strategic partnerships saas

A Beginner’s Guide to Strategic Partnerships for SaaS and Startups

Two or three new customers is pretty cool, but two or three hundred new customers in one day, is freaking awesome. It’s the thing you dream about. It’s the thing that lets a founder quit his or her day job. It’s the sort of growth hack that gets you promoted. But the real mind-blowing part is that it’s not that hard to actually do. You just need to find the right strategic partner to do a cross promotion with, who doesn’t compete, and shares the exact same target market as you do.

Let me explain a little more.

What’s a Strategic Partnership?

A strategic partnership is when two or more SaaS companies partner up and work together to grow their business because they share the same target market and don’t compete with each other.

What’s a Cross Promotion?

One typical type of strategic partnership is a cross-promotion, where two companies who share the same target market and don’t compete, agree to offer each other’s customers an exclusive discount.

For example, let’s says Company A has 50K email subscribers and Company B has 42K email subscribers. Both companies have similar target markets, and they don’t compete. Company A might offer to email their subscribers an exclusive promotion for Company B, if Company B does the same. if done right, both companies could grow in waves overnight.

The above example, is just the tip of the strategic partnership iceberg. There are so many other ways to grow together overnight. Here are a few examples.

  • Include offers during each other’s onboarding
  • Find a way to integrate your apps
  • Include offers on the thank you page after signing up
  • Start small, with a simple guest post
  • Swap posts on each other’s Facebook Page

How do I find the right strategic partners?

Again, if done right, you can grow your SaaS, startup or app can result by 100’s of new customers, overnight. You just need to find the right partner. But how do you find the right strategic partner? Here are a few examples.

  • Use a cross promotion tool like PromoMeet to find a strategic partners.
  • Survey your customers to ask what other apps they use.
  • Reach out to 3rd party apps you integrate with.
  • Survey your customers to ask what groups or forums they belong to.
  • Survey your customers to ask what blogs they read.

A free email template for contacting a strategic partner

Founders get a hundreds of emails a day, and most of the time it’s spam. So be honest, keep it short, and lead with how you can benefit them. Here’s a simple template that I’d start with.

Subject: Vanessa, we have the same target market…

Body:
Vanessa,

We have 50,000 email subscribers who would love to know more about [YOUR PRODUCT].
I’m the founder of [XYZ COMPANY]. Our businesses don’t compete so maybe we could figure out a way to cross promote our products and grow together.

Any interest?

Sandra H.

Strategic Partnership Contract

My best advice is to keep it simple at first. The more legal jargon the less likely a partnership will happen. Start small, see how your personalities work together, then do more. Oh, didn’t I mention this? This isn’t a one time thing. A strategic partnership can last for years which means you share your market reach and grow together for years.

Examples of SaaS Strategic Partnership:

Google Maps and Uber
When was the last time you searched Google Maps for directions? Well, you may have noticed that once you have your direction, Google can request an Uber for you. That’s a strategic partnership between to businesses that have the same target market, and a big one.

Yelp and GoFundMe
Yelp recently partnered with GoFundMe to add donate buttons on Yelp business profile pages. This was in response to massive amounts our restaurants and store impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. It’s a win, win, win. Small business are helped with donations, while millions Yelp and GoFundMe customers learn about each other’s businesses.

Final thoughts

This could be a huge growth hack for your business. Put some time aside each week, maybe an hour or two, and focus on growing with your strategic partners. Start with the obvious potential partners to cross promote with. You probably know who they are already. Then start surveying your customers, and think about trying a platform to automatically connect you with strategic partners, like PromoMeet.

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