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How to Pick a Reseller Channel Program?

IT service providers need to strategically choose their programs and partnerships to deliver high-quality, competitive products and services. Reselling through the wrong channel can result in various frustrations for both the business and its end-users. Thus, when assessing different vendors, you must look beyond what they offer and consider how and to whom. 

Reseller Enablement Structures

The right channel programs invest in their partners with ongoing sales and product training as well as other technical resources for managing and growing those businesses. Some programs promise greater benefits than others, but these promises are sometimes misrepresented. For this reason, you should investigate the vendor’s organization and tier distinctions.

  • What reward systems are in place for resellers that outperform the others?

  • How accessible are the sales and support resources?

  • How active will the vendor be in its partners’ daily happenings?

Technological and Competitive Advantages

Some vendors do not clearly distinguish their offerings from the competition, leaving resellers with the daunting task of selling a commonplace product or service. The vendor should have a clearly stated competitive advantage to entice not only you but your customers. Whether this means an innovative product, a better support system or simply a wider network of partners and affiliates, you need to find something that sets your channel apart from the others.

Local Partner Presences

Other businesses in your local market may choose or have already chosen the same channel program as you. It’s important to gauge the current market’s saturation before committing.

Too many partners in one region can diminish the competitive advantage. However, if your business specializes, then local partners might be a benefit. For example, if the channel program caters to IT security, then there may be facets of this sector you do not touch, which opens you up to potential referral arrangements with partners that do (and vice versa).

Program Requirements and Fulfillment

Just because you’ve selected a program does not guarantee the channel will accept your application. Many partner programs have specific requirements to maintain a standard for their products and services. This may come in the form of a revenue benchmark or skill testing/training. You need to check the requirements ahead of time to ensure that you can meet them.

Some channels ask for partner exclusivity, which doesn’t make sense for businesses dabbling in different technologies. After all, one vendor cannot deliver competitive solutions across the board. For specialized businesses, though, an exclusive agreement might not hurt. Exclusivity typically comes with some type of certification, too, which can become a sales asset.

Likewise, some channels set fulfillment requirements and will cancel the partnership if they are not met. These programs put lots into their partners and expect some return. Although harder to get into these programs, you may find the reseller enablement structures better compared to vendors with less moderation.