What's a Channel Partner?

A channel partner is someone who helps business customers understand which ICT (information & communications technology) solution services are right for their business and then acts as a vendor neutral broker to contract, install and manage the services.

The following video simply explains one of three ways channel partners get compensated by placing orders through a technology services distributor or "master agent". 

Transactional vs. Consulting, Analysis & Design Partners

While many channel partners only work "transactional" opportunities where a business customer is "buying" a new service or "switching" providers that will likely lead to a transactional residual commission for the partner.

Many experienced partners also exist to assist business decision makers with consulting, analysis and design projects which may not lead to a commissionalble transaction. 

When interviewing prospective channel partners to work with, ask about project fees required to compensate partners for their time & effort for work that does not lead to a transaction.

In many cases, partners that do consulting, analysis & design projects will contract for an hourly or project fee in advance. The project fee in many cases however may be waived or discounted if the business customer moves forward with a transaction that compensates the partner. 

How Can Partners Source "Vendor Neutral" Solutions?

Most channel partners work as independent sales agents through multiple master agency distributors like Intelisys shown in the video above.  Partners can also source solutions with carriers or providers directly. 

Channel partners correctly state they are "vendor neutral" because when working through one or more master distributors, channel partners can bring in vendor neutral sales engineers paid for by the master distributor. 

As channel partners and master distributors are only commissioned a small amount each month, both are only incented by the long term success of a business customer. Professional partners & distributors will not jeopardize long term referals from a satisfied customer to earn a few extra commission dollars from a bad solution recommendation.

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