Building a Reseller Program

I’ve had the pleasure of building some amazing channel programs (also called partner or reseller programs), as well as having been trained by one of the very best in Reseller and Channel Programs.

Building a reseller program isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. There are several projects that will require collaboration from multiple members from different departments.

But before we get into that, we’ll start with the three stages for creating a reseller program (partner or channel program).

3 Stages of Reseller Programs

Reseller Program Creation.

This is the initial stage of creation – duh. It’s where you define the scope of your reseller/partner/channel program including the different levels, features, policies, partner margins/payouts, training/certification requirements, and the level of support offerings.

This area alone can get really complicated. For each different area you could have multiple feature docs for different product tiers, subscription levels, partner applications, MDFs, lead policies, sample email promotions, acceptable advertising content, powerpoints, demo scripts, etc.

Recruiting Resellers and Channel Partners.

Time to find and sign-up the resellers. Tactics for this will remain very similar to other marketing and recruiting related communications. You’ll want to keep your core messaging and value proposition, but want to position your platform for reseller partners and the value it would help them bring to their customers.

We’ll touch more on email scripts and reseller marketing strategies in another post since we’ll cover a lot of material.
Reseller / Channel Partner Enablement.

Reseller or partner enablement is probably the lever for success. If you provide resellers with all of the material they need to make a sale, then your channel program will have a higher probability of success. However, a lack of attention here will most likely lead to poor results.

Some key areas to focus on here are training in your market, analysis of your competition, product training, product sales training, and channel resource training. You’ll want to make it dead easy for them to promote your product over everything else out there.

Building a Reseller Partner Program

Building a reseller or channel partner program requires lots of marketing materials.

Below you’ll find a list of the basic materials needed to build a reseller channel program:

Reseller Powerpoint
This powerpoint describes the reseller and partner program, the various levels, requirements, and the benefits to your channel partner.

Introductory Letter
This is an introduction letter to the partner program, as well as an overview of what’s included and their benefits. Typically, you’ll send this over as an email upon their agreement to join the program.

Partner Program Checklist
This is a checklist to help your reseller/channel partners understand the order and steps to become authorized product resellers.

Reseller Application
Back in the day, you would send this over as a printable doc to get all the information you need. These days, you can use Typeform or Wufoo to quickly create forms that help qualify potential resellers.

Reseller Agreement
Big ups to LegalZoom. For any reseller or channel program, you’ll need an agreement that outlines the relationship between your company and the reseller partner. We recommend using LegalZoom or your attorney to create an agreement that outlines this relationship.

Reseller Partner Levels
Create some documentation around the different reseller levels. For example, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Authorized, etc. Make sure to include the benefits of each level as well as requirements.

Reseller Policies
Build a set of policies and procedures that explains how your channel partners are to deal with everything from leads to demos. Include information on what to do with leads that aren’t in their wheelhouse, rewards, how to refer, etc. Also, include information on how you will pass them leads, how to use the portal, training and anything else.

Contact Information
A no brainer. Make sure your reseller partners know who and how to contact the people they need.

Reseller Not-For-Resale (NFR) Prices
Depending on your channel program, you’ll want to include discounted copies of your product that your partners can use. The goal is to get them to use your software so they can better sell it. For SaaS, this is normally a free account with discounted or flat rate versions for their customers. But again, this will vary depending on your program.
Sample Sales/Marketing Materials
Provide your channel partners with a sales/marketing kit that has all the resources they’ll need. This kit should include everything from product matrices, datasheets, demo decks, and more.

Customer Demo Deck
Along with the above materials, you must include a sample demo deck. This should be able to be customized so customers can use their branding as well (especially if they’re whitelabeling or including in their services). I recommend hosting these in a Dropbox folder or somewhere on your site.

Training/ Support Documents
If you’re old school you can create PDF documentation regarding certifications and requirements. Otherwise, build a page in your channel program section that talks about support and training sessions, as well as links to relevant documents.

Contains answers to common questions you expect from resellers and their customers.