Referral vs Reseller // free download!

Ever wonder what the difference is between a reseller program and a referral program?

We did the research for you - see our quick summary below and download our free infographic directly from Slideshare!


A referral program relies on partners understanding the value proposition, ideal user, and features of your products. Their main objective is to make sure that their referral is a good fit for your business. They do not require technical product training or certifications.

Referral partners aren’t trying to sell your product directly in the market and can include your existing clients.

Referral partners make a trusted and highly valued introduction to a company or peer that can offer them value. This keeps ownership of brand messaging, selling, and post customer engagement with your company (giving you the power to create your unique customer experience). While the referral partner owns the role as your brand advocate!

Deliverables your referrers might expect from your team:

  • Referral emails: consistent email updates to your referral partners on product innovations and service improvements

  • Product assets: video or documents that gives partners a talk track on how to present the product

  • Target buyers: help your referral partners understand your ideal buyer and how to talk to them about your products

  • Lead details: details on what it means to be a qualified lead for your business

  • Referral automation: lead form for easy referrals, a way to collect verbal referrals (anything to make it easier for your partners to refer businesses)

  • Co-branded assets: you can offer co-branded assets to help drive referrals from your partners

  • Incentives: find what matters most to your referral partners and offer that incentive (% off their services, etc)

  • Tips & Tricks: to stay top of mind for your referral partners, it helps to provide touchpoints with tips & tricks on referring your products (with a reminder of the incentive as a driver for results)


A reseller program is a salesperson or team, separate from your business, who has received in-depth technical training on your products, certifications to prove their product expertise, and is given permission by your business to resell your products in the market. Think of a reseller team as an extension of your sales team - they understand your pricing and anytime you launch a new product or update an existing product they require in-depth training (so they can better sell). Resellers work with a variety of partners and products - it is rare that your product is the only product sold by a reseller.

A reseller uses their network of clients to resell your products. They own the relationship and experience with the clients they sell to, you just provide the product.

Deliverables your reseller might expect from your team:

  • Reseller PowerPoint. Describes your reseller program, the levels, requirements, benefits to the reseller.

  • Introductory letter. Introduction and overview.

  • Progress Checklist. A checklist to help the reseller understand the steps to authorization

  • Reseller application. A sample application to qualify potential resellers.

  • Reseller agreement. This agreement defines the relationship between you, the vendor, and the reseller. The included sample should be reviewed by an attorney prior to potential use. In addition, the company and state should be replaced with your own.

  • Reseller Levels. Description of the reseller levels (Authorized, Gold, Platinum, etc.) along with the benefits and requirements at each level.

  • Reseller Policies. A predefined set of policies and procedures explaining how to deal with dealer leads (how to disseminate them, and how to reward them when they refer an account they can’t deal with (too big, not his specialty, etc.), how you expect to support them (lead generation, reseller portal, training program, specialized collateral, etc.), etc.

  • Contact information. Contains your internal contacts for reseller support (the Channel Manager, Accounting, Sales, Special Support #, etc.)

  • Reseller Not-For-Resale (NFR) prices. A price sheet showing the SRP and the price for resellers to get copies for the store and sales reps. The reseller should be considered an extension of your sales force. As such, their NFR, or demo copies, should be sold at the cost of goods ($5 to $15 max). Your objective is to get them using your software so they can better sell it.

  • Distribution part numbers. This lists all your products (including resellable services), your part numbers and the major distributors part numbers to make it easier for resellers to order the product).

  • Sample product slicks, datasheets. The kit contains a single sample of every product slick. Resellers can use the collateral order form (below) to order these for their customers.

  • Customer PowerPoint. This is a sample PowerPoint presentation that the reseller can customize to present your product to prospective customers. The kit should contain a hard copy, along with a CD-ROM containing electronic and PDF copies of everything.

  • Training requirements, required support & schedules. A document that shows what certification and training are required for each level of authorization, along with the standard dates these are available.

  • Collateral order form. Used by the reseller to order additional collateral materials.

  • Q & A. Contains answers to typical questions you anticipate from resellers.


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