‘Two is better than one’: How Technology Partnerships bolster SaaS organizations

Technology partnerships in SaaS have skyrocketed in the last few years, with major enterprises partnering up with the intensity of a bun fight.

The reason is obvious.

As a product of multiple iterations and disruptions, the SaaS industry today is highly competitive owing to its low entry barriers. And paired with the endless supply of free tools available online, it is a tall task for any SaaS organization—big or small, enterprise-level or starting out—to build an organic product suite that can fulfil the entire spectrum of customer needs. No wonder that the customer acquisition cost (CAC), which is the cost of getting a customer to purchase a product or service, has reached an all-time high. 

Luckily, efficient organizations—who are aware of the current issues—are increasingly turning to technology partners to help with the heavy lifting. These partnerships usually happen  between technology vendors and companies who use their systems in everyday operations. They have helped organizations implement and optimize their technical systems to reach maximum number of customers.

Technology partnerships enable integration

Technology partnerships thrive on software integrations. They have helped uncommon bedfellows snuggle up to build better, more intuitive and integrated products and solutions.

This approach is unique because with tech partnerships, you are selling solutions instead of merely pushing products. It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved. Using these integrated solutions, organizations have seen a huge dip in the shortening of the sales cycle, costs per lead (CPL), and churn.

 [Tip: For technology partnerships to fly, organizations must update their marketing messages to highlight the joint value proposition with the focus on the power of the joint solution]

 Technology partnerships shorten the sales cycle

The sales cycle underlines the process that companies undergo when selling a product to a customer. As such, it encompasses all the varied activities that are associated with closing a sale.

The longer the sales cycle, the more expenses it incurs—this is common knowledge. Helping the sales team with a shorter and more efficient sales cycle can reduce the cost of acquiring and onboarding a customer. If someone asked me, How can an organization achieve that using a tech partnership strategy? My answer would be: By selling an integrated solution that delights customers and not directly pushing a product. 

Technology partnerships enable companies to shorten the sales cycle with better, more integrated products and solutions—giving a nod to product-led growth approaches. The industry is rife with instances of products that have vastly benefitted from a radical change to its value proposition, bolstered by a technology partner with integrated features. The benefit is not only in terms of value but of reach: when a technology partnership gives your products a boost, it reaches more customers.

The sales cycle pedals on a lot of moving parts—and expenses. If armed with product integrations by way of technology partnerships, companies can get quick access to industry-leading technology. And the result is not surprising: data clocks a significant reduction in the product’s development time, and a significant drop in overall costs.

 “What does this mean to the overall cost of acquiring and onboarding a customer?” I was asked in a podcast a few days ago.

 To answer their question: Technology partnerships, bolstered with  product integrations, can help reduce the overall cost of acquiring and onboarding a customer. They help shorten the development cycle, reach erstwhile untapped customers, and reduce customer acquisition costs. The time saved in onboarding a new customer can be used to onboard a new technology partner. This will result in a many-fold increase in actual sales volume because technology partner relationships are not short-term or one-off deals; they are meant to be a recurring revenue stream. 

We have prided itself for staying ahead of the competition, growing our customer base, and delighting them for life. And technology partnerships have allowed us to accomplish these goals by filling the right product gaps and solutions asked by customers or prospects, working on joint GTM with partners, thereby reducing marketing spend and closing deals faster with direct customer introductions, and reducing churn by increasing adoption of joint solutions. In less than 4 years, Freshworks was able to scale to 1000+ apps built by 400+ partners, offering delighted customers a wide range of solutions to choose from.

Technology partnership tiering

 When considering establishing a technology partnership, it’s of paramount importance that both parties need to take considerable time to fully analyze the potential partner and evaluate the advantages and disruptions that may arise as a result of the partnership. 

Great partnerships are built on three important foundational elements: mutual trust, mutual need, and a vision for a long-term relationship. An organization can only be successful if these foundational elements are supported by the technological alignment.

Partnerships come in many forms, but these top 3 partner tiers will help you choose the right partner for your organization.

Strategic partnerships: Partners that enable you to grow in their ecosystem, given their massive popularity, sustained success, and durable products on offer. Tapping into their considerable customer base presents a huge opportunity of upscaling your company. 

Technology partnerships: Partners who are similar or better than you and fill product gaps that operate within the same ecosystem. The mutual benefits these partners offer to each other go way beyond just sharing more features and capabilities.

Long-tail partnerships: They are low-touch, high potential partners who will grow in your ecosystem. While many companies make the mistake of seeing these partners as disengaged or disinterested—and therefore not worth their time—leading organizations in SaaS have seen immense value in these partners. If these partners are nurtured long enough and in the right manner, you can maximize their output while minimizing the time and cost spent trying to engage them. 

 Your marketplace engine runs on many moving gears. All these three partnership tiers can come in handy to keep the engine oiled. Done right, the benefits are manifold: an improved machine that can be exponentially scalable while yielding a lower cost of customer acquisition (CAC) and improving customer retention,

Concluding notes

 I’m sure many of you have heard this phrase, “Two is better than one.” In a nutshell, that is what technology partnership is all about.

The era of monolithic legacy software in the SaaS industry has come to an end. To keep up with the changing times, companies have already been trying to integrate technology partnerships in their go-to-market strategy for quite some time now. Some of these big gun initiatives include using a variety of partner programs, solution integrations, and other methods to expand their customer reach. In my next blog, I’ll be focusing on how technology partnerships help companies reduce costs per lead and improve customer retention. So if you are looking to reach new customers and foray into new markets, then keep your eyes peeled. A great technology partnership opportunity might be right around the corner!


About the author

Scindia Balasingh is Head of Global Technology Partnerships Marketing at Freshworks. Among her many achievements include the prestigious Women Super Achiever award from World Women Leadership Congress, recognition as one of the Top 20 Women Catalysts in Indian IT ecosystem by SME Channels, and the Tech Marketer 2021 award by CXOTV. She also hosts the popular MOV podcast series, LeadHERs that shines the spotlight on women leaders.

Cover image: Vignesh Rajan