How to become a software reseller

The risk of building a software as a service (SaaS) business is huge. More than 90 percent of SaaS companies fail within three years. An alternative option is to become a software reseller instead.

Download “How to white label” and discover how becoming a white-label software reseller can positively impact your business today.

Software reselling provides all the benefits of owning a software business but without the costs of development. As a reseller of software you get to significantly lower your risks and costs, and just focus on selling. No software expertise is necessary, no development skills are necessary, and no large increase in overhead is required when you resell software.

Why else would someone consider becoming a software reseller?

There is a wide variety of software reselling options. Software reselling includes affiliate programs, SaaS reseller programs, and white-label SaaS reselling, which all benefit the reseller differently. There’s something for every business owner who is interested in becoming a software reseller.

What is a software reseller?

A software reseller is essentially a business that purchases software and resells it to clients at a profit. You see examples of reseller partnerships around you every day, most commonly in retail situations. Reseller partnerships could look like a grocery chain reselling a local coffee roastery’s beans or a Best Buy reselling Samsung products. The reseller in any example acts as a middleman between the third-party provider and the end user.

The reseller role is important because it is the end user’s first point of contact in the buying process. The reseller crafts the buying experience for their clients from start to finish. In the case of software reselling, this role also communicates with the end user throughout their product journey.

The relationship forged between the reseller and their client throughout this process keeps the reseller in tune with their clients’ software needs. As the clients’ businesses grow, the software resellers are able to suggest more products to meet their needs. Reseller software is often used to sell add-ons for upselling and cross-selling. This is especially true when the reseller has access to an online marketplace of software solutions. The reseller sells their core in-house services and products and simply resells third-party software as an additional revenue stream on the side.

Repeat customers drive the growth of any business. Ensuring that you have the right business model is going to be important based on your cost of customer acquisition and the lifetime value of those customers.

Song Rattanavong

Director of Vendor Management, Vendasta

Benefits of becoming a software reseller

One of the fundamental benefits of becoming a software reseller is gaining a silent partner to guide you along your path to success. There are a number of reseller partner programs available. While all of these reseller programs cater to different types of businesses, they all have similar benefits.These core benefits include:

  1. Accelerated growth and the ability to go to market faster
  2. Increased revenue and opportunities to upsell and cross-sell
  3. Control over pricing and reseller margins
  4. Increased opportunities to meet your clients’ evolving software needs
  5. Opportunities to differentiate your business from competitors
  6. Giving the reseller time to focus on sales and marketing
  7. Sales and marketing enablement materials
  8. An online white label software marketplace of products and services to offer clients

 

In addition to these benefits, there are many others depending on the program and partnership between the reseller and third-party provider. These can include access to a massive client network to enable selling or to community groups of like-minded resellers. Technical support is often included to different degrees depending on the provider and the program. One extra perk some programs offer is access to great promotions that software resellers can pass on to their clients, once again enabling sales and satisfying clients.

3 Reseller model types

Become a software reseller: it can look differently to different business owners. You will ultimately have to determine which business model has the best fit for you. Regardless of the model you choose, the most important skills involved in reselling are sales and marketing. Although reselling software can be a great revenue generator, it does require a fair amount of hard work in these areas. Selling software can involve long sales cycles, high-volume sales, and high-ticket items in order to make an advantageous profit.

1. SaaS reselling

Software as a service or SaaS is a form of software that is provided by a third party and delivered over the internet. This is an alternative to installing and maintaining software. Think Microsoft Word then and now. You used to have to go out to a store, purchase the software program, install it yourself, and then when it came time to update, you’d repeat the process. Now, you purchase it from a provider online, avoiding all the maintenance because it’s hosted on the provider’s server.

2. White-label SaaS reselling

A white-label software reseller follows a white-label sales model. This means the reseller purchases software from a third-party provider, but this software is specifically built to be rebranded with the reseller’s logo and brand. In this model, the reseller avoids building their own software, and management responsibilities still fall on the provider. The responsibility of marketing and selling the software is on the resellers, but depending on the provider they might have sales enablement material for the reseller.

In this model, the reseller can do their research and mark-up software products and services to turn a nice profit. Because the solutions are all branded as the reseller’s, the client will not be aware that a third party created the software. This model requires discretion on part of both the reseller and the third-party provider in order to keep the reseller partnership healthy.

3. Affiliate marketing programs

The easiest way to become a software reseller is to join an affiliate program.

Basically, it would be a form of reseller partnership between your business and the software provider. This type of reselling is most ideal for a business that already has a large and trusted client base.

As a software reseller in affiliate marketing, you are provided with a URL that you use to redirect your potential clients. When your client would click on one of these links, they will be redirected to the software vendor’s site where they can purchase the software directly (not through you).

Best reseller programs

It can be difficult to know how and where to find software reseller programs that have merit. Some programs are more suited to agencies, while others are designed for media companies, software companies, or managed service providers. The following list includes several best reseller programs worth checking out before breaking into the software reseller market.

Microsoft Cloud Partner Program

Resellers in this program generally already build software, services, or devices. The Microsoft software reseller program includes the Microsoft commercial marketplace, sales enablement with tools and resources, and benefits that will accelerate reseller company growth. Partners get the most out of Microsoft technology and benefit from a global network of customer connections.

If you are designated as a Solutions Partner, this distinguishes your business’s technical capabilities where competition is high. Essentially, the Solutions Partner designation helps resellers separate themselves from the competition. With different paths for different types of partners, Microsoft’s reseller program will guide partners on their path to success.

ActiveCampaign Partner Program

There are actually three different partner types included in the ActiveCampaign Partner Program. ActiveCampaign supports affiliates, agencies, and app partners, and the category resellers fall into is determined by what they currently offer.

Affiliate partners include influencers, content and course creators, and coaches or consultants.

If you fall under agency partner, this includes full-service agencies, B2B solutions providers, and system integrators.

Lastly, app partners are usually developers, app builders, and integrations specialists.

The partner program is a way to differentiate yourself. A way to get your name out there, so you’re able to purchase ActiveCampaign accounts at a discount and make them your own. Whether it’s reselling them as part of a package of services, so it’s definitely something that not a lot of people know about.

Diana Lau

Customer Success Manager, ActiveCampaign

The ActiveCampaign reseller program aims to partner with resellers that help smaller businesses grow.

Google Cloud Partner Advantage

Harness the power of Google Workspace reselling as a partner of their reseller program, Partner Advantage.

With a focus on innovation, collaboration, and growth, Google designed their reseller program with software resellers in mind. Google has different engagement models that align with different types of resellers. Once a fit is determined, resellers can expect benefits including marketing resources, financial incentives, technical and sales enablement plus more.

There are three engagement models: sell, service, build.

  • The sell engagement model supports resellers who integrate Google Cloud solutions into their existing portfolio.
  • The service model supports resellers who are focused on consulting and integration services.
  • The build engagement model supports resellers who develop solutions that either run on or integrate with Google Cloud and can be used to better their products.

One of the Partner Advantage program goals is to help resellers differentiate themselves from the competition with Google certifications and specializations. Unique partners can expect an invitation to participate in a partner initiative program on top of the Partner Advantage program.

GoDaddy Reseller Program

As a reseller program partner, you can use GoDaddy’s servers to build your own hosting business and boost profits. GoDaddy is the number-one domain company in the world. Being number one, resellers can expect high-performance hosting for their clients. It’s fast, easy to set up, and your clients have security for life.

The highlights of GoDaddy’s reseller program include easy selling, access and management of accounts in one place, access to offer great promotions, and robust client reports to help you prove the value of your products and services to clients.

GoDaddy has both a reseller program, and an affiliate program to support different types of resellers. In the reseller program, you get to build a branded storefront, set your own prices, get 24/7 support, and all payments can go through GoDaddy’s merchant account rather than getting your own. The reseller program has two price points: 1) Basic for 25 or fewer clients, and 2) Pro for an unlimited number of clients.

In addition to the reseller and affiliate programs, there are three reseller hosting plans ranging from Basic Pro to Reseller Hosting and API.

Basic Pro is recommended for resellers with ten or fewer clients who want to resell multiple GoDaddy products like domains, hosting, email, or managed WordPress hosting.

Reseller Hosting supports ten or more clients and requires a central system to manage everything in their store as well as their clients. There are four plans underneath the reseller hosting program labelled Enhance, Grow, Expand, and Established. The Grow plan is their best value recommendation.

Screen shot of everything GoDaddy’s reseller hosting plans include: WHMCS &cPanel, unlimited websites and databases, bandwidth, and 24/7 customer support, SSL certificate free for the life of the plan, and reseller enabled GoDaddy domains.

Image source

The API plan is recommended for resellers who want to use their own infrastructure to resell GoDaddy products rather than using GoDaddy’s CRM. It is available for domain products only.

Constant Contact Partner Programs

Faster growth, more revenue, simple management, and world-class products. Resellers can join the Constant Contact team through one of their nine partner programs:

  • Marketing agencies
  • Franchises
  • Organizations with multiple departments/sites
  • Associations
  • Schools and universities
  • National organizations
  • Corporate networks
  • Technology and integrations
  • Strategic

As one of the older partner programs on our list at 20 years of partnership solutions, Constant Contact has been able to personalize the experience for their partners.

The Agency Partner Program is a silent business partner that offers tools, support, and options to help software resellers increase revenue through reselling and referring. Highlights for this program include everything managed from a single dashboard, assistance in supporting your clients from the Constant Contact team, and early access to new product features for partners.

Constant Contact’s Technology Partner Program gives you the power to integrate your software with their online marketing tools. This program involves a dedicated account manager, strong referrals, and expert support from Constant Contact. Access documents, forums, API experts and a developer community through the technology program.

Breaking into the software reseller market

Due to the sheer volume of reseller programs available, it’s not too difficult to become a reseller of software. You’ll never be the only business reselling a specific software solution, so it’s important to use positioning to differentiate yourself from other competing resellers. Start by deciding which reseller business model suits your current business and existing clients. We recommend white-label reselling from a large online marketplace to maximize potential up-selling and cross-selling opportunities. This will give you access to a larger number of SaaS reseller programs to join, so you can sell more and make more money as a reseller.

Plus, you won’t have to join each program individually, which means you won’t need to fill out multiple reseller agreements and jump through different hoops to resell digital products from multiple third parties. You simply join the SaaS marketplace and browse software products to resell. It’s a much easier process.

The next step is to choose your sales market: Who do you want to sell to?

It can be helpful to choose a niche client base and focus specifically on that vertical. You’ll quickly become the expert reseller for that group because you’ll become familiar with their needs, pain points, and where their opportunities lie. It may be website building, or it may be SEO (or both). In understanding your clients, you will be able to provide the best possible SaaS solutions for their needs and budget.

Song Rattanavong, Director of Vendor Management at Vendasta, says, “breaking into the software reseller market is about knowing your company’s strengths. Are your strengths sales or are they operations? Resellers need to maximize their strengths while minimizing their weaknesses. If your strengths are sales, that’s great because now you can utilize vendors and white-label fulfillment to fulfill. This covers your weak area of fulfillment and let’s you focus on your strength of selling. If your strength is operations that’s going to be a lot tougher. To be a successful reseller, you need to have someon who has strong sales acumen.”

Recap:

  1. Know your strengths
  2. Choose a reseller business model
  3. Choose a specific reseller program (or join many through a SaaS marketplace)
  4. Use positioning to differentiate
  5. Choose a market

White-label digital products for resale

If you’ve already started in the software reselling business, consider expanding your offerings with white-label digital products that you can resell under your brand. More offerings enhance your brand and help you appeal to more clients. It also gives you more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell to existing clients.

SEO reseller program

For example, you can make more money from your reselling business by reselling SEO. An SEO reseller program is designed to get your local business clients found in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase their online visibility against the competition. Because the wh program is whiite label, you can rebrand them under your company name, so no one knows you’re reselling someone else’s services or digital products.

Every local SEO reseller should offer on-page local SEO services, citations (listings) management, custom reporting, and review management.

Social media marketing reseller program

This type of reseller software can include social media scheduling software or video creation/editing software. It could also include reporting software.

PPC reseller program

A PPC reseller program would consist of digital ads management and reporting software. A PPC reseller program would be very valuable to you if you sell marketing services to your clients but have yet to break into digital ads due to a lack of specific expertise in house. A PPC reseller program makes it easy to provide digital ads products and services.

Reselling digital services alongside SaaS

Reselling SaaS software through a white-label software partner program is often easier because you’re selling a tangible product. However, as a software reseller, you might also find yourself reselling services as well.

Reselling white-label digital services can be a bit trickier. To resell a digital service effectively, you’ll need to position it as though it’s a tangible product. This helps ease prospective clients into their buying decision if they are having a hard time seeing the value of your services.

Service resellers can provide tangible toolkits for clients that include guides, checklists, templates, documentation of the process and how that service will work for the client. These things all give your clients something to hold onto and helps them develop a picture of how your reseller services and products actually make a difference.

Software resellers can package up products, services, and processes in a way that combines different elements clients might be more familiar with. This gives the buyer a sense of power because they can grasp at least a part of the package you offer.

A strong sales team will always be a factor in winning as a software reseller. Whatever reseller business model and program you choose, the support from your sales team will help you along your road to success as a software reseller.

About the Author

Emily is a Content Marketing Specialist at Vendasta. Over her career, Emily has worked as a Marketing Strategist, freelanced as a Social Media manager, and enjoyed working events for local and national not-for-profit agencies. When she's not researching her next blog topics you can bet she's challenging a friend to a card game or planning a hike in the wilderness.

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