Customers need help.
But B2B SaaS companies are optimized for building, shipping, and selling great products. They use repeatable, scalable systems and processes. It’s the only way they can survive and scale.
They’re not optimized for countless unique support requests from customers.
Yes, great CS teams can provide support docs, live chat, and content to help customers. But again, to work at scale, these CS resources have to be pretty uniform, standardized, and repeatable. The SaaS business model isn’t built for and can’t sustain too much variation, hands-on support, or edge case problems.
Support tickets represent costs. Servicing them does reduce churn, but not needing to service them at all is ideal for the business. The fewer support requests, the lower the cost per customer, the better the margins, the more can be invested in growth and the product.
You get the idea. Customer support requests are kind of like lead. Abundant, heavy, not easy to work with, and not very valuable.
What if you could turn them into gold?
The alchemy of partnerships
Klaviyo loves service requests because they have a secret: They know the process of turning them to gold in a few simple steps.
After drowning in requests, unable to keep their CS team’s head above water, they tried something different. They directed their customers to a directory of service partners.
Klaviyo sent over 2,000 referrals to service partners last year from their agency directory alone. And guess what their service partners sent back?
And leads are gold.
While Klaviyo has always been a relatively easy-to-use software, having a seasoned pro setup and manage email marketing strategies has been proven to help our customers achieve significantly higher ROIs. At the same time, our partners rely on that demand to fuel their business success. - Lizzie Andrew, Senior Manager of Ecosystem Marketing at Klaviyo
Creating a flywheel
Sales wants leads. Partners want referrals. CS wants fewer complicated support requests. Oh, and customers want help from people they trust.
There’s often a tension between these entities. Relationships often focus on what they want from the other.
But the magic happens when you give first.
Klaviyo found that giving their support requests to service partners was a great way to quickly strengthen their partnerships at scale. The trust and demonstrated value was established, and guess what those service partners did in return - without even being pushed or begged? They sent back leads! Lots of them.
Discovering the gold under our noses
Mario Tarabbia spent countless hours on hundreds of calls with partner leaders at software companies. He kept hearing the same thing:
Agencies want referrals.
So why wasn’t it happening?
First, because too many people got stuck in a you go first mindset, unwilling to give value to the other party without clear promises of reciprocation. Those are promises agencies really can’t guarantee.
Second, because the process of giving referrals was messy, complicated, manual, or reliant on other departments for whom it was not a priority.
Partner leaders know all too well the challenge of getting devs to prioritize adding partners to the website or getting marketing to highlight partners in content. For those orgs, partner outcomes aren’t what they’re measured against. So partner-related requests get put on the back-burner.
Manually handling the process of showcasing partners doesn’t scale. On top of that, it’s hard to know which partners are worthy of all that time and manual work, as some end up doing very little while others are absolute titans.
Mario saw a simple solution.
PartnerPage enters the chat
PartnerPage was launched in 2019 with a simple mission: Make it easy for partner leaders to showcase and connect customers to their partners.
A clean, sortable, easily editable directory that allows partners to be highlighted, searched, ranked, and connected to customers puts the referral-giving process on hyperdrive. And in turn, partners give back!
It’s not just service partners either.
Klaviyo has close to 300 tech partner integrations. Customers and prospects can easily access them, and partner managers can easily manage them. This means integration-hungry leads are more likely to convert. And customers who need the tech to play well with the rest of their stack are less likely to spend hours on Google, eating up support time, or churning.
Using a tool like PartnerPage to help us refer business back to our partners – and match our customers with expert services – ensures our ecosystem and every business that is part of it is successful. - Lizzie Andrew, Senior Manager of Ecosystem Marketing at Klaviyo
Back to basics
The crazy thing is that this is pretty fundamental stuff. We’re talking age-old principles, like the Golden Rule.
Treat your partners well. Give them what they want - as easily and often as possible.
Give your customers what they want too. Easy access to help, expertise, and integrations.
Do all this without asking too much of the other departments in your company.
Give to win
All this giving will result in winning.
Customers are happy because they’re served in a deeper way than your company can alone. Partners are happy because they’ve got referrals coming in.
Happy people are generous people.
Partners start sending leads your way. Customers start becoming superfans.
Now you get to give to your sales team too.
All because you started giving to your partners.
That was Mario’s insight, and the foundation of PartnerPage’s success.
Unlock the alchemy at an upcoming event!
Thursday, September 22, we’re partnering up with PartnerPage for an event all about how to turn that lead into gold, with stories from the front lines.
Told from both the agency and SaaS perspective! (Not always the same;-)
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