As a graduate of Y-Combinator, PartnerStack has been rooted in helping some of the world’s fastest growing SaaS companies scale. Companies like Asana, Monday.com, Unbounce, Intercom, and Intuit all use PartnerStack to manage and scale their partner programs, and onboard thousands of partners into our platform.
There are a few unique aspects to PartnerStack, which has led us to becoming the #1 platform on G2.
PartnerStack is the only solution that has both the PRM and a B2B focused marketplace that connects vendors with partners. On average, our marketplace drives a 30%+ lift in revenue for customers.
We are extremely focused on partner experience, which is a big distinction for us. Most PRMs are focused solely on the vendor experience. But if both sides of this equation are not having a good experience, then it becomes a problem.
And with PartnerStack, all of your channels can be managed from a single platform - affiliate, referral, reseller and ambassador. We see a lot of companies, agencies, and resellers choosing our platform to help them consolidate their channels into a single view.
How is your partnership team structured at PartnerStack?
Our team is still relatively young, as we launched it in April. The majority of this year has been building relationships and working with both agencies and resellers.
I lead the team, and we have an incredible Account Manager that works closely with our partners, as well as a partner marketing manager that works on any co-marketing efforts we run with partners.
Our partnership team is currently focused on two core areas:
We often work with sales when one of their SaaS prospects wants to launch PartnerStack right away but doesn’t have the internal bandwidth. In those cases, we connect them with an agency partner who we know can do it right away and do it well.
Technology partnerships are also on our radar. We have recently built a number of integrations. One of our goals in 2021 and going into 2022 will be to further build out our technology partner program and our own integration marketplace.
We also plan to enter the app marketplaces of other SaaS vendors, especially CRMs like SugarCRM or Hubspot. CRMs are good partners for us because, with the exception of Salesforce, no CRM has a PRM as part of their product offering. So our software is complementary rather than competitive. And it benefits our customers to have those systems integrated.
“If you’re planning to scale your partnerships at all, you need the infrastructure in place to do this.”
<center>- Nikita Zhitkevich<center></center></center>
What advice would you give for organizations trying to think through who their ideal partners are?
Ultimately, everything has to come down to revenue. Whether you’re pursuing referral, reseller, or technology partnerships, you have to tie them back to driving revenue.
Especially since you need the support of other departments in your organization, whether it is collaboration with the sales team or the product team to help build integrations, the benefit to the business needs to be very clear.
For agency and reseller partners, I would advise looking to see if they power similar products to yours. I’d also think about whether the partner will continue to evolve over time in the direction you are going and whether they truly understand your product and space.
This conversation is transcribed from our podcast Between Product and Partnerships, a podcast brought to you by our group the SaaS Ecosystem Alliance. It’s focused on bringing together product, partnerships, partner marketing and engineering leaders to discuss how to build support and scale SaaS ecosystems. If you're interested in watching or listening in on this conversation, you can access the video here and a link to listen on podcast platforms here.
Rish Bhandari is the Founder, and CEO of Content Beta, a content studio for B2B SaaS companies. In this interview with Liz Garcia, the Community Manager of the SaaS Ecosystem Alliance, Rish shares:
Rish: Thanks for having me on the podcast. I’m with Content Beta, we are a media studio for B2B SaaS. We work with close to 80 SaaS companies now to help them with content for product marketing and customer education.
This includes things like videos, podcasts, designs; we enable B2B SaaS companies with on to product marketing and customer education. The most common problems SaaS marketers come to us with are things like, “Hey, our product is great. But how do I communicate that to the audience?” or “We just launched an integration? How do I launch this? What kind of content do I use? What is my point? Why is this one stage fun?”
But before we jump into those, what questions you have for me?
Rish: When it comes to Content and SEO, nobody really needs education on how valuable they are. Most SaaS companies will agree that the earlier you invest the better. Now content has multiple mediums.
It could be audio like you’re recording right now, it could be text in the form of a blog, which can generate more organic traffic, and videos, which are getting more attention from Google searches these days.
Those are the types of mediums through which we can think about content. Now in the world of the software industry where you’re creating a product from scratch, I think you will see tons of other options on on AppSumo or SaaS Mantra where people copy somebody else's product, even maybe the user interface directly, but what you can't copy is the way they acquire users, the way they onboard users and the way they get them them adopt the product. Content plays one of the key roles in this area.
"What you can't copy is the way they acquire users, the way they onboard users and the way they get them them adopt the product. Content plays one of the key roles in this area."
In the world of scarce attention spans, where people no longer want to read long-form content with long-form blogs or long-form videos, short-form content is picking up pace. Non-textual content, which is more visual content, is definitely more engaging and more effective.
It also adds more trust to your own brand as compared to just text. Decision-making for SaaS is no longer around features. If I'm trying to adopt a SaaS or make a purchasing decision for SaaS, my focus is more around the overall experience and how to support it as a customer. When I see a lot of self-serve content, I'm excited about the likelihood that a particular software could work.
Rish: Big companies have their own in-house team. A lot of mid-scale companies would go to an agency. At startups, where you may not have a budget, a great way to start with your content marketing video content marketing is using Loom. If you're a founder, just see which of your blogs are performing and create video content around that with really cool advice or something more tactical than what you have written in the blog and publish it on YouTube.
YouTube will give you more visits to your blog with a video. Better than just a textual blog. Your video will rank higher than your blog. That's one way on the marketing side.
On the “how to” side, the most common example is creating new how to videos. Even if you’re not an instructor or a teacher, my advice is just write down a script. Although the product is in your head, when you write it down, it's clear in terms of how you should sequence your ideas or your dialogue to make sure your goal is met, and the video is effective.
Starting with Loom is pretty good. I increasingly see where people are paying attention to the production part, so invest in a good microphone and in a location where there's no background noise. There are lots of apps like Krisp AI, which will mute your background sound.
Invest in tools and technologies that improve your production quality, because in this world, how many videos are being uploaded on YouTube, every second? Your content will be lost if your content quality is substandard, your audience won't respect it. They have something else to watch instead of this crappy quality content. Invest in tools that lead to good production quality.
Liz: Let’s dig a little bit into what you were talking about, as far as content being a vessel to get customers to engage and adopt a product. I listened to your interview with Benjamin Bowman, where you talked about how video marketing in the middle of the funnel is a gap that you noticed.
Rish: The problem I see with B2B SaaS content marketing today is mostly their focus on top of the funnel. Stellar videos, which are mostly animated, with really good production quality. But the goal of top of the funnel content is only to make your prospect interested in what you do. The goal of top of the funnel content is never to support your research or support your decision-making process.
"There's a big gap in content marketing that I see in the middle and at the bottom of the funnel, and even after customer conversion."
For instance, if I'm a SaaS and I want to engage my audience in the middle and bottom of the funnel, what I would do is showcase different use cases and different features. I would even get more social proof that my customers using it, either they have switched from some other other software, or maybe they were using an entirely different method before they met our product. Social proof and use case features are pretty important features, more so than numbers.
Moreover, the funnel after conversion transitions to more “how to” content.
What I typically see on the internet is a Loom video recorded by the founders or the customer success leaders and no attention is paid to social design. Telling about a product and teaching about a product are two separate things. The content for teaching is different from the content about just telling. Those are the two areas where I see there is enough scope for SaaS marketers or SaaS product managers to scale their content so that they could convert and retain their customers.
Liz: Yeah, 100%, that's really great advice. I recently saw this survey by Gartner stating 77% of B2B SaaS buyers said that their latest purchase was difficult or complex. That type of content, especially in the middle of the funnel makes it easier for buyers to make decisions without necessarily having to request a demo or speak with you face-to-face every single time that they're thinking about making a decision on your product.
You mentioned some examples of different content that you could create in the middle and the bottom towards the bottom of the funnel.
Rish: There is no one promotion channel that will work for you because there are different audiences. It’s similar to how students learn: some favor auditory learning, others understand by reading, someone else understands by watching. My suggestion would be to be present on every medium and on every channel because you don't know where you are and how your customers are going to react.
If you've already spotted a trend maybe you could use it; if you see that, for example, your customers are mostly researching on social media or they are using a YouTube review, be there.
Generally speaking, I think you need to have a presence on different channels. I'm not saying you have to create different content pieces for different channels. You can repurpose the same content and make it suitable for that particular channel. Let's say you've recorded this podcast. Now, you can publish this video recording on YouTube. You can extract audio out of it, mix it with some intro and outro, and make a podcast on Spotify or Apple podcast.
You could create clips of this conversation and put it up on social media in 30 or 60 second clips. You can transcribe this podcast and convert it into a blog indexed by Google search engine and people could find it if they have specific questions.
There are multiple ways you could repurpose your existing content so you’re present everywhere on each of the channels. In terms of what I see picking up in terms of content type, that would be content that involves social proof.
Elements like testimonial videos, customer videos, or partner videos. The advantage is that, as a company, I could say something in 10,000 words, but if a customer says the same thing in a few words, that's far more valuable than a company saying it. Everybody knows the best marketing is social proof. There is no better social proof than the real face and voice of your customer, if you can somehow capture your customer’s conversation with a focus on storytelling.
"The advantage is that, as a company, I could say something in 10,000 words, but if a customer says the same thing in a few words, that's far more valuable than a company saying it."
For example, if you switch from a competitor, if you have demonstrated a use case for your audience, or if you could record a conversation with a client who almost was not going to convert, maybe they had lots of objections initially. You can mix them together to create social proof content for your product, which could be used in the middle and bottom of the funnel.
Liz: That's great advice. Testimonial content can obviously be leveraged as video content and potentially a case study anywhere.
Rish: You could use a long form PDF. Normally, I would recommend avoiding that because in this world, nobody wants to read a four page PDF. There are videos, you can slice the same conversation into short text, you can use them on your video ads on social media, or even published on your company's social media profile.
You can even make graphics out of it and publish it everywhere. If you have like 10 testimonial videos, you could even create a mashup to show the benefit of your product or maybe a product demo which is complemented with social proof.
There are multiple places you could use social media video testimonials. One more use is during prospecting, especially when somebody is aggrieved for a conversation or a call, and they have hesitation about joining in or maybe they're busy. You can use social proof to entice them to talk to you about the product.
Liz: Those are great examples. I actually saw a social post on LinkedIn recently where someone pointed out a SaaS company called Dooly.ai. They use their testimonials in a really unique way. Instead of going straight to their landing with a random image on their banner, they actually use the customer's testimonial with their face. As potential customers go to the website, an existing customer's testimonial is one of the first things that they see.
It’s a great way to have customer testimonials front and center. That was something that I saw that was really unique.
Rish: In terms of content when I was watching webinars yesterday, and I found this very interesting. It's 10 times more effective to motivate your audience to try you out versus removing the barriers. The way you present your value proposition, your benefits, even your website copy, and the way you use messaging to motivate your audience to try out I think that that makes a difference, not making a better UX or making better website.
Liz: 100%. To pivot specifically to talking about marketing around technology, partnerships, and integrations. The tech stacks of our B2B customers are getting more complex. They're now expecting software to be interoperable with each other and because of technology partnerships, amongst many of other things, are starting to be seen as a go-to-market channel as well. In particular, it's a way to get in front of your partners, customers, and prospects that are in your ICP.
Rish: In terms of technology integrations to put it into perspective, either you're an ecosystem, for example, you are Shopify, or Salesforce, or HubSpot, where you integrate with 1000s of other apps; or you could be a technical product, who can integrate with Hubspot or Salesforce. The way content is used for both of them are different.
For instance, if I'm a micro SaaS that integrated with Shopify, Klaviyo, or HubSpot. The way my ICP will discover me is through their app store, most likely the ecosystem app store. The way I make myself visible is by showing how easy I am to integrate with, or the benefit I'll give you after we integrate.
The content is mostly around how to do something with this app. It's more a technical how to. That's the kind of content which works in the space where you want to be known as a cool app to integrate with my existing tech stack.
If I'm an ecosystem, let's say I'm Shopify. In terms of my content marketing, I will show different use cases, because I'm not trying to capture a new audience. I'm trying to sell to my existing audience. For example, you could also see which B2B brands have visited your website, and not just the country and the time duration. That's the kind of difference in content.
Liz: I’m glad you brought up app marketplaces. These could be either public or an app, they’re also a great channel for marketing integrations and getting your product in front of tech partners or new customers. We actually recently released a study where 86% of the 100 largest SaaS companies had at least public facing marketplaces.
We're noticing that SaaS companies are recognizing the importance of integrations to potential customers and also their current customers. The type of content that you mentioned, as far as use cases and demonstrating how to actually use the products together is super important for that enablement and also showing that these products are connected.
That was the last of my questions, Rish. Thank you for being with us today and sharing with our audience is there anywhere where our audience can connect with you?LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Rish: Find me as Rish Bhandari on LinkedIn or you could reach out to contentbeta.com We could help you in your next video.
If you enjoyed this interview, check out our Youtube channel and subscribe for more content on all things technology partnerships, APIs, and integrations. If you're someone who is working on building and scaling SaaS product partnerships, we invite you to apply to be a member of our community and network with other leaders like Rish at SaaSecosystemalliance.com.