Cannibalism (also called product or market cannibalism) occurs when a product released by a company competes for market share with an existing product of theirs. The new product "eats" demand for the old, reducing sales and profit of their existing product. Some amount of product cannibalism is expected with new product launches, and companies normally consider the financial risks and rewards of releasing new products carefully.
Cannibalism can result in overall positive or negative effects on a company's bottom line, and can be either intentional or unintentional. When it's intentional, it's referred to as a cannibalisation strategy.
Example: Leo's team released a new file sharing software, but it soon became apparent that the demand for their other file sharing softwares was plummeting in favor of the new release. They'd caused cannibalism by putting out a product that ate up demand for their other products.
Certifications are acknowledgements granted to partners for achieving certain milestones. Usually, they acknowledge that a partner has completed product training and is now qualified to represent the company as a partner. They are most often earned as a part of the onboarding process, wherein the partner must learn about the vendor's product to a degree that allows them to comfortably sell/market/share it. Certifications are usually earned early on in the partner journey, but they can also be earned again after product updates or new releases that require subsequent training.
Example: Luke had received his initial product certification on behalf of his partner program shortly after joining Vento's referral program, but a significant update to the main product offering meant he'd be earning an updated certification to make sure he still knew his stuff.
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A business initiative that drives revenue through established distribution partnerships rather than direct sales and marketing. Channel partnership programs are common in a wide variety of industries, including software-as-a-service (SaaS). Companies love channel partnership programs because they’re often a more efficient way to drive revenue than traditional sales and marketing tactics. Since partners are tasked with finding leads, referrals, and/or sales, company employees don’t have to generate these valuable business outcomes directly themselves. They simply have to enable partners to be successful.
Channel partnership programs have many benefits. In addition to being a more efficient source of growth, partnerships often help companies access new audiences through their partners. For example, a software company may have great traction finding new customers through paid search ads. But if they partner with an agency that has a roster of clients who are not as digitally savvy (and thus may not find the software company via Google), the company can access a new audience that they previously would not have been able to reach. What’s more, agencies often have built deeply trusting relationships with their clients, so a recommendation from the agency means prospective clients will be primed to trust the software company more.
Example: Rivka drove 45% Acme Corp’s FY2022 revenue through her channel partner program.
A channel partner works with another organization to market and sell their products or services through indirect channels. Channel partners may be vendors, affiliates, resellers, value-added resellers, agencies, retailers, managed service providers, systems integrators, or other such entities. Channel partners normally undertake co-marketing efforts together.
Channel partners work together as part of a channel partner program, which help companies sell more product to a wider audience through indirect channels. A company can work with different kinds of channel partners simultaneously.
Example: Lana worked with two kinds of channel partners, affiliates and referral partners, to sell and market her company's software.
In B2B SaaS, a channel partnership is a joint venture between a software vendor and a partner to resell, manage and deliver the product to end customers. Channel partnerships are a mutually beneficial relationship as they act as an extension of the vendor's marketing department, allowing the vendor to sell more with lowered customer acquisition fees. The partner benefits by making a cut of the revenue for customer referrals or sales.
Example: Channel partnerships are a way to grow revenue by capturing additional customers and allowing SaaS companies to focus on their core business.
Channel sales, also known as indirect sales or partner sales, are sales facilitated through third parties instead of directly through a company’s sales team. These third parties may be agencies, influencers, or distributors. This is a common go-to-market strategy amongst B2B (business-to-business) software companies.
Channel sales is often a far more efficient system for driving revenue than direct sales, since the company doesn’t have to hire a sales team. Rather, the company only pays if and when partners make sales. Typically, partners are paid a cut of the sale, so it doesn’t require the same degree of overhead investment or risk as hiring and training an inside sales team.
That being said, to unlock maximum growth potential, many companies opt to use both direct and channel sales. Since partners will likely have access to different audiences than your sales team, it’s often worth investing in both. The programs are usually complementary as opposed to cannibalistic.
Example: Lavender Ltd. drove 30% of their revenue last year via channel sales, up from 20% the year before.
A cloud marketplace is an online storefront run by a cloud service provider. It offers access to software applications to customers that integrate with or compliment the cloud provider's offerings. In the marketplace, customers can directly purchase and manage these cloud-based software applications.
You may hear cloud marketplaces referred to as SaaS marketplaces. Cloud marketplaces attract a significant amount of traffic; according to Gartner, enterprise customers buy over half of their services from cloud marketplaces. This makes them a key part of a successful go-to-market strategy for SaaS providers.
Example: A well-known cloud marketplace is the AWS Marketplace, where customers can purchase software that runs on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.
Co-marketing is core to partnerships. It is the act of two similar businesses joining together for a mutually-beneficial marketing partnership in order to reach new potential customers.
Co-marketing is often used interchangeably with the term co-branding, however co-branding requires that two companies join together to market a new collaborative product, while co-branding does necessitate the companies creating a new product. Instead they are using the partnership to market their already-existing owner service or product.
Example: Rajit developed a co-marketing campaign to expand his company's reach by working with a business that targeted a similar ideal customer.
A commission rate is the reward or payment associated with either a percentage of sale or payment. In partnerships, partners can earn commission on either qualified leads or on closed sales. The commission rate is the percentage of the value of that lead or sale that is paid to the partner.
The commission rate you offer should depend on how much the partner is involved in the sale, as well as how much work they’re doing to maintain the client over time. For example, you may choose to give affiliates a commission of 15% for one year, but give resellers 30% for the lifetime of the account, because they're doing much more work to sell and maintain that account over time.
Example: Giro's partner program paid a commission rate of 25% to resellers, who did more work to close a sale, and 15% to affiliates, who did less work to produce leads.
A commission structure is how a company compensates partners based on the revenue they generate for the business. Partner programs pay partners based on the sales they close, the traffic they drive, or the qualified leads they send to the program. The commission structure defines how much a partner is paid for those actions and how much that pay increases with increased revenue generated.
Partner programs should strive to develop a commission structure that is compelling and progressive. A compelling structure with appealing rewards can help drive interest and signups for your program, and a progressive commission structure continues to adequately reward high-performing partners for their share of revenue driven. Note that commission structure usually varies between partner types; affiliates who drive leads may earn less commission per lead, whereas resellers who have more hands-on involvement in the whole sales process usually would earn more.
Example: Reid's partner program paid affiliates 15% of the value of their leads generated and resellers 35%. His commission structure then increased the share paid for high-performing partners sending many leads and closing many sales.
A content creator is someone who makes material to be shared through any medium or digital channel. This content is often entertaining or educational, and the content is often published on social media channels, personal blogs, or websites. The content creator is responsible for the execution of the content, and may be solely or partly responsible for the ideation of the content.
Content creators are an important tool in affiliate marketing, most recognizably in B2C affiliate marketing (although they also play an important role in B2B efforts, too). Brands will pay content creators to make content about their products for their audience, often providing them with an affiliate link to drive business through.
Example: Joseph runs a YouTube channel where he reviews different cloud softwares. He often cuts down clips from his YouTube to post on TikTok, too. This makes Joseph a content creator.
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Content marketing partnerships are facets of strategic partnerships wherein a company works with a partner to promote through content marketing. Content marketing partnerships work to expand your reach (by exposing your brand to your partner's audience) and boost your SEO performance, both of which can positively affect brand recognition and sales. Content marketing partnerships require alignment on content strategy and should incorporate the best of each company's brand to create compelling content.
Content marketing partnerships can include sponsored content and posts or co-created content. Whether or not the content is sponsored or co-created, it should fit into the wider editorial look and feel of the company posting it.
Example: To see a real-world example of content marketing partnership, check out the collaboration between Intel and Uproxx. Intel wanted to position itself as a top choice for creatives, so they created a co-branded event with Uproxx (a culture and lifestyle magazine) wherein creators presented work they made through Intel. Both brands got to benefit from exposure to each other's audiences.
A conversion rate is the average number of conversions per ad interaction as a percentage. Remember that a conversion is a desired goal of an ad, often a website visit or sale. Conversion rate can be found by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of ad visitors and multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.
While desirable conversion rates vary greatly by industry and business model (the average conversion rate in Google Ads is 4.40% on the search network), a high conversion rate can be indicative of a successful ad campaign.
Example: Mikaela was calculating the conversion rate of her ad campaign. There were 1100 conversions out of 35,600 total ad interactions, yielding a conversion rate of 3.09%.
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Cost per click (CPC) is an advertising revenue model used by websites wherein they bill advertisers based on the number of clicks on a display ad for their site. Advertisers usually set a daily budget for cost per click. When the budget is reached, the website is removed from the ad rotation for the rest of the day.
Most websites are paired with advertisers through a third party, such as Google Ads on Google AdSense. One of the most common ways to determine cost per click is by dividing the cost of your advertising campaign by the number of clicks. It's also common to determine cost per click by bidding, wherein you'd bid a price per click and the system uses algorithms to run your ads, charging you up to your bid amount but not more.
Cost per click is also sometimes called pay per click (PPC).
Example: A website with a cost per click of 10 cents would charge an advertiser $100 for 1000 clicks.
Cross-selling, in sales, is when a customer is persuaded to add an additional, complementary product to their purchase. Cross-selling is important because it boosts overall revenue and can also increase the customer's satisfaction since the related product serves to improve their experience with the product initially being purchased as well.
The key to cross-selling is o understand the customer's needs and anticipate a product that would help improve their experience with that product or service. Cross-selling is not effective and can lead to dissatisfaction is the complementary product is irrelevant, inappropriate or incompatible.
Cross-selling is similar to upselling, which is when a salesperson persuades a customer who is already making a purchase to opt for a more premium option.
An example of cross-selling in B2B SaaS would be a company that sells their CRM to a customer also marketing a document-management technology that would help support the function of that customer's business.
Example: Rick, a sales manager at a SaaS company for invoicing software had a big day. He made a sale of his company's software to a large client who wanted to improve the workflow of their accounting department. Rick also sweetened the deal by cross-selling a partner company's subscription management software.
A customer advocate is a devoted customer who believes in the value of your business and trusts your product(s) to be worthy of recommendation. They are willing to share their experiences with your product with others, which can greatly benefit your sales process. Customer advocates often collaborate with businesses on case studies, article posts, backlinks, and webinars.
Positive endorsement from existing customers is one of the most compelling tools a potential customer can use in a purchase decision. This makes customer advocates extremely valuable to your organization.
You may have customer advocates approach you, but more often you will have to identify them. Look for repeat customers, glowing reviews, and long-term relationships.
Example: You notice a longtime customer referring a lot of leads your way. You reach out to them and find they're super happy with your services. You ask them if they'd be interested in being a customer advocate, and you plan a webinar with them that brings in even more business. Yay!
A customer ambassador is a satisfied customer who takes on a special role helping promote the company and its offerings to their peers. Customer ambassadors have experience with the product, believe in its value, and are willing to recommend it to others. They sometimes contribute to customer case studies, webinars, and other promotional activities for the company.
Customer ambassadors are an extremely important avenue of promotion since personal endorsements and recommendations are so highly valued in a buyer's journey. To spot customer ambassadors, look for successful, highly engaged customers who refer business to you.
Example: Kelly noticed a particular customer was the referral source for several new leads. She reached out to the customer and found they loved the product. Kelly invited the customer to participate in a webinar. Voila, a customer advocate!
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A customer loyalty program is an organized system that allows a company to reward customers for their engagement. The company may offer incentives to customers who promote their brand on social media and in real life, refer business, and perform other activities that are beneficial to the brand. In return, the customers may receive points, swag, conference tickets, gift cards, or other rewards.
Many B2B software vendors understand that their customer base is one of their greatest untapped marketing and sales resources. By encouraging happy customers to share their positive experiences with their peers, vendors can leverage customers as a low-cost, highly effective marketing channel. For example, customers may receive points that can later be redeemed for rewards by referring new business. Or customers may receive cash incentives when they generate new deals that close.
Also known as customer advocacy programs.
Example: As ChamomileCorps’ #1 fan, Refika told all her entrepreneurs friends that the software was a must-have and had saved her a great deal of time and money. Since she received 500 points on ChamomileCorps’ Cham-pions program for every referral, by the end of the year, she had received enough points to redeem them for a brand new iPad.
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Customer relationship management, or CRM, is a software used to build and manage communication between a company and its customers or prospective customers. It's primarily used by sales, customer success and marketing teams to improve and streamline processes including lead tracking, customer segmentation information and task management.
CRMs are used to increase sales and improve retention by shortening the sales cycle, and monitoring and following up regularly with active customers. A good CRM tool will help attract, delight and engage in order to scale your B2B SaaS business.
Example: B2B SaaS companies use CRM (customer relationship management) software in their business as a centralized place to manage connections with customers and prospects.
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