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What are common channel partner models?

Not all partners are the same and it's important you segment your partners so you can develop clear strategies for each one. Here is a list of the most common channel partner models. 

Channel Partner Models

Agency (Agents)

In an agency partnership the agency has exclusive rights to offer a vendor’s product as part of its own product and/or service offering and transact sales on behalf of the vendor, similar to a franchise. 


Referral partners are those who provide a vendor with sales leads in exchange for a referral fee. Referral partners are often those who offer complementary solutions to that of the vendor or share a similar target customer base. Referral partners may engage in co-marketing activities and receive a fee or commission on deals they help to identify. 

Affiliates or Alliance

Affiliates and alliance partners are those partners who may offer products or solutions that are complementary to the vendor’s and share similar target markets. These partners may engage in co-marketing or co-selling activities with a vendor and may have a shared revenue agreement in place with the vendor. 


Reseller partners are those who are authorized to directly sell a vendor’s products to end customers.  Reseller partners are those who are more actively engaged in the efforts of taking vendors' products to market through ongoing co-selling and co-marketing collaborations with the vendors. Resellers are typically compensated by adding margin on top of the price they pay directly to the vendor. 

Value-Added Reseller (VAR)

Like resellers VARs are also authorized to purchase and resell a vendor’s products to end customers. The resellers who add value are those who do more than just transact the sale but also have a broad range of products, solutions, and services that they can provide to the end customer. 

OEM, Embedded, & Integration

These are partners who resell offerings developed by other vendors by embedding or otherwise integrating those vendors’ products with their products.

Service Delivery

Service delivery partners don’t resell products or software. They provide services, from presales consulting to installation to managed services, to the end customers on behalf of a vendor. Vendors often leverage service delivery partners to augment their, and their reseller channel’s, delivery capabilities.

Where to Start

It's easy to lump them all together but each one has their own set of needs and expectations. Here's how to get started:

  • Start with your ideal customer profile.
  • Map out the partners influencing that buyer.
  • Prioritize. 

If you need help, this is one of Alveo's specialties! Contact us to learn how we can help you build a success partner program.