Establishing clear goals ahead of selecting and forming channel partnerships is critical to finding the right partners.
Crossbeam, a partner ecosystem platform that helps companies build more valuable partnerships, identifies these different types of channel partnerships:
Indirect sales – The channel partner sits between you and the customer, bearing the cost of customer acquisition and, in some cases, post-sale customer support.
Resellers – Simply sell a vendor’s products with few modifications.
Value-added resellers – Sell the vendor’s product in a bundle that may also include services such as consulting, installation and configuration or customizations.
Agency partners – The agency has the right to offer the vendor’s product as part of its own product or service offering. This also is referred to as embedded partners or “white label” partners because the vendor’s brand often is not visible to the end user.
Affiliate partners – Partners refer prospects to the vendor and receive a referral fee.
Many companies use several types of channel partnerships in addition to having their own internal sales team.