What is a partner network?
A partner network, also called a partner program or partner ecosystem, is like a team of different companies who decide to work together. These companies can be the ones who make products, like a manufacturer, and the ones who sell those products, like a reseller or wholesaler. Or it can include the original producer, like a software company, and the partners who help implement or support their technology for customers.
To illustrate, let’s say you’re a SaaS company that offers a project management tool. Your partner network might include:
- Software resellers who sell your project management tool to their clients
- Tech consultants who integrate your tool into their overall IT solutions for clients
- Independent software vendors that develop additional competencies for your product
- Value-added wholesalers who both sell your solution and offer support services
- Bloggers or influencers who promote your tool to their followers and earn a referral commission for each new subscriber they bring in
Your partner network can act as an extension of your sales team, reaching customers that might be hard for you to reach directly. These relationships are mutually beneficial, helping your business expand its reach while providing your partners with valuable products or services to offer their customers.
Robust partner networks can be a game-changer, as they allow companies to grow faster together through their combined efforts. Take Microsoft as an example. The company found that partners in their network generated $984 billion in revenue from Microsoft technology. By 2024, they predicted the figure to grow to $1.2 trillion, with a partner revenue of $10.04 for every $1 of Microsoft revenue.
Managing a partner network requires clear communication, consistent support, and fair incentives to ensure all parties stay motivated and aligned with your business objectives. However, a thriving partner network can be the driving force behind incredible and sustainable business growth.