Explore Types of Channel Partners: A Complete List

Icon-watch 6 min read
Icon-date May 03, 2024
Danielle M.

Customer Success Coordinator

Explore Types of Channel Partners: A Complete List


    With the technological boom and emerging market competition, types of channel partners and partnerships have immensely evolved. They completely transformed the way we do business today compared to the past few decades.

    Channel partners shaking hands

    Channel partners create a new business environment built on collaboration, communication, and cooperation to achieve mutual goals and drive profit. They help companies expand vertical markets, geographical reach, and services or products offered. In return, they receive rewards, bonuses, or predefined shares.

    Today, we will discuss different types of channel partners to highlight which one works best for a specific industry. Also, we will focus on the particular role of each in accelerating the growth, scalability, and innovation of a business.

    What Is a Channel Partner?


    A channel partner is any individual or a business that promotes or sell software products and services of a company. The company may be a software, hardware, SaaS, or cloud service provider recruiting channel partners as a part of its indirect salesforce.

    What Else Can a Channel Partner Do For the Parent Company?

    • Expand brand awareness.
    • Provide additional services to the end customers.
    • Help businesses build strong relationships with their customers.
    • Leverage the resources of your channel partner programs to cut down marketing costs.
    • Build complementary products.
    • Facilitate an easy implementation process for customers.
    • Store and manage inventory.
    • Help expand the reach of marketing campaigns.
    • Increase conversion rates.

    There exists a bilateral relationship between the parent company and its external channel partners. It starts with a partner program that has a defined set of terms, benefits, and expectations for both the participants. It urges the channel managers to invest more in the education, training, and technical support of channel partners. Thus, companies become more dependent on the success of their channel partners who ultimately drive them to better reach and profit.

    6 Popular Types of Channel Partners to Leverage Your Business Potential

    If smartly carried out, channel partnerships can do more than expected. Instead of simply reselling, companies now prefer to go for co-investing, co-marketing, and co-selling to become a one-stop shop. This exquisite partnership encourages long-term commitments through consistent communication and involvement of all channel partners.

    Below is a sneak peek at the complex landscape of channel partnerships. Six popular types of channel partners and how they independently work to elevate your business growth and reach. Let’s discuss it!

    1. Reseller Partners:

    Man standing in front of laptop and sale sign

    These types of channel partners buy products from manufacturers or distributors and resell them to end customers. Hence, they act as intermediaries to expand your distribution network, customer base, and market coverage.

    A reseller has its own loyal customer base and hence enables your brand to tap into new and wider markets. He can also provide valuable feedback and insights for your business growth as he shares substantial knowledge in the respective industry.

    How Can Companies Maximize Their Growth with Reseller Channel Partners?

    To get the best from reseller channel partnerships, a company must ensure that it stays top-of-mind for its channel partners.

    It can do so by following simple steps:

    • Building a seamless communication channel with your channel partners to provide updates and address ongoing concerns.
    • Delivering marketing materials and other resources to run effective promotional campaigns.
    • Educating and training resellers about your target market segments, product descriptions, sales strategies, and offerings.

    2. Technology Partners:

    These types of channel partners work for specific niches like technology and B2B space. Technology partners offer complementary technology solutions that businesses can integrate with their products or managed services. It enables them to enhance value to end-users by providing better multi vendor solutions and enhancing product offerings.

    How Companies Can Maximize Their Growth with Technology Partners?

    Collaboration with technology partners can help companies leverage their specialized expertise and drive incredible growth. They can do so by:

    • Establish seamless integration, communication, and support.
    • Launching co-branding campaigns, collaborations, and joint marketing webinars.
    • Keep the channel partner ecosystem updated with the latest insights, trends, and innovations in your industry.

    3. Affiliate Partners:

    Having affiliate partners is one of the best channel partner strategy

    An affiliate partner can be a company or individual that collaborates with you to promote your products or services. It is often an influencer, blogger, or content creator. Every effort an affiliate partner puts to generate conversions is paid in the form of commissions.

    Companies recruit partners who sign up to create their individualized links for products. Then, on their social media platforms, they review those products as their favorites to influence their audience to purchase them. Such referral channel partnerships are especially useful for online businesses and startups as they can quickly boost brand awareness.

    How Companies can Maximize their Growth with Affiliate Partners?

    A well-crafted affiliate program with good perks is all a business needs to maximize benefits from its affiliate partners.

    For instance:

    • Attractive commissions and incentives.
    • Resources to motivate partners.
    • Automation of processes to best facilitate partners.
    • Clear communication channels to share updates, respond to questions, and offer support.
    • Regular evaluation of the performance of all partners.

    4. Referral Partners:

    Referral channel partnership is one of the most powerful ways to influence customers through word-of-mouth recommendations. This growth tactic is considered highly valuable for B2B and B2C marketing. Referral partners play a crucial role in expanding the reach of your business by finding new customers.

    • They accelerate the recommendation sales process with the phrases such as “click below” and “ link in bio”.
    • They have amplified networks of contacts, clients, or customers who may like to purchase your products.
    • Hence, referral partners play a crucial role in increasing your brand reputation and sales.

    How Companies can Maximize their Growth with Referral Partners?

    Fostering strong relationships with referral partners can earn massive growth and success for a company.

    One can try:

    • Maintaining high levels of trust and regular communication.
    • Acknowledging their efforts through special events or public posts.
    • Motivating referral partners through attractive rewards or incentives.
    • Providing necessary information, resources, and training about your products.

    5. Distributors (Who Offer Managed Services or Providers):

    Distributors play an intermediary role between product manufacturers and resellers. The managed service providers purchase bulk products from manufacturers and distribute them in smaller quantities to resellers. The managed service providers have extensive networks of resellers and help businesses reach wider audiences.

    How Companies Can Maximize Their Growth with Distributors?

    Companies can tap into the tremendous potential of this partnership by developing strong relationships with distributors.

    They can do so by:

    • Collaborating on joint marketing initiatives.
    • Offering volume-based discounts, competitive pricing, and margins.
    • Regularly communicating with distributors to get insights about logistical or operational challenges.
    • Providing distributors with marketing materials, product training, and support to promote your products better.

    6. Value-Added Resellers (VARs):

    Man in suit who is a Value Added Reseller

    Beyond simply reselling, value-added resellers offer tremendous value to their customers through integration, installation, customization, consulting, and support services. They offer comprehensive bundles by combining different products to aptly address the needs of customers. With this customized packaging, VARs can not control the cost of their products.

    How Can Companies Maximize Their Growth with VARs?

    Companies can benefit from a VAR partnership by following simple tips:

    • Provide VARs with in-depth education, training, and documentation to better understand your products and incorporate them into their offerings.
    • Collaborate in customization projects to find new, emerging, and unaddressed needs of customers.
    • Launch joint marketing initiatives to show your integrated solutions to customers.

    Managing Channel Partners: The Role of A CPM Tool in Streamlining Your Channel Partnerships

    Understanding different types of channel partners is crucial. It enables one to understand better the opportunities and programs available to upscale a company’s success. Where it opens tremendous doors to invest in specific channel partnerships, it also brings several challenges.

    Channel managers have to go through an increased manual workload, recruitment, onboarding, management, and much more. Moreover, each type of channel partnership requires a slightly different strategy and approach a channel leader has to craft and work on.

    However, channel partner management software can craft, streamline, and functionalize your channel strategy, no matter what type. That is what a CPM is designed for. A channel partner management software like Relavate provides channel portals to manage all operations in one place. These types of channel partners software enable business owners to track, record, and analyze partners’ performances. Also, it serves as the hub of all resources, information, tools, and documents for guiding channel partners.


    A channel partner is a bridge between companies and their end customers, promoting and selling software products and services. In an era where businesses are constantly seeking growth and innovation, understanding and effectively managing channel partnerships is essential.

    These partnerships are not just a business strategy; they are the lifeline that connects companies to their customers, making the difference between success and stagnation.

    As businesses continue to adapt and evolve, channel partnerships stand as an enduring model of collaboration, innovation, and mutual success.

    Danielle M.

    Customer Success Coordinator

    LinkedIn icon

    Danielle is a dedicated Customer Success Coordinator with a flair for orchestrating optimal workflows for customers. She is well-versed in partner management.

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