Guest Column | July 29, 2019

How To Transition To A SaaS Partner Program

By Rob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Jeff Mattan, Proofpoint

Jeff Mattan

Director, Global Channel Partner Programs



Sunnyvale, CA

Year Founded



Protect people, data, and brands from advanced threats and compliance risks

Channel Experience

23 Years

“When it comes to Partner Program design, spend time on planning. Whiteboard the entire customer journey. Segment it. Determine where partners can add services and make money. The design program around that.” Jeff Mattan, Proofpoint.

Transitioning a channel from the on-premise license model to the cloud SaaS subscription model is a massive challenge, for vendor and partner alike. For starters, developing a SaaS Partner Program requires laser focus on your customers’ buyer journey.

I discussed these challenges and learned valuable tips in my Channel Journeys Podcast interview with Jeff Mattan. Jeff has deep experience in transitioning partner programs to the SaaS model.

Key Take-Aways:

  • The subscription model is a challenge for the traditional reseller used to selling large deals. Show them that you understand the cashflow struggle of moving from a large transaction perpetual license to smaller transaction subscription model.
  • Paying the partner in perpetuity on a subscription may seem expensive and unwarranted, but you must match what your competitors are doing or you’re going to lose your partners.
  • Depending on your product and target customer, consider adding a referral program, a residual commission program, and a reseller program to your Partner Program to offer the most flexibility and attractiveness to a wide variety of partner types.
  • It takes a lot of work to develop a comprehensive Partner Program that is at the same time simple for the partner and makes you easy to work with. But all that up-front work will be worth it.

Take Action — One Thing You Can Do Today

Reevaluate your partner program in relation to your customers’ journey and your channel’s role. Are your partner types and roles aligned to the modern buyer journey? If not, it’s time to revamp your program and your ideal partner profiles.

Listen to the complete podcast for more SaaS Partner Program Tips.

Robert Spee, Channel Journeys ConsultingAbout The Author

Rob Spee is founder and CEO of Channel Journeys Consulting and host of the Channel Journeys podcast. Rob applies his channel expertise to help clients create and execute channel strategies to accelerate revenue growth. His global channel experience spans from building channels at startups to vendors and distributors like Arrow, BMC, Carbonite, and SAS. Follow Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.