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Your SaaS partnership checklist: How to find the perfect match when growing your business

Many SaaS businesses must rely on partnerships to grow revenue, expand market reach, acquire new customers, or offer implementation and service around their product. This article is written for you who struggle to get it right. Many are.

A strong connection with who you’ll be working with, is a given. But when you’re looking for a technology and product partner or solution and implementation partner, what else do you have to consider to ensure the right fit? 

Whether you want to expand into new geographies or improve your product portfolio, a well-chosen technology or implementation partner can be a big benefit to a high-growth strategy. 

But it’s not a simple case of picking a partner that you think will most benefit your business. First and foremost, it has to be an equitable partnership. If there’s no give and take, there won’t be an actively rewarding relationship.

It’s therefore easy to see why 60-65% of strategic partnerships fail. It all starts with who you’re partnering with, and making sure you’ll both benefit from the arrangement. 

Do your due diligence at the start and you could see some big benefits. At a time when 96% of B2B leaders expect to increase revenue directly attributed to their partnership ecosystem, the stakes are high. So, it’s a good thing we’ve done the legwork for you. (We’ve even written an entire eBook about successful partnerships).

Thanks to the help of our experts, this blog details everything you need to be sure of before you take the plunge with a new partner. Tick off this list, and you’re on safe ground. 

Here’s what you need for the perfect match.

Let’s dive in.

Make sure your offers complement each other

Once you’ve established you’re a good fit with your prospective partner, this is the most important consideration. If you’re looking for a technology partnership, it’ll be worth very little if it doesn’t improve the core business of each company. Why? Because the combination of the two businesses should make each of their solutions stronger by integrating it into a more comprehensive solution.

If you’re hoping an implementation partner will boost your business, it should be mutually beneficial. You’ll gain access to a new market or customer base, and your partner can use your product as a base layer and build a consultancy service around your product.

If there’s no intrinsic value of the partnership to your partner’s business, they won’t strive for success and you won’t see results. 

“At Episerver we had a great product and were experts at building software platforms, but we couldn’t build great e-commerce websites the way our partner could. Our partnership allowed us to develop one, which was a crucial part of the customer experience”.  – Gustav Lagercrantz, CEO, Monterro

Find an equitable approach from both sides

An equitable approach is a very close second on the checklist. Your businesses should not only complement each other, but the proposed partnership should be equally rewarding. 45% of executives agree this is the biggest challenge when it comes to partnerships. So don’t overlook it. 

It’s vital you put yourself in the shoes of the other business. A kickback isn’t enough of a motivation for your partner to push your business growth up a gear. The real motivator is if the arrangement benefits your partner’s business just as much as your own. 

So, make sure you think about the following: 

  • How will partnering with us help them? 
  • How will the combination of customer bases and products make you both more successful? 
  • How invested are you? 

“Many companies say, ‘I want a partner to sell my product in their region and that’ll make everyone a lot of money’. But they forget to ask ‘why would all these partners want to do that?’. Giving a business a kickback isn’t enough, a partnership should strengthen their core business”.  Heine Krog Iversen, Founder and CEO, TimeXtender

Choose a partner with a strong foothold in their market

Now you know you’re both sufficiently motivated for a good outcome, it’s time to work out if that’s actually achievable.

If your goal is expansion into a new geography or vertical, make sure your new partner can meet expectations. A good partnership should help you ‘act local’ and be your guide to new locations. 

This won’t be possible if they’re still learning to navigate that market. So make sure there aren’t too many knowledge gaps that will hamper a successful expansion. Think about the following:

  • Do they understand the local culture, language and customs? 
  • Do they have a grasp on any competitors? 
  • How much influence do they have in the region you’re aiming for?

While it’s a collaborative process, you still need a good mix of expert and local know-how to get off the ground. 

Gain internal buy-in

Good partnerships are a long-term investment, not a quick win. The true value of them often comes later down the line. Without internal backing for this slower strategy, your partnership is likely to fail. 

That makes getting the buy-in of key decision makers in your organisation (such as your CEO) crucial. How? Tailor your partnership pitch to the person you’re selling it to and show them the big picture and long-term pay off. Make sure you’re open about potential pitfalls and show you’ve done your homework to address them. Hey, this checklist is a great place to start.

Key takeaways:

  • DON’T FORGET THE PERFECT FIT –  It’s not just about a feeling, a great partnership starts with complementary offerings. 
  • MUTUAL BENEFIT MAKES FOR MUTUAL GROWTH – The key to success is a partnership that equally strengthens the core of both businesses.  
  • FIND YOUR LOCAL EXPERT –  If you’re expanding into new geographies, find a business who’s been there, done that. 
  • DON’T SPOOK YOUR CEO – A solid partnership needs buy-in from the top. Make your case for long-term pay off.

We’re Monterro, an investment firm (of the get-your-hands-dirty with strategy and operational support variety) that helps Nordic software companies hit their biggest growth goals. 

If that’s you: let’s talk.