand equity

In order to track and show the ROI on tech partnerships, companies should study each of these metrics. Putting the processes in place to measure the impact of tech integrations can help ensure the whole organization buys in and understands their value. 

Tracking the ROI on Entering Other Companies In-App Marketplaces

Companies like Salesforce, Shopify, BigCommerce, Hubspot, and Slack have large integration marketplaces where users search for other software. With over 12 million daily active users, for example, an app listed in Slack’s “App Directory” can quickly get a SaaS company a number of new leads.

Some marketplaces, like Salesforce’s AppExchange, provide analytics to their partners that make it easy to track how many people are visiting their individual page. Other marketplaces do not, and it is up to the partner to figure out how to track leads and conversions. 

Once a company has built and configured their integration (and has been approved by the other company’s marketplace), here are the best ways to track its impact:

Generating Leads

Marketplaces vary in the analytics they provide their tech partners. Salesforce’s AppExchange provides a dashboard to track the number of visitors to a company’s partnership page. Shopify, on the other hand, asks the partner to install Google Analytics to track visitors. 

If the marketplace provides no analytics, a partner can use their own Google Analytics account to see how many people are coming from their partnership page in the marketplace. In addition, a company can use the Google Search Console or other search tool to see if people are arriving at the website by searching for the integration. Finally, sometimes the team at the marketplace will directly refer leads, and this can be tracked through the sales team or a PRM.

Generating New Customers

This has two major components. One is to track people arriving from the partnership page or from a search on the integration and see whether this traffic is converting into customers. Google Analytics or a similar tool can track these conversions. If they do not sign up immediately, using a tool like Leadfeeder to track what companies are visiting the page from the marketplace and noting if the company later converts can help keep track of people who visited the website, left, and returned later to convert.  

Surveying new customers as to where they found out about the company is another way to track conversions from the marketplace.

A second component is to track the integration’s importance in the sales funnel. This can be tracked by asking the sales team to note when it’s mentioned as a need-to-have or when customer surveys indicate the customer would not have signed on the dotted line without the particular integration.

Finally, an integration release may cause a spike in the number of customers that cannot be explicitly tracked to the integration but is highly suggestive of generating new customers. This can also be compared to the number of installs of the integration in the same time period to gauge customers’ interest level in the integration.

Reduce Customer Churn

This can be tracked on a broad level by noting if the integration release caused a dip in customer churn over time. More specifically, surveying customers to find out how important the integration is to their product experience and monitoring review sites for mentions of the integration can help illuminate this metric. Tracking installs and usage will also provide insight, as the more it is being used, the more likely it is improving retention.

In addition, tracking a group of users who are using the integration and those who are not who signed on at the same time and comparing their churn rate can further illustrate the effect.

Increase Customer Advocacy

This can be tracked by monitoring review sites and social media for mentions of the integration in positive reviews, as well as if there is a spike in referrals by customers that are tied to the integration. Feedback from customer surveys and customer advisory boards can also help to see if the integration has increased customer loyalty.

Increase Customer Upsells

This can be tracked by customer surveys and by gathering feedback from the customer success team on whether the integration impacted the usage of the product and whether customers moved to a higher tier as a result. In some cases, integrations are only available on a higher tier, and a company can track any movement of customers to those plans after the release.

Reduce Time Spent on Customer Support

This requires assessing how much time the customer support, solutions, and customer success teams were spending fielding questions or implementing workarounds for the integration. For example, if an email marketing automation platform integrated with Salesforce, these teams can assess, prior to the integration, how much time they were spending answering questions and helping customers to integrate their email campaigns and lists with their Salesforce data.

Increase Brand Equity

The best way to gauge an increase in brand equity is by tracking positive mentions of the integration in press releases, media, blogs, social media, and other company websites. In addition, in customer and public surveys, try to ascertain the overall brand impression and whether it was affected by the integration. 

Often, integrating with an established and well-known company like Salesforce, BigCommerce, or Box can make a partner’s brand seem more credible and established. One way to ascertain this effect is to see if leads converted at a higher rate if they were exposed to the integration (say by visiting the integration page), even if they were not a user of the integration.            

Tracking the ROI on Building an In-App Marketplace

Measuring the value of building an in-app marketplace requires many of the same tools and processes as measuring the value of entering another company’s marketplace. However, because the marketplace lives in a company’s app, it can be easier to track activity and conversions. 

Generating Leads

Tracking leads that come in due to the marketplace starts with using Google Analytics or other tracking tool to see how much new traffic is entering the website from the marketplace page, particularly the integration page, or by searching for an integration on a search engine. A company should also track traffic that comes from their partners’ websites, media, or social media mentions of the marketplace. In addition, direct referrals from tech partners should be tracked through sales or a PRM platform.

Generating New Customers

This requires tracking people who arrive on the marketplace or specific integration page or from a search on the integration or media mention of the marketplace and see whether this traffic is converting into customers. Google Analytics or a similar tool can track these conversions. If they do not sign up immediately, using a tool like Leadfeeder to track what companies are visiting the page from the marketplace and noting if the company later converts can help keep track of people who visited the website, left, and returned later to convert.  

Surveying new customers about where they found out about the company is another way to validate conversions from the marketplace. In addition, track the conversions on tech partners’ referrals. 

A second component is to track the marketplace’s importance in the sales funnel. This can be tracked by asking the sales team to note when it’s mentioned as a need-to-have or when customer surveys indicate the customer would not have signed on the dotted line without the marketplace.

Finally, the marketplace release may cause a spike in the number of customers that cannot be explicitly tracked to specific mentions or pages but is highly suggestive of generating new customers. This can also be compared to the number of installs of the integration in the same time period.

Reduce Customer Churn

This can be tracked on a broad level by noting if the marketplace release caused a significant dip in customer churn over time. More specifically, surveying customers to find out how important the marketplace is to their product experience and monitoring review sites for mentions of the integration can help illuminate this metric. 

Tracking installs and usage from the integrations in the marketplace will also provide insight, as the more the integrations customers are actively using, the more likely the marketplace is improving retention. In addition, noting whether integrations to particularly sticky products, like CRMs or ERPs, are being used are suggestive of an impact on retention. Tools like Amplitude can help track integration and product usage.

Comparing cohorts of users who started at the same time who are using the marketplace or not using the marketplace can also inform the churn rate.

Increase Customer Advocacy

This can be tracked by monitoring review sites and social media for mentions of the marketplace in positive reviews, as well as if there is a spike in referrals by customers that are tied to the marketplace. Feedback from customer surveys and customer advisory boards can also help to see if the marketplace has increased customer loyalty.

Increase Customer Upsells

This can be tracked by customer surveys and by gathering feedback from the customer success team on whether the marketplace impacted the usage of the product and whether customers moved to a higher tier as a result. In some cases, integrations are only available on a higher tier, and a company can track any movement of customers to those plans after the release.

Reduce Time Spent on Customer Support

This requires assessing how much time the customer support, solutions, and customer success teams were spending fielding questions or implementing workarounds for all the integrations in the marketplace. For example, an email marketing automation platform company integrated can assess, prior to the marketplace release, how much time they were spending answering questions and helping customers to integrate their platform with other software. 

Increase Brand Equity

Gauge brand equity increase by tracking positive mentions of the marketplace in press releases, media, blogs, social media, and other company websites. In addition, in customer and public surveys, try to ascertain the brand impression and whether it was affected by the marketplace. Offering a marketplace with multiple integrations can significantly improve the brand’s credibility and positive impression. One way to ascertain this effect is to see if leads converted at a higher rate if they were exposed to the marketplace (say by visiting the marketplace page), even if they were not a user of the marketplace.   

Tracking the ROI on a tech partner program is key to optimizing the program, incentivizing the right alliances, and ensuring that the company at large understands its value. By implementing tracking, it is significantly easier to persuade company leadership and the many teams involved in making tech partnerships a success that they are a worthwhile investment.

LATEST POSTS

STAY UPDATED

Get partnership insights and all our new posts delivered to your inbox

Download the Guide for In-App Integrations 

Download the Definitive Report on Integrations

Recent Comments

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    © 2020 All Rights Reserved