Welcome to the 2019 Channel Partner Draft!

Following the 2019 NBA Draft and in the midst of free agency (for the less sports-savvy among us, free agents are players free to sign with any franchise), I was struck by the similarities between developing a basketball team and building out a channel partner program. The team’s front office builds a diverse, talented team of athletes based on their program’s current needs and plans for where they want their program to go by selecting players who will grow with the program. Building a partner program follows the same structure: You should recruit partners according to your organization’s current challenges and long-term goals.

Just like athletes, channel partners come in all shapes and sizes with unique traits and assets. A basketball team is made up of different positions (forwards, guards, and centers), and similarly, a partner program can consist of different partner types (Value Added Resellers, Technology Partners, Referral Partners, Affiliate Partnerships, and Alliance Partnerships). Each partner type brings its own value, and diversifying your portfolio of partners can allow you to reach a broader audience and lead to greater success.

Investing in your program and your partners is key for your program’s long-term success. You want the relationship between you and your partners to be mutually beneficial. When an athlete joins a team, their compensation and incentives are clearly defined. Your partners are expecting the same.

It is also possible your partners are “playing for other teams,” but you want them to play for you as much as possible. The greater the incentives are for your partners and the more resources you provide them with (marketing materials, MDF, etc.), the more likely they are to successfully promote and sell your product over your competitors.

Obtaining partners and setting them up for success is only the beginning of the battle. Continuing to nurture and develop your partners into star players is the next piece. This is where tracking player performance comes into the picture. In order to develop a rookie athlete into a consistent, high-performing veteran, it is paramount to monitor their performance in all areas. This allows you to pinpoint any deficiencies and course correct.

The same goes for your partners. Historical sales and marketing information is required to see how they can improve. What changes can you make or what resources can you create to enable your partners to perform at the highest possible level?


With ZiftONE, you can build your partner program by recruiting and onboarding new partners, providing necessary resources, managing leads and opportunities, and tracking overall partner performance in ONE place. Relieve the pressures of managing your partners and developing your program through multiple platforms so you can start thriving, not just surviving.