This talk was given by Adam Johnson, Senior Vice President of Sales of ActiveCampaign at SaaS Connect 2019 in San Francisco, March 26-27, 2019. Get the slides

Partners are busy, and if a channel program is too complicated to work with they’ll often avoid it. That’s why so many companies are turning to automated, pre-built elements to help streamline the channel process.

Adam Johnson, SVP of Sales at ActiveCampaign, took to SaaS Connect 2019 to speak on this, and how his company’s team uses pre-built stacks to make partners’ lives easier.

Businesses can use their model as a guide for building stacks for their own partners.

When is automation appropriate?

Pre-built stacks are great time-savers, but they aren’t always appropriate. Partners can give a personal touch to the sales process, which is why many businesses turn to the partner channel in the first place.

Because of this, some might balk at the idea of using pre-built stacks.

However, these pre-built stacks can help partners work faster and more efficiently. This will make them far more likely to engage with your channel on a meaningful level.

And because they have more time, they will be able to engage on a human level when it is necessary. So, while not appropriate for every step of the channel process, pre-built stacks are still very much an asset.

How do you build a custom stack?

What works for one company might not work for another. That said, there are three main things that any company looking to start building custom stacks can do.

  1. Pick and choose from best-of-breed solutions to assemble a stack that makes sense for your company.
  2. Easily swap in new solutions as your business expands or pivots so that your stack adapts to your requirements.
  3. Industry-specific stacks and competitor-focused stacks can ease onboarding.

Creating powerful custom pre-built stacks is not a simple matter. Businesses should be constantly evaluating the current state of their industry and their own operations to figure out what stack options are right for their channel partners.

What kinds of stacks are there?

There are different kinds of stacks, depending on the needs of the partners of the channel.

Recipes, for example, are pre-built automations that you can import directly into your account or your client’s accounts. This makes it easier for both partners and customers looking to work with them. On the other hand, snapshots allow partners to make copies of pre-configured accounts.

What makes a successful stack?

When custom stacks fail, it’s often because one of the three following criteria aren’t met:

  1. Put a best-of-breed stack together for a customer use case.
  2. Understand the value and the impact of the solution for the client.
  3. Have a clear strategy on how to appropriately price and monetize the solution.

What this comes down to is having a definite reason for having a pre-built stack. If there isn’t a reason, it likely won’t have an added value for partners or clients.

How do pre-built stacks affect businesses?

What does a business’s future look like when they use custom pre-built stacks?

  • Simplifying the path to integration. It’s easier than ever for new platforms and partners to be added.
  • Providing more resources to help partners succeed. Partner success should be the aim of any good channel program.
  • Expanding partnerships. This will allow for more meaningful relationships, and ultimately a better ROI.