Recruiting partners step 1: Create your ideal partner profile

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Who is this article for?
This article is part of a series intended for companies on PartnerStack looking to grow their program and recruit additional partners.

The first question you need to answer before you can launch any partner program: what kinds of partners do I want to work with?

Deciding which partners are the best fit to start with depends on the goals of your partner program. All partner programs are designed to drive revenue but have different paths to getting there.

Common partner types


Affiliate partners promote your product by driving traffic back to your website and landing pages through unique, trackable links. The primary ways affiliates do this are through content creation and paid advertising targeted at your ideal customers.

Customer ambassadors

Ambassador partners are already users of your product, meaning they know first-hand who it’s for and why it’s valuable. Ambassador partners can work similarly to affiliate partners by sharing their unique link back to your site, or they can send qualified leads directly to your sales team to work on.

Agencies and consultancies

Agency and consultancy partners provide services to their clients, often relying on external SaaS products and services. Agency and consultancy partners can introduce their clients to your product, position it as part of their overall offering, and even resell it directly to clients.

Value-added resellers (VARs)

Value-added Resellers are resellers that provide a client value beyond order fulfillment. This can include IT services or professional services like consulting, design, implementation, and training services that complement the solution. Partnering with VARs can be a great way a SaaS company can accommodate complex IT projects customers might need to accomplish that their in-house resources don’t have the bandwidth to take on. Much like SIs, the industry-specific expertise VARs can offer provides the customer with support and resources that have the proper contextual technical or regulatory knowledge that might be necessary to implement a custom solution. 

Managed service providers (MSPs)

Managed service providers work with clients on a longer term basis than value-added resellers. They manage a customer’s IT infrastructure and software systems, typically on an on-going subscription basis. They may also integrate their own native services to other software solutions.

Which partner type is right for you?

Each type of partner is uniquely valuable — but if this is your business’ first partner program, it’s important to focus on a single type of partner to start with. Partner programs take resources to run, and you’re likely to learn a lot from your first program that you can apply to every program you launch in the future. Committing and launching with a specific partner type allows you to track your progress and success to best support your partnership strategy and the tactics you’re employing.

Partner type A good choice if…
Affiliate marketers
  • Your main goal is generating qualified leads, or sign-ups if your product is free to start
  • Your website is effective at converting traffic into leads and sign-ups
  • You want to grow your brand presence
Customer ambassadors
  • You have an active customer base that loves your product
  • Your product is low cost or easy for an individual to start using
Agencies and consultancies
  • Your target customers often hire agencies or consultancies for support
  • Your product can add value to agency and consultancy offerings
  • Your product integrates with other products, agencies and consultancies to set up or sell
Value added resellers
  • You want to reach a broader audience
  • You want to focus on product development
  • You want to increase customer satisfaction
Managed service providers
  • You want to provide a comprehensive solution
  • You want to focus on your core business
  • You want to increase customer retention

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