To focus on the channels partnership that most closely coincides with your business objectives, start by comprehending the benefits and drawbacks of each type.

It’s remarkable how few CEOs tasked with boosting business growth have thought about an indirect marketing strategy that makes use of channel relationships to scale, enter new markets, increase brand recognition, and boost product value.

Many businesses discuss channel alliances, particularly when their direct go-to-market methods aren’t performing as effectively as they once did, as was the case during COVID when sales strategies were turned on their heads and again as we get ready for another difficult market.

Before considering the implementation of any change in your business and to assist you choose the best channel partnership for your company model and growth goals, I welcome you to look at the 10 various types of channel partnerships, and the advantages they offer.

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10 Types of Channel Partnerships

1. High-Velocity Partners (aka Fulfillment)

The administrative and legal difficulties of selling your products at scale can be managed by your business with the aid of fulfillment partners.

They can manage order fulfillment on a big volume of transactions for a relatively low charge, but they don’t provide much value by providing high-touch, tailored services, unlike delivery partners.

Key benefit:

Your business can raise sales dramatically while lowering administrative expenses. By means of pre-existing agreements with the government or other buying groups, the ideal fulfillment partner might also be able to market your items to niche, difficult-to-reach customers.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Keep up a high volume of transactions.
  • Need a middleman to negotiate and complete transactions on their behalf.
  • Aspire to quickly build up to achieve even bigger sales quantities.
  • Sell basic goods that are quite straightforward to install and operate.
  • Own the resources necessary to provide value-added.

 2. Technology Alliance Partners

Technology alliance members provide a technology that is advantageous to the solution you provide. This collaboration, like service delivery partners, frequently does not include any reselling; rather, it only brings two items together as an integrated solution.

You might decide to collaborate with a business that produces and sells X-ray machines, for instance, if you provide software for those devices.

With the help of software, accessories, or other elements that give the alliance partner a competitive edge, technology will be improved.

Key benefit:

By working with a dependable partner, your business and its technologies will gain exposure to new markets. Co-marketing initiatives that raise your profile might also be enjoyable for you.

When it comes to your partner, their technology will be improved by the inclusion of tools, extras, or functions that give them a competitive edge.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Use Co-marketing opportunities to get advantageous.
  • Will gain from being linked to a reputable brand.
  • Will gain from the two companies’ technical merger.
  • Want to expand into new market sectors.
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3. VARs (Value Added Resellers) for channels

The most well-known channel partners are VARs (also known as Solution Providers) in the channel. To put it simply, channel resellers take your product, add profit margin, and offer it to customers with value-added in a variety of ways.

They can be national partners with the reach to handle a larger customer base, or regional partners with expertise in a particular geographic location. Others have a focus on niche markets or sectors like healthcare or oil & gas.

Smaller businesses benefit from speedier access to the market because to channel VARs’ propensity to embrace new technologies.

Key benefit:

By promoting your product to their current clientele, channel VARs (solution providers) can considerably boost your sales volume.

Additionally, they are frequently more open to adopting new technologies, which enables smaller businesses to launch their goods and services faster.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Have a new technology on the horizon.
  • Desire to appeal to a wider clientele.
  • Need to increase the market size.
  • Lack the money to expand their own marketing and sales activities.
  • Need to enter particular regional or vertical markets.

4. Cloud Service Providers

By hosting your solution in the cloud to increase speed, security, and flexibility, cloud service providers offer some aspect of cloud computing, typically IaaS, SaaS, or PaaS. A few examples are Google Cloud Services (GCS), Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

Additionally, there are “Born in the Cloud” (BIC) providers who deliver solutions from a cloud provider, giving users more solution elasticity and flexibility while also making the deployment of those services simpler.

Key benefit:

A cloud service provider gives you the ability to supply a strong, dependable solution to the user that is made simple by off-premise hosting, which is a major benefit if you are a software firm.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Possess a piece of software that could use cloud hosting.
  • Share and brand familiarity in an effort to gain scale.


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5. Service Delivery Partners

Partners who provide services do not resale goods or software. They increase its value to the customer by offering a variety of services, such as presales advice, installation, and managed services, and they tailor the solution to the customer’s particular requirements.

A service delivery partner, for instance, might assist in configuring a patient management system to suit the requirements of clinics that perform cosmetic surgery.

Key benefit:

By simplifying the burden of implementation and raising the value and relevance to a particular market, these services can increase the allure of your company’s products. They also hasten the end-users consumption of the goods, quickening subsequent sales and raising client pleasure.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Improve the pleasure and experience of end users.
  • Do not have the funds to hire and keep up a sizable in-house service workforce.
  • Have no reputation or competence in the necessary vertical.
  • Should collaborate with trustworthy service providers as opposed to going head-to-head.
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6. Original Equipment Manufacturers

Original equipment producers (OEMs) incorporate your items into their own solutions and market them to end consumers. OEMs sell these integrated solutions under their own brand, similar to white-label business partners.

Key benefit: 

OEM collaborations can assist businesses in discovering new markets for their goods and new applications for their technology.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Want to have easier access to new markets.
  • Are prepared to satisfy the standards and demands that the OEM sets.
  • Develop a strategy to avoid doing business with end users directly.

7. Global Systems Integrators (GSIs)

By mixing solutions from several vendors for networking, storage, hardware, and software, global systems integrators create computing systems. Accenture, PwC, Deloitte, and IBM Global Services are a few examples. 

Some of the largest businesses in the world, like Boeing or Bank of America, are massive enterprises that construct extremely large, complicated, multi-vendor solutions.

Key benefit:

Systems integrators can help you join the lucrative enterprise sector, whereas channel resellers can assist you in selling to small-to-midsize businesses.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Wish to have their products used by renowned, blue-chip companies.
  • Have a replacement for the integrator’s current legacy product that is better.
  • Are prepared to deliver their solution on the scale necessary to serve a sizable market.
  • Offer a solution that necessitates more services, as this will allow the system integrator to generate more income.
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8. Embedded Partners or “white label” partners

White-label partners incorporate your product into their own and market it to customers under their own name.

Key benefit: 

For businesses with low costs of sales that are concentrating on growth, allowing products to be “white-labeled” by other brands can be a potent strategy to enhance sales.

Best suited to businesses that:

  • Are seeking a rather simple and quick strategy to increase sales.
  • Have insufficient internal bandwidth to provide managed services to end users.
  • Are giving increased sales precedence over brand familiarity.

9. Managed Service Providers

Remote management of an organization’s IT infrastructure and end-user systems is often provided by managed service providers under a flexible subscription model and on a proactive basis.
While a delivery partner makes the end user’s initial setup simpler, a managed service provider delivers ongoing services that lessen the end user’s load over time.

Key benefit:

A managed service provider can increase the appeal of your software solution to a broader variety of end users by removing the need for the end user to invest technical and administrative resources in managing and maintaining it.

The best fit for businesses that:

  • Want to improve sales and decrease friction by providing simple setup and management.
  • Want to enhance the chances of cross-selling or up-selling.
  • Want to make the user experience easier in order to increase adoption and retention.
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10. Strategic Partners

Strategic partners may fit into multiple of the aforementioned categories, but what distinguishes them from the rest is their capacity to generate sizable income and provide value that advances the business plan of your organization. 

They might be a good fit for a variety of partner types, and when your company’s capabilities and objectives change, so might their role. 

A fulfillment partner, for instance, might support your business’s national expansion while simultaneously providing managed services that considerably raise your client’s lifetime value.

The lesson to be learned from this is to keep an open mind and avoid using a limited definition to define a partner’s value because every partner has the ability to advance the strategic objectives of your business.

A fulfillment partner could offer managed services that greatly extend the lifetime value of your customers while also assisting your business in going national.

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This is the final result

One of the most surefire strategies to quicken business growth is to collaborate with one or more channel partners. 

There is a large range of partner kinds to investigate if you’re prepared to investigate various paths to market.

To focus on the channel partnerships that most closely line with your business objectives, start by comprehending the benefits and drawbacks of each type. 

Don’t get too caught up in labels; many of these connections will develop over time and change as they go deeper; this is when they will be most valuable to your business.

Try not to activate all the available channels to market if you are just starting to use one. Spend the time and work with the partner who will help your business grow and whose technology compliments it best.