Allbound Logo - Partner Programs



What the Best Reseller Programs Have in Common

Suggested Content

The crucial role of PRM in the ecosystem
BY:  Ali Spiric
The Ultimate Guide to Defining and Optimizing Your Partner Journey for Success
BY:  Ali Spiric
The Ultimate Guide to Referral Partnerships
BY:  Ali Spiric
The best reseller programs all look a little bit different from one another thanks to the very thing that sets them apart in their greatness – that unique, custom-to-your-partners factor.

When you start to dig a little deeper, though, many of the same elements surface again and again. As it turns out, a great partner program can be recreated when you know the ingredients in the secret sauce.

We took a good look at the best reseller programs in the industry to figure out what they have in common. And we found that these are the top characteristics that the most successful reseller programs share.

Foundational Elements of the Best Reseller Programs


A Reputation of Trusted, Transparent Relationships

Reputation is paramount in the world of business, whether you’re an individual or an organization. When it comes to reseller relationships, it’s an absolute must. You are likely not the only company that your partner resells for, but it pays to be the best.

What goes into a world-class channel partner experience that fuels your reputation? The perfect program will differ from organization to organization but, at a minimum, make sure you are ticking these boxes:

  • Clear communication → Make it easy for partners to keep abreast of updates, ensuring there are no delays or confusion. 
  • A fair lead distribution process →  Avoid channel conflict and negative feelings with partner operations that keeps everyone on the same page. 
  • Ongoing support → Set your resellers up for success with a training program that goes beyond the first 30, 60 or 90 days. 
  • Personalization → Segment your partners by industry size, tier, audience or other criteria to offer a partner experience that is tailored to their specific challenges and goals. 
  • Compensation → Whether you offer a flat fee, commission-based compensation or other type of payment, make sure that your structure is simple to understand and competitive compared to similar programs.  
  • Dedicated management → Leverage both the power of a PRM system to automate repetitive management tasks and tap into the relationship-based benefits of assigning a dedicated partner account manager.

The take-away to keep in mind is this: assume your partners talk to each other and word of your reputation will get around.


Strategic Recruitment To Bring in the Right Partners

The best reseller programs are a reflection of the individual resellers you’re working with. Great partners make a great program. 

How do you find those stand-out partners? With a reseller recruitment strategy that attracts the best-fitting partners for your needs and highlights the benefits of working together so they’ll be on onboard from the start. 

Make sure to:

  • Develop your Ideal Partner Profile (IPP) so you know exactly what you’re looking for in your partners and how you will evaluate applicants.
  • Solidify what it means for your partners to be aligned on values and selling approach 
  • Look at what your competitors are doing to identify any gaps in your offerings or potential advantages you are missing. 

For example:

Adam Pasch, co-founder of Stealth Startup, recently shared how he approaches recruitment in our webinar on the topic. 

When building out the IPP for his partner program, he takes into account the resources available and the most enthusiastic proponents of the program internally – whether that’s sales, marketing or product development.  

Whatever it is that I know that I’ll be able to give, I use that to match with who wants to receive it – what type of persona organization is going to be excited about engagement with my sales, marketing, CS or whoever else is my early adopter,

Adam Pasch

Co-Founder of Stealth Startup


“And that becomes a big part of my IPP because I don’t want to go after someone that isn’t going to find value in the thing that I’m going to bring first.”


Competitive Compensation

Financial incentives aren’t the only reason for partners to work with you but, especially with resellers, it’s a big factor. Ensuring your partners feel valued and fairly compensated for their efforts is foundational to a successful relationship. 

The compensation package you offer will likely depend on where the partner fits in terms of type and tier of reseller, but it could include anything from discounts on your product or to sales commissions.

However you decide to slice your compensation, make sure to be transparent about the structure and payout timeline.

For example:

JustCall, a software development company specializing in cloud-based phone systems, increased the number of participants in their partner program by over 500 in less than three years. They also increase their partner revenue by 100% over that period of time. 

Shubham Sood, Partnerships Manager at JustCall, told us about how they achieved this on our podcast and the role that commissions in particular played in their success. 

“We did recurring commissions for a long, long period of time and I think that was very enticing for anyone who wanted to work with us,” they said. “Those commissions would last as long as the customer stuck with us.”

They were doing 45-day cycles, but Sood said the timeline depends on each company and partner type. Anything from 12- to 36-month cycles is reasonable for SaaS companies, for example. Some even offered lifetime recurring deals. 

“Have a definite, clear payout and timeline structure,” he emphasized. 

Reseller Partner Training & Enablement


Strong Partner Onboarding

A comprehensive onboarding process is a critical component of a great reseller partner program. Equipping them with the right information and tools from the start pays dividends down the line. 

At the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm your partners during their onboarding. 

This is where a partner portal and PRM can prove particularly valuable. It allows you to house all your onboarding materials in one location and customize the onboarding experience to each individual reseller, based on their needs.

Consider including a learning track to break down the material topic by topic. Offer tests at the end of each module to ensure the information is sticking and making the process more engaging. 

Additional training content that you can share could include:

  • Product demos

  • Case studies

  • Audience personas 

  • Battlecards

  • Playbooks

Keep in mind that onboarding is just the start. The best reseller programs offer ongoing support and training in an approach known as “everboarding.” 

For example:

Dan O’Leary, Director of Partnerships at Box, is a big proponent of onboarding that never stops.  

“If you want to create great, long-term, enduring, valuable partnerships that create great customer outcomes over time … you have to understand that the [onboarding] experience doesn’t end 90 days after they sign the contract or after their first deal,” he said on our podcast

“You’re going to need to continue to invest in enablement, in learning and development, in onboarding – in everboarding. If you stop investing in these things, then you stop investing in the partnership.”

For him, that means meeting partners where they are at in their onboarding and training to make sure that every interaction provides tangible value. He recommends making one person on your partnership team responsible for engagement to ensure consistency.


A Robust Repository of Training Materials

Once your resellers are onboarded and confident with your brand, offerings and partner portal, supplementary training materials can keep them engaged and continue nurturing their growth. 

The key with training is to make sure it’s the right content at the right time. Too much information at once or training that is not relevant can end up deterring your reseller partner from pursuing further training with you.

  1. Segment your reseller partners to ensure that your training content is specific enough to be helpful
  2. Leverage insights and information gleaned from conversations with your partners to create content that addresses their most pressing needs and challenges.
  3. Make the training materials easy to access and find by organizing them in a content library with search filters and tags.
  4. Incorporate quizzes and games to make the training more engaging, encouraging partners to complete any required modules in a timely manner.

For example:

Salesforce categorizes their training materials by partner type and partner objective, offering content that is hyper-specific. 

For instance, they offer resources for consultants, ISVs and resellers. That’s then broken down into roles within that partner type. For resellers, that means there is content specific for marketing, leadership, operations and technical individuals. Then, it’s tailored to each job position’s goals. 

For marketing, as an example, that includes boosting strategy, building brand awareness, driving demand or leveraging the Salesforce brand.

Partner Engagement & Community


Emphasis on Partner Engagement

Engagement is a leading indicator of the success of your reseller program. Regular communication, enthusiastic interaction with your training content and ongoing commitment to your relationship are all signs that bode well for your partner’s ability to resell. 

To foster an engaged partnership community, organizations most often follow these best practices:

  1. Listen to your partners to learn about their needs, through regular check-ins, partner satisfaction surveys and entrance/exit interviews. 
  2. Offer comprehensive onboarding and training programs, as mentioned earlier, to ensure partners have what they need to sell successfully. 
  3. Assign a dedicated channel account manager to respond to questions, keep partners informed and create a more tailored experience. 
  4. Create commissions and incentives that competitively reward partners, motivating great performance. 
  5. Offer value outside of monetary compensation, such as networking, product discounts or training opportunities.
  6. Tap into opportunities to gamify partner milestones by using points and rewards to encourage positive behavior.
  7. Leverage partner portal that creates a great partner experience, streamlining communication and training.

For example:

Software company Crownpeak was looking for ways to improve their partner program by changing how they interact with their partners. David Rosemeier, Senior Director of Alliances and Channels, described how they doubled down on engagement. 

Using Allbound as their PRM allowed Crownpeak to create a partner portal that allowed multiple people from each partner team to log in and interact with their content. For example, more than 300 individuals from 75 partner organizations in Germany engaged with Crownpeak’s portal shortly after it launched.

Read the full Crownpeak case study here

“One big success of the portal is the number of people using it who are fully engaged. This cascades into real partner engagement: The more engaged the partner, the more they use the portal, and the more successful they become,” said Rosemeier.


Great Partner Relationship Management

At the heart of any great strategy are the tools to execute. 

One of the things that all the best reseller programs have in common is that they leverage PRM software to better manage partner relationships, automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiencies. 

The right PRM tool helps organizations with:

  • Onboarding and training
  • Co-marketing, co-branding and content management
  • Deal registration, lead distribution and co-selling
  • Insights and channel analytics
  • Partner experience automation 
  • And much more!

For example: 

Dan O’Leary, Director of Partnerships at Box, tapped into the power of the right PRM software with his organization’s partner program and describes it as invaluable.

“One of the reasons that Allbound has been such a value driver for us – and it should be for other partner leaders – is that we can customize that experience based on who the person is, what role they’re in and what persona they’re in,” he said.

“A first time salesperson has a very different need than a senior solutions architect or developer. We can create journeys that meet the needs of both by really just using the same set of content that we then stack and allocate in a certain way. And that’s kind of magical.”

Strategies & Best Practices to Create the Best Reseller Program

Perfecting Your Reseller Partner Program: 5 Mistakes to Watch Out for and Their Fixes – Now that you’ve dug into the elements that all the best reseller partner programs share, take a look at some of the most common hurdles that you might face. Plus, we cover solutions that can help you overcome these challenges. 

 Mastering Resell Partnerships: The Ultimate Guide – Dig into our new, comprehensive guide on how to build a successful reseller program. From how to recruit the right partners to how to create relevant content, find all the answers to your resellers questions here. 

3 Features & Best Practices to Level up Partner Communications – Strong communication is foundational to all great reseller relationships. Find out more about how to leverage your PRM to supercharge your communications. 

Latest posts by

( see all )

Simplify Channel Management and Increase Partner Engagement with Allbound

Your Partner Relationship Management Journey Starts Here

Give your channel partner program an in-depth health-check utilizing the four key performance indicators (KPIs) proven to increase pipeline velocity.

As a bonus, you’ll see exactly how you stack-up against fellow industry leaders and get intelligent recommendations to improve problem areas – all in just minutes!