Designing an Effective Channel Partner Program: 7 Key Considerations

Icon-watch 3 min read
Icon-date Jan 26, 2024
Lee R.

Customer Success Manager

Designing an Effective Channel Partner Program: 7 Key Considerations


    A channel partner program makes or breaks a business. Building a successful channel partnerships strategy is a crucial aspect of hitting the right target audience and driving huge sales.

    That’s why we have built a step-by-step guide on how you can build an effective channel partnership program. So, let’s take you through it!

    Step-By-Step How to Build An Effective Channel Partnership Program

    Channel partner programs offer a larger audience for businesses to sell their products. They provide resources (be it a marketing campaign, budget, customer success, or suitable market) helping you target new markets to increase your sales revenue expecting a mutual benefit.

    But you can only achieve these advantages when you build an effecient channel partner program. And how can you do that? Follow the tips below and watch your business flourish in no time.

    Step #1: Select a Compatible Channel Partner Program

    Checklist for compatible channel partner program

    Channel partners are flooding in the market but not all of them are right for your products/services. Conduct thorough research and evaluate whether a channel partner program complies with your brand or not.


    Selecting the wrong channel partner will not only waste your effort and money but also ruin your brand’s image. According to Microsoft, 95% of their revenue comes from partners.

    Grey Microsoft office building, Nordstorm building

    Ask Yourself Questions:

    Ask yourself questions like Do you want the channel partner program to be local or international?

    Does the professional channel partner program have enough technical resources and knowledge of your products?

    Are they willing to invest in partnerships and strengthen their skills through your training and courses?

    Also, learn about the different types of channel partners (such as referral partners, affiliate partners, distributors, value added resellers, etc) to make the right choice.

    For example:

    Do you need resellers, value added resellers, affiliate partners, or distributors?

    Does a service delivery partner suit your business needs etc.?

    Make a list of channel partners and go with the one that matches your company profile the best.

    Step #2: Compile Your Goals and Create A Roadmap

    Roadmap between channel partner program and company

    Even the most suitable channel partners can’t help you as long as you don’t have your goals set. Knowing your expectations from the channel partners will help them achieve the set target. This also helps you measure the success after a certain time.

    If you can’t figure out whether your channel partners are helping you attain your goals or not, you won’t be able to evaluate the worthiness of your channel partners.

    Starting Checklist for Channel Partner Program

    Create a roadmap, define your business goals, and set a KPI.

    Also, define your value propositions so your channel partners can attract the right market. Check out your partner’s business model to understand their strategies better.

    Step #3: Actively Search for Channel Partners

    List of places to search for channel partner program

    A successful channel partner program does not occur overnight. You have to figure out what gaps are there in your business that the channel partner programs can fill.

    Explore various channel partners to find the best one for your business.

    You won’t find channel partner programs that will have all the qualities you need. A channel partner only becomes perfect through your constant support and training.

    Building Successful Partner Channels

    Peter Hans Bech (a writer and blogger in the international business development industry) says in his book “Building Successful Partner Channels” that the job of the channels is to find, win, make, keep, and grow happy customers.

    This is only possible when you and your channel partner collaborate with each other effectively.

    Building successful partner channels book cover

    Step #4: Decide the Rewards for Channel Partners

    Rewards for channel partner program

    As discussed earlier, a channel partner program work on the basis of mutual benefits. You have to decide on the commission structure and discuss it with your channel partners.

    It depends on your budget, your product, and the partners.

    Commission-Based or Tiered System?

    Some channel partners prefer a base salary while others work entirely on the basis of commission. Discuss the pros and cons of proposed commission structures with your channel partners and choose one that benefits both of you.

    Step #5: Provide Enough Resources to the Channel Partners

    LMS for channel partner program

    Successful channel partners won’t work with you unless you have something amazing to offer. It isn’t only about incentives and rewards but about training programs and courses as well.

    Channel partners look for businesses that support them in every step. You have to work with the channel partner and ease their tasks.

    For example:

    Do you have an LMS to make the communication easy for the partners?

    Do you use a partner relationship management software? (PRM software like Relavate)

    Do you provide enough courses for channel partners to understand your products?

    Are you capable enough to build an exceptional service that will actually benefit their audience?

    Evaluate where you stand in the market and provide ample resources to the channel partners to attract a high-quality one.

    Step #6: Create a Channel Partner Program Agreement

    Agreement checklist for channel partner program

    After choosing the right channel partner, provide them with an agreement. An agreement keeps everything professional. Written contracts prevent any potential legal issues.

    In fact, big companies renew 56% of their contracts every year.

    Agreement Checklist

    Some things to add to the channel partner agreement include:

    • Glossary of terms
    • Confidentiality of information
    • Promised resources
    • Reward and commission structure
    • Expectations from the partner (goals, system of measuring success, etc)
    • Penalty for breaches

    Step #7: Evaluate Your Competitors and Enhance Your Channel Partner Engagement

    Monitor, google, screen, searching for channel partner program competitions

    If your competitors are highly successful, you will have to implement strategies that bring you to that level. Check out your competitor’s performances and strategies to use as a reference point and explore new markets.

    Channel Partner Engagement

    In all this, you have to engage with your channel partners regularly. Only then can you get a long-term and effective relationship.

    Make sure you are receiving the desired outcome and your partners are getting the rewards they expect!

    Don’ts of Channel Partner Programs

    List of don'ts for channel partners, dos and donts list

    There are certain things to avoid while working with channel partners to ensure a successful channel partner and prevent time and money wastage:

    • Don’t offer poor training to your channel partner. Make sure you support them in every step.
    • Don’t rely entirely on your channel partners. Keep control of your sales process.
    • Don’t give all the freedom to your channel partners. You should stay in touch with them regularly and participate in every step.
    • Don’t invest in channel partners only because they are famous. Choose one that suits your business and product.
    Lee R.

    Customer Success Manager

    LinkedIn icon

    A seasoned Customer Success Manager known for his unwavering dedication to ensuring client satisfaction. With a knack for building lasting relationships and a passion for problem-solving, Lee is committed to helping customers thrive.

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