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Asana channel playbook 📈 & how in SaaS 23% of revenue typically comes via channel partners?

In SaaS businesses at scale, 23% of revenue typically comes via #channelpartners. But how to get there?

📈 Here are 3 lessons from how Asana launched channel.

💬 From our fireside chat with Sharrifah Lorenz, CFA who led #partnerships in Asana, Loom and now Census

🚩 We had started feeling some pull from the market

from consulting firms that were unofficially consulting on Asana. To be honest, the team was not that thrilled with us moving heavily into channel, because we really wanted to own the end-user experience. We thought we knew the best way to implement Asana, we had done so much research, we had all of our customers to pull from.

The initial goal was to set some parameters around these individuals and firms that were already doing this work. And then it became clear that other firms, like firms that weren't currently doing it, wanted to start including work management in their tool stack.

At the time, a consulting firm might work with Dropbox for file storage, G Suite for email client, maybe Slack for messaging. They didn't have a work management app, because the category was so nascent. They would look to a tool like Asana to help them basically complete their tool stack.

They could go to their end users and say, “Hey, I have a best-of-breed productivity suite, you should use all of these tools and Asana being one of them”.

🚀 We stood it [channel] up rather quickly

It was very scrappy in the beginning, which is good. I think you have to build things that are manual before you can build them to scale just to prove them out.

We were doing a lot of things in Asana, email, spreadsheets, it was not an elegant process at the time. But then we started getting traction, we started growing the team.

💵 Channel partners make money on either the margin or the services.

SaaS applications are relatively cheap, and a tool like Asana, we intentionally built it simply. A user could get started without consultants or without any implementation support.

I wasn't sure about channel just because of that, what's the value for the partner?

It really wasn't until we launched and saw that the value was including this new technology that really made work faster and more effective. It is really helpful to know who was doing what, and by when. And it was the product itself, which is why we were able to get some traction.

💪🏻 But it wasn't easy

It took a long time to really make inroads with channel. I think that's the case with many companies, there's this inherent tension that can exist between sales teams, and trying to hit their revenue targets, Customer Success teams and wanting to own the implementation or the rollout, and partners.


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