How To Create a Reseller Partner Program
There are three distinct phases for how to create a reseller program (also called a Partner Program).
- Reseller program creation. This is where you define the type of reseller program (or partner program) you will have, including the levels, the features and policies (application, deal registration, MDF/Co-op, lead policies, support), the margins, training/certification requirements, and support material (sample promotional e-mail templates, demo scripts, PowerPoints).
Make sure you download the Chanimal Reseller Kit (below). It includes a spreadsheet that contains every major element of a reseller program. By customizing it, you can jumpstart your program in 2-3 hours, versus stumbling in the dark for 2-3 months. You can also call and I can provide access to sample portals to show you how it all looks when put together.
- Recruiting Resellers. Time to find and sign-up the resellers.
- Reseller Enablement. Now that you have a “shared” 100% commission sales force, how do you get them trained on your market (including the competition), your products (and it’s positioning) and the resources available for them (within your portal)? In addition, how do you motivate them to recommend and sell your product over the competitor’s (they often sell multiple lines)? In this role–you are now a channel sales manager.
How to Create A Partner Program – Video
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Watch the Chanimal video, “How to Create a Reseller Channel – SaaS & Enterprise,” a webinar and live presentation given across the nation and world-wide at many of the largest channel conferences.
This channel marketing video covers all the phases of how to create a reseller program, including 1) defining, 2) recruiting, and 3) enabling a channel, but also includes a section on the unique differences for a SaaS channel. Excellent and real-life information for new and experienced channel marketing managers, GMs, all managers of sales, marketing and business development that touches a channel. For software, SaaS and hardware.
This is not an academic discussion, it is “how it is done” instruction based on how to create a reseller program and from building reseller programs for over 400 clients over the last two decades (Microsoft, HP, Citrix, Sony, Autodesk, Adobe, Intel, GE, Netscape, etc.). One idea alone is worth the time.
This is a summary introduction to the 1-2 day channel marketing workshop series, “How to Build a Successful Reseller Channel–The most comprehensive full-day channel marketing workshop ever!”
Reseller Program Elements
You typically don’t need a formal reseller partner program (portal, certification, levels, etc.) if you sell exclusively within retail, on-line or direct. However, you typically need a very well-developed reseller program if you sell to independent resellers, VARs (value-added resellers) and system integrators.
A reseller, or partner program, as it is often referred to (much to the consternation of corporate attorneys who don’t like to use the word “partner” (since it describes a legal entity)), typically contains the following elements:
- Reseller PowerPoint. Describes your reseller program, the levels, requirements, benefits to the reseller.
- Customer PowerPoint. A “persuasive” PowerPoint used to show your product to prospects.
- Introductory letter. Introduction and overview.
- Progress Checklist. A checklist to help the reseller understand the steps to authorization
- Reseller application. A sample application to qualify and profile potential resellers.
- Reseller agreement. This agreement defines the relationship between you, the vendor, and the reseller.
- Reseller Levels. Describes the reseller levels (Authorized, Gold, Platinum, etc.) along with the benefits and requirements at each level.
- Reseller Policies. A set of policies and procedures for leads, deal registration, MDF/Co-Op, NFR access, how to place an order and training/certification.
- Contact information. It contains your internal contacts for reseller support (the Channel Manager, Accounting, Sales, Special Support #, etc.
- Not-For-Resale (NFR) prices. A price sheet showing the SRP and the price for resellers to get copies for their location and sales reps. The reseller should be considered an extension of your sales force. As such, their NFR, or demo copies, should be sold at the cost of goods ($5 to $15 max). Your objective is to get them using your software so they can better sell it.
- Distribution part numbers. This lists all your products (including resellable services), your part numbers and the major distributors part numbers to make it easier for resellers to order the product–only used if you use wholesale distributors (not as common for SaaS (unless you use a SaaS distributor (like SaaSMAX)).
- Product slicks, datasheets. Product informational sheets–can often be edited by your resellers to include their logo and contact info.
- Training requirements & required support & schedules. A document that shows the certification and training required for each level of authorization.
- Collateral order form. Used by the reseller to order additional collateral materials.
- FAQ. It contains answers to typical questions you anticipate from resellers.
Please register (no cost) and you will have access to a comprehensive sample reseller program template (containing everything above) in .zip format (approx. 1 meg). Plus a link to the Chanimal Portal (a sample portal with over 53 pages of content–shows exactly how everything comes together).
It also includes a spreadsheet that contains most of the elements of a reseller program–it can also be used as a competitive analysis tool to decide which features you wish to include.
Examples of Reseller Programs
Chanimal has reviewed dozens of different reseller programs (from the outside) and from within their portal. Following are direct links to several reseller programs that can give you an idea of a partner program (some good, some are so-so):
- Intel. Includes a good overview of their VARBusiness 5 Star program.
- Microsoft. This is a link to their US program details.
- Alpha Software. Easy-to-follow partner program. I helped set up the original (but it has changed a bit since then)
- Adobe. Shows some of the details, points, requirements, etc.
- Buffalo. Relatively new–used to have nothing (for a $1 billion company)
Chanimal Partner Programs that show a similar interface, but different elements:
- ReviewInc. Referral, reseller and white label partners.
- ValuSource. Their partners are financial advisors.
- LeadSmart. Dual affiliate and reseller program.
Some of these programs are new, others have been developed and refined over the years. Some partner programs have become so bloated with information and are so hard to navigate that they are difficult for the reseller to navigate. Others require you to sign up for their program–before they even explain the features of their program (not a good approach).
- Chanimal Partner Portal (new and updated). Chanimal has created a 53+ page portal site as a “best practice” example of what a reseller portal should look like. It contains sample policies (leads, MDF, co-op, NFR, Deal Registration, etc.), sample forms and sample content throughout. It also links back to Chanimal.com for additional examples. Instructions for most pages are at the top.Although it has levels (you can only see content assigned to your authorization level) and password protection, these security features have been turned off to allow full access. You are free to re-use this content for your own site (as long as “this” note remains). The Chanimal portal is accessible for Registered users (no cost to register and takes seconds) and the link is within “The Cave.” It shows the new sample WordPress portal (that can now be cloned). See below.
Additional Resources Showing How to Setup A Reseller Program
NEW! REGISTER and gain access to the Chanimal sample Reseller Partner portal site! Contains over 53 web pages showing all the elements of a partner portal (intro page, agreement, levels, application, home page, marketing tools (sample PowerPoints, competitive analysis, persuasive format, videos, demo scripts, market info, mdf request, promo templates), sales tools (price list, promotions, deal registration, eval program), support, plus instructions on how to put together the content.