Technical Partnerships: The Faster Way to Achieve SaaS Product Growth

Build vs. Buy: This decision isn’t as clear-cut for product leaders in 2023. In this guide, we address this very question — and have a free guide to help.

Product managers know that speed to market is essential for staying competitive. But how do you get there without sacrificing quality or incurring engineering and infrastructure costs? 

SaaS application development often results in weighing customer and business needs — and unfortunately, it means many excellent SaaS app ideas get shelved. 

The answer lies in leveraging technical partnerships for custom software development. By building on existing enterprise software APIs and services, you can reach your customers faster and more effectively than ever. 

But while we have you, let’s discuss the advantages of technical partnerships within your SaaS software and best practices for finding the right solution for your business.

Build vs. buy: the product development opportunity

For SaaS product managers, collaborating with a technical partner can be a great way to achieve faster speed to market. Working with a partner allows you to build upon existing APIs and services instead of building net-new product features from scratch. Doing so saves time, money, and the hassle of maintaining the infrastructure and engineering needed for building software.

Cost savings aren’t the only reason to augment your product development team with a technical partner. Specifically, it’s the difference when working with a generalist and a specialist in any role.

SaaS providers can lean other others who have mastered their domain.

Here are a few examples:

  • Corporate Email: Google or Microsoft
  • Telephony: Twilio, Nextiva
  • Video Hosting: YouTube, Wistia
  • CRM: Keap, Freshsales, HubSpot

Imagine if Uber or Doordash built their own messaging infrastructure. You and I probably wouldn’t know either of the brands because they’d be too busy figuring out VoIP and text messaging infrastructure instead of delivering a seamless minimum viable product for riders and drivers.

Ultimately, this impacts the ability to grow customers and focus on the highest-value features of each platform.

Also, it’s not discussed much, but lesser-used features in a SaaS tool often come with ongoing maintenance tying up internal resources.

What to look for in a technical partner

When it comes to finding the right technical partner to scale your SaaS product, you should consider a few key traits.

1. Shared values

Look for partners with the same values as your company – quality, reliability, and scalability. While this seems vague, it’s not a commodity. So instead, find ones that share the same desire to help your SaaS company succeed and the ability to uphold commitments. This way, your software ambitiously serves current and potential customers.

2. Specialization

Explore the company’s SaaS app development projects. Examine what they’ve done with companies like yours. Make sure their capabilities can address the future demands of your SaaS platform. Are they savvy with your tech stack and can become an extension of your product development team?

3. Support

Ensure you’re clear on the level of support they will provide, what scenarios they’ll be able to handle, and how they will deliver. Make sure they can lead without too much oversight. Likewise, be sure what resources (e.g., design, product management) you can commit to growing the partnership.

Comparison of building a software feature in-house vs. a technical partnership.
Comparison of building a software feature in-house vs. a technical partnership from our guide on technical partnerships.

Once you’ve found the right partner for your SaaS software, the most important tip I can provide is to establish a strong communication protocol. The last thing you want is to have contempt or frustration creep up early when a simple two-minute conversation can solve it. With technical partnerships, stakeholders gain access to support and leadership staff — rarely feeling like a “client.”

For product managers, there’s a lot on your shoulders. I’m here to proclaim you can have your cake and eat it too. You can ship incredible user features, AND you won’t have to overburden your software engineering team. White-label partnerships like what we provide let you enjoy both.

Technical partners are an effective solution for product leaders looking for new ways to speed up application development without sacrificing quality or incurring unanticipated infrastructure costs. As a result, product managers can unlock even more opportunities in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Amplify your business model with Convrrt

Companies that solve a technology gap with a trusted partner improve their business outcomes. Rather than tying up internal resources, they can focus on the business needs of existing customers. 

Convrrt has helped top SaaS companies replace outdated page editing tools with a modern, fully customized landing page builder. It’s everything a product manager wants from an enterprise landing page solution and then some.

The SaaS model doesn’t limit you to building SaaS products entirely in-house. In fact, quite the opposite. With a minimum viable product, you can validate demand. And if desired, use learnings to fuel custom development. 

Answers to questions about tech partnerships

  1. What’s the role of a technical partner?

    A technical partner assists the software engineering team by providing a product feature in part or whole via APIs or actively maintained code. The specific roles and responsibilities of tech partners vary but are quickly established at the start of their engagement.

  2. What are the benefits of tech partnerships?

    The top benefits of technical partnerships include:

    1. Enhanced speed to market
    2. Access to deep technical innovation
    3. Cost savings over development and maintenance
    4. Time to focus on more critical initiatives

    It can’t be understated, but satisfying customer needs for a lower cost is a competitive advantage. And it won’t be a bespoke custom solution but a native software solution.

  3. How does a technical partnership differ from an API?

    A technical partnership can be achieved through an Application Programming Interface (API), but it’s not dependent on it.

    An API is ideal if your go-to-market strategy equips third-party developers to manage your software remotely. Zapier is one such example that built its business on other companies’ APIs. But, candidly, users need custom development work to use APIs.

    A technical partnership on the other hand is usually achieved in part with APIs to interact with the underlying platform but aims to extend your development process. A partnership is more than an API; it’s a mutual commitment to support the growth of a part of the business no longer needs internal maintenance.

  4. What are examples of companies that used technical partnerships?

    Some examples of companies that leveraged technical partnerships include Uber, Etsy, Spotify, and Airbnb. At crucial points in their growth, they leveraged third-party services to augment their platform and achieve scale and new markets faster.

    Uber forged a technical partnership with Twilio to underpin its ride-sharing experience by proxying messaging and voice calls between drivers and riders.
    Etsy partnered with Stripe to integrate its payment processing service for all its merchants.
    Spotify leveraged the cloud computing provider Google Cloud Platform to power its core infrastructure and improve its streaming experience.
    Airbnb used SiteMinder to streamline its accommodation booking process. This built upon the company’s business model to serve the established hospitality industry.
    Keap used Convrrt to power its landing page feature for thousands of SMB users to drive account growth, increase retention, and promote ease of use.

    These are all examples of successful technical partnerships that have helped companies grow quickly and efficiently.

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