B2B SaaS folks: can you imagine a SaaS company with no sales team? Can you also imagine that company growing explosively and hosting thousands of partners in its ecosystem?
As incredible as it may seem, Zapier is just such a company. In this episode of SaaS Half Full, Cody Jones, head of partnerships at Zapier, joins the show to explain how the company executes these feats.
Think Partnership Management for Long-Term Growth
Cody joined Zapier in 2016 and now heads relationships with over 2,000 partners. And those partnerships are the key to the SaaS company’s success. The company passed on implementing the traditional short-term-focused sales cycle, and instead drove growth through SEO efforts and long-term nurtured partnerships. Cody and Zapier work tirelessly to ensure partners find value in its products — and that partners are excited to recommend Zapier to their users, too.
Cody says that the company manages these partnerships using plenty of automation, the bread and butter of Zapier’s platform. But it still takes knowledge and strategy around these relationships to make partnerships successful. “Managing those two thousand partners really comes down to having a prioritized list of knowing which partners are really good for your business and being able to dedicate resources to that,” Cody said.
As Cody has found, partnership management is a big mental shift for salespeople. While salespeople are used to churning through the sales cycle — close a deal and move onto the next one — partnership management requires more long-term foresight and planning. Cody says it requires passing up the one marshmallow today for two marshmallows tomorrow.
The “two marshmallow mentality” has been instrumental in kicking Zapier into high gear. The company has grown tremendously while keeping their partners as the center of attention. “Your primary goal should be to wow your partners,” said Cody. “If you wow your partners, your partners will bend over backward to introduce you to their users.”
Marketing Should Tell the Story Beyond Revenue
Marketing plugs into the effort of wowing partners. And since Zapier has upended the traditional sales function, it does the same with marketing. Cody wants SaaS CMOs to think beyond tying partners to revenue numbers and tell a more holistic story. “In fact, if you’re only measuring revenue, you’re going to miss a lot of really valuable brand PR and all sorts of benefits that come with really investing in your partners long-term,” said Cody.
For more info on how Cody and Zapier build successful long-term partnerships and what you can do to start investing in partnerships, listen to Episode 104 of SaaS Half Full.