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What are the Three Types of Channel Partners?

There are many different types of partners and partnerships depending on the business, their long-term goals, financial positioning, and key markets. The one(s) that you select should reflect your brand values and target industry, as well as be mutually beneficial. Understanding the different kinds of sales channel partners out there can help you decide which is the best fit for your operation.

Some of the most popular channel members examples are:

  • Independent dealers
  • Distributors
  • Independent sales representatives

Read this article to learn more about selecting channel members examples, the functions of channel members, the importance of channel members, and how to choose the right one for your business.

What Does Channel Partner Mean?

Now, let’s talk more about channel partners. We’ll answer questions like:

  • What is the role of a channel partner?
  • What does channel partner mean?
  • How do channel partners add value to your business?

A channel partner is another business or organization that you create a formal partnership with. Their role is to help market your products or services, typically through sharing resources, leads, and advertising. Channel partners can help you better optimize your workflows, as well as save time and money through the sharing of common resources. 

Some common examples of channel partners are:

  • Resellers
  • Service providers
  • Vendors
  • Retailers
  • Agents

Distribution Channels

So what are sales channels, and what are the major channel types? Your sales channel is the main method or direct way that you market your products to customers. Distribution channels, on the other hand, are indirect methods of selling and helping your product reach customers. The main components of a distribution channel are:

  • Producer
  • Agent
  • Wholesaler
  • Retailer
  • End consumer


There are three types of distribution channels:


  • Direct
  • Indirect 
  • Hybrid

In a distribution partnership, two or more companies collaborate to distribute and sell products or services. One common distribution partner example is the partnership between Apple and various authorized retailers, where the retailers distribute and sell Apple products directly to customers.

Channel Partner Strategy

So why is a channel partner strategy, and why is it so important? Your channel partner strategy provides the necessary framework for ensuring that you have the correct resources to successfully market your product or service. Your channel partner strategy drives sales, gets your channel partners excited, and helps deliver more consistent offerings to your customer base. 


Some of the key elements of a well-designed channel partner strategy are:

  • It takes into account the long-term goals of your business
  • It aligns with your overall operations
  • It is mutually beneficial to both members of the sales channel partnership 
  • It creates growth
  • It includes consistent branding and messaging to your customers
  • It involves clear communication between channel parents
  • There are regular evaluations of operations 

Types of Channel Partnerships with Examples

There are many different kinds of channel partnerships and arrangements. A channel partnership is a formal agreement between companies that is a strategic alliance, meaning it benefits everyone involved. In a channel partnership, channel members share resources, objectives, and other elements that allow them to seize new opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible. 

Now, let’s take a look at some channel partners’ examples. One channel partner example is Datadog, a prominent cloud monitoring and analytics platform, which collaborates with AWS Marketplace to deliver its comprehensive monitoring solutions. Datadog’s Cloud Monitoring platform is available on AWS Marketplace, enabling AWS users to monitor the performance of their applications and infrastructure seamlessly. The partnership enhances Datadog’s visibility and provides AWS customers with a trusted monitoring solution.

Another example might be Tableau, a renowned data visualization and analytics platform, collaborates with the Google Cloud Marketplace to make Tableau Server available for GCP users. This partnership empowers organizations to leverage Tableau’s powerful analytics capabilities on the Google Cloud Platform. Users can deploy Tableau Server directly from GCP Marketplace, facilitating a unified analytics experience.

And yet another example would be Citrix, a leader in digital workspace solutions, partners with the Microsoft Azure Marketplace to offer Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. This collaboration enables Azure users to deploy and manage virtualized applications and desktops, providing a secure and scalable digital workspace. Organizations leveraging Azure can easily access and integrate Citrix’s solutions for enhanced productivity and flexibility.

These examples highlight the diverse range of partnerships between companies and the Cloud Marketplaces. From infrastructure automation to advanced analytics platforms and digital workspace tools, these collaborations aim to empower cloud users with a comprehensive set of offerings to meet their specific business needs. And leverage AWS Marketplace to extend each of the companies market reach, enhance accessibility for cloud customers, and drive collaborative solutions within the existing cloud ecosystem.

What is a B2B Sales Channel?

A B2B sales channel is a business-to-business channel and differs from other sales channels that are B2C (business-to-consumer). In a B2B partnership, your product or service is marketed to other businesses and is designed to meet their needs. B2B channel partners can work together to develop cutting-edge products or solutions for other businesses, leveraging mutual resources. 

Channel Partner Software

Channel partner software can help you better manage your channel partnerships, partner programs, and resources. With channel partner software like the solutions offered by Torchlite, channel partner companies can properly scale resources, foster collaborative relationships with their channel partners, and analyze key performance data. Torchlite’s PRM software empowers channel partners to make the most of their partnerships and focus on growing their businesses.

Improve Your Channel Partner Management With Torchlite

Many organizations tend to think of channel management as a strictly-human job because relationships are built by people. And while that is true, partnership management skills can only take you so far in the business world if you don’t have the tools to effectively manage your partner portfolio. Even the most skilled carpenter can only do so much with a simple hammer, after all.

Think of Torchlite as an entire toolbox for channel partner managers: it’s a software platform that provides an entire suite of tools, capabilities, and channels that can house an entire partner portfolio. On top of that, Torchlite’s “Simply Intelligent” software design makes it easy to customize workflows, channels, and portals for each partner, meaning that as your relationships evolve, Torchlite evolves alongside them. You’ll always have the tools you need and the ability to incorporate new ones through our seamless integration. Perhaps then, it’s better to think of Torchlite as not just a toolbox, but the entire tool shop.

It’s time to set fire to the old ways of Channel Management—and Torchlite is here to offer you the match. Book a demo with us today and see the power of Torchlite software for yourself.

Kelly Schwedland

Kelly Schwedland is the CEO of Torchlite, where he is at the forefront of scaling partner programs and revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate and drive growth, with a passion for driving revenue and fostering innovation through partnerships.