Partnerships are powerful.
At the same time, forging successful independent software vendor (ISV) partnerships can sometimes appear complex for value-added resellers (VAR). Not only should their ISV partners provide value to the customers, but the right partner can also fill critical revenue needs.
A full-service ISV partner program provides the resources and customer service to help both the reseller and the ISV gain more customers and accelerate their sales. Successful partnerships create a seamless customer interaction infrastructure by leveraging each other's products and marketing teams.
A great example of partnering is Microsoft’s vast ISV partner program, Microsoft Appsource. In 2019 alone, partners enjoyed a
In other words, ISV partnerships are an easy way to scale a business's product or service without in-house development.
But the margins need to make sense for both parties. After all, these partnerships are about growth.
The advantages of ISV partnerships over other programs
There are other types of partnerships available to organizations, each with its own pros and cons. In particular, outside of ISVs, there are Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Payment Partners, and Software Investors.
ISVs are an option somewhere in the middle. Similar to an OEM, the reseller can overlay their partner's product with their solution. But OEM partnerships are generally reserved for extremely high volume clients, and it's impossible to grow without high costs. ISVs are also not limited to payment partners and do not take equity.
Furthermore, ISVs are more about sales and expansion than product building. Adding a trusted partner's product or service to your stack will improve an organization's capabilities. However, they also bring the resources and clout for attracting additional customers.
The investment, then, is not only in the product. It’s in the target audience.
When looking at ISV partnerships through this lens, it's essential to understand the responsibilities of each party.
ISVs should provide:
- Free or lost-cost use of the product
- Full integration
- Support other common third-party applications
- Clear fee structures
- Comprehensive customer support
- Flexible training sessions
- Sales support and guidelines
The only responsibility for resellers is to sell or promote the product.
Integrating partnerships into your strategy
When bringing ISV partners into the fold, three critical aspects of operations will be affected: sales, marketing, and customer support.
A dynamic and robust partnership will do two things that encourage sales. First, the customer will build trust with your brand since they already associate it with a familiar business. But in addition to this, a solid partner should showcase your product and market it with you. That extra boost will give your business more visibility and drive sales.
In terms of marketing, an organization will need to undergo initial training and review of its ISV partner's assets. It will also be important to understand how the new partner relates to the company’s existing messaging framework. After all, the business will now be promoting and actively selling its ISV partner's product.
Equally as important is the ISV partner's customer support network. For example, if company A promotes their partner, company B, and a customer has a negative experience with company B's support, it won't just affect the partner. The customer will remember who suggested company B in the first place. In other words, a poor choice in a partner can reflect poorly on the reseller.
It's critical to vet their customer support team ahead of time to ensure that a partner is a business accelerant and not a liability.
Once an organization finds a partner that can assist in marketing and provide stellar customer service, the two companies can likely turbocharge their sales.
Leveraging the power of partnerships
Finding an ISV partner can help organizations take their company to the next level in business development and growth.
As the marketplace becomes more saturated with potential partnerships, finding the right partner can be more difficult. ISV partnerships are expanding rapidly. At the same time, an easy-to-integrate partnership program that provides robust support and solid margins can provide a competitive advantage.