Phases of a Reseller Partner Program
There are three distinct phases to create a reseller partner program.
- Program creation. This is where you define the type of 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. Time to find and sign-up the resellers.
- 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.
We will go through each of these phases within the ensuing pages.
Reseller Partner Program
You typically don’t need a very formal partner program if you sell exclusively within retail, on-line or direct. However, you would usually have a very sophisticated 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 Power Point. Describes your reseller program, the levels, requirements, benefits to the reseller.
- 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 potential resellers.
- Reseller agreement. This agreement defines the relationship between you, the vendor, and the reseller. The included sample should be reviewed by an attorney prior to potential use. In the addition, the company and state should be replaced with your own.
- Reseller Levels. Description of the reseller levels (Authorized, Gold, Platinum, etc.) along with the benefits and requirements at each level.
- Reseller Policies. A predefined set of policies and procedures explaining how to deal with dealer leads (how to disseminate them, and how to reward them when they refer an account they can’t deal with (too big, not his specialty, etc.), how you expect to support them (lead generation, reseller portal, training program, specialized collateral, etc.), etc.
- Contact information. Contains your internal contacts for reseller support (the Channel Manager, Accounting, Sales, Special Support #, etc.0
- Reseller Not-For-Resale (NFR) prices. A price sheet showing the SRP and the price for resellers to get copies for the store 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.Assuming you use wholesale distributors.
- Sample product slicks, data sheets. The kit contains a single sample of every product slick. Resellers can use the collateral order form (below) to order these for their customers.
- Customer Power Point. This is a sample Power Point presentation that the reseller can customize to present your product to prospective customers. The kit should contain a hard copy, along with a CD-ROM containing electronic and PDF copies of everything.
- Training requirements, required support & schedules. A document that shows what of certification and training are required for each level of authorization, along with the standard dates these are available.
- Collateral order form. Used by the reseller to order additional collateral materials.
- Q & A. Contains answers to typical questions you anticipate from resellers.
Please register and you will have access to a comprehensive sample reseller program template (containing everything above) in .zip format (apx. 1 meg). Plus a link to the Chanimal Portal (a sample portal with over 45 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 be used as a competitive analysis tool as you decide the features you wish to include. This is the same reseller kit that Chanimal has made available with a paid membership at SoftwareCEO (available for free here).
Partner Program Examples
Chanimal has reviewed dozens of different partner programs (from the outside) and from within their portal. Following are direct links to several partner 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.
- iomega. Another VARBusiness 5 Star program.
- Alpha Software. Easy-to-follow partner program. I helped setup the original (but it has changed a bit since then)
- Adobe. Shows some of the details, points, requirements, etc.
- Linksys. It would be nice if they had a contact number if you had questions prior to applying. Finally added an e-mail address (although it is generic “sales”)
- Buffalo. Relatively new–used to have nothing (for a $1 billion company)
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 have little value to the reseller. Others require you to sign up for their program–before they even explain the features of their program.
- Chanimal Partner Portal (new for 2014). Chanimal has created a 45+ 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 old HTML and the new (2014) WordPress portal (that can now be cloned). See below.
NEW! Register and gain access to the Chanimal sample Reseller Partner portal site! Contains over 45 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 more.