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How to Build a Channel Partner Agreement Template

Have you started a channel partner program? Learn how to create a channel partner agreement that covers all the bases of your channel partnership.
How to Build a Channel Partner Agreement Template
Published on
November 25, 2022


Have you ever joined a channel partner program and felt the channel partnership wasn't as structured as expected? Trust us, it happens more than you realize.

We've all been captivated by the perks of a successful partnership. From the alluring rewards or even the idea of creating a prosperous network. However, to enjoy these advantages, procedures and contracts must be adhered to, which is where a channel partner agreement (CPA) comes in.

The good news is that creating a CPA doesn't have to take a lot of time and money. All that is needed is a fixed framework that will guide decisions about what will be in the agreement and who will be involved, whether it is multiple teams or just two main parties.

Let’s jump into how to build a channel partner agreement template.

What are The 5 Basic Types of Channel Partners?

Channel partners are any third-party businesses or individuals who assist other enterprises in marketing and selling their products or services.

Certain companies find it advantageous to collaborate with other businesses as part of a channel partner program in order to achieve success. Channel partnerships can be achieved with wholesalers, distributors, retailers, affiliates, and referral partners.

1. Wholesalers

If you need someone to buy huge amounts of your company's items, you should hunt for wholesalers. Retailers may have restrictions on how much of your company's goods they can purchase, but most wholesalers do not.

These types of resellers are interested in buying in bulk and selling the products to their own buyer network.

2. Distributors

Distributors are an important aspect of any business partnership. Wholesalers often acquire huge amounts of things, whereas distributors typically purchase smaller quantities.

So, what exactly makes distributors so valuable? Their connections with retailers. It is uncommon for a large or medium-sized retailer to contact your company directly in order to obtain your products in their stores.

Rather, these merchants engage distributors to assist them in determining what products wind up on store shelves.

3. Retailers

Some retail companies make a profit by selling products from third-party vendors.

Retailers can be incredibly important members of a channel partnership program, depending on their popularity and how well they meet your brand's target customer.

4. Affiliates

With the rise of digital marketing, a rising number of businesses rely on affiliates as valuable business partners. A person or organization sends qualified traffic to your business through an affiliate program.

You pay a commission to the affiliate who sent you this visitor if they make a purchase or perform some type of action.

5. Referral partners

Referral partners are channel partners who agree to recommend your company to people with whom they already have a relationship in exchange for a specified referral fee.

These partners are distinct from those who join a referral program since the referral partnership relationship is more official and legally binding.

The best part about referral partners is you can provide them with the necessary training required to better promote your products.

What is a Channel Partner Agreement?

Channel partnerships are formed when two brands or businesses decide to market and sell services together. However, to do so in a structured manner, a channel partner agreement must be established to guide this business relationship.

Some of the most common sections included in channel partner agreements are:

  • Definitions
  • Confidentiality
  • Terms of payment
  • Incentives
  • Marketing terms
  • Termination

It's important that both you and your partner understand what is included in the document and why it is integral to the success of your relationship.

Why is a Channel Partner Agreement Important?

The channel partner agreement is not limited to just partnership requirements.

The importance of a channel partner agreement stems from the fact that it gives the parties involved an enforceable and binding agreement to ensure that everyone is aware of their rights and obligations to one another.

It provides both parties with protection in the event of a breach of this agreement or non-compliance, as well as guidance on how to establish the rules of engagement in the event of a dispute between the partners.

Lastly, it protects the partner's investments in the business as well as the intellectual property of the product and establishes the conditions under which it may be transferred, sold, or used in any other way.

Main Sections of a Channel Partner Agreement

We've talked about what a channel partner agreement is and why it's important. Let's take a look at the key sections you must include when creating your channel partner agreement.


Did you know that if you are a Sesquipedalian, your contracts will inevitably be excruciatingly long to read? Particularly if the reader has Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.

(See what we did there?)

Admit it. It would be easier to understand the meaning of the words if we explained it at the beginning of this article, right? The same is true for any contract.

We are all accustomed to contracts being convoluted and challenging to understand, especially with all the fancy jargon, so it is best that all partners understand what is written, no matter how serious you may want to be.

Make sure to start your agreement with a glossary that identifies the parties and defines any legal or marketing terms used in order to make it as clear and concise as possible.

P.S. Sesquipedalian (pronounced Sess-kwi-peh-day-leean) refers to a person who enjoys using (or overusing) long words.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (pronounced Hippoh-poh-toh-mon-stroh-sess-kwi-ped-ah-lee-oh-foe-bia) ironically refers to a person who fears long words.


A confidentiality clause establishes ground rules for safeguarding your and your partners' businesses from the disclosure of confidential information, such as trade secrets. Establishing these ground rules at the beginning helps build trust and transparency with the partner.

Please note that any party that violates the confidentiality agreement's terms may be held liable for damages as well as for the breach of this agreement, or the parties may choose another course of action that has been agreed to in writing.

Terms of Payment

As in any contract, payments are an essential element and, occasionally, are the sections that everyone pays the most attention to.

The payment terms clause should include payout conditions for rewards and benefits, such as how much money your business will pay for a particular outcome and when it will do so.

If the payment must be made in installments, it should also include the mode of payment and the due date. It should also state who will be responsible for paying any additional fees that may arise during the program.


Now comes the exciting part: incentives!

It would be a fallacy to say that partners join into partnerships without seeking incentives, whether monetary or otherwise. As a result, incentivizing is a clear and effective strategy for motivating businesses to form a joint venture with your company.

Having said that, keep in mind that there are several ways for a corporation to reward potential channel partners, some of which do not involve money. Companies occasionally mix several kinds of channel partner incentives, including free or discounted goods, trips, certifications, and much more.

It is important to describe exactly what forms of incentive incentives are available for business partners and how they may obtain them in the clause of your partner agreement.

Build unique rewards and incentives for each type and tier of partner in Kiflo.


The appointment sections, which are frequently found in reseller partnership agreements, grant partners the non-exclusive and non-transferable right to distribute software to end users in their market and designate partners as nonexclusive "Authorized Software Enterprise Partners".

Other things could be:

  • Relevant geographic limitations for advertising your items;
  • When partners should actively promote the product;
  • The set duration of the partnership.

Marketing Terms

Partner marketing is exciting, and each party can be as creative as they want in marketing the product, but there is a limit. As with everything else, there are do’s and don'ts of marketing guidelines that can protect your brand and product from portraying false messages, images, and, most importantly, verification.

With that said, it is essential to include strict marketing guidelines in your channel partner agreement.

This section should include:

  • Partner marketing strategy;
  • Marketing materials: for example, should the partners only use the material provided by your company, or are they permitted to modify it to suit their specific clientele?;
  • Content sharing;
  • Ownership and Reservation of Rights;
  • Resale agreements;
  • Do's and don'ts of how they intend to market the product.

And lastly, it should also include how to modify the partner marketing strategy if necessary.


The indemnification section of the agreement covers costs incurred by the other party that your company is willing to pay, and the clauses can vary greatly. Some are as simple as "liability is excluded," while others are more formal agreements that exempt the service provider from specific consequences if they occur. ‌

And, to protect your company from unexpected costs, include an indemnification section that specifies what you're willing to pay for and what you're not willing to pay for.

Key components to have are:

  • Parties to a contract;
  • Protection of loss;
  • Essentials of the channel partner agreement.


It is natural for things to come to an end. However, just as in the beginning, it would be preferable if things ended smoothly and without too much complication.

The termination section should include the conditions of this agreement. This should have several clauses and examples of how a partnership can end, ranging from a breach of contract to finding new ventures that partners may want to pursue.

So, in order to protect yourself and your partner, of course, the termination section is your savior in the event of a partnership's demise due to unforeseeable circumstances and should include the following:

  • What actions to take if there is a breach of this agreement?
  • The process by which shares will be distributed.
  • Who pays the damages should the contract be terminated prematurely.
  • Planning for continuity or succession in the event that a partner leaves the partnership.
  • A description of the financial management plan for the partnership.
  • Details of how and when a partner may decide to terminate the agreement, including the number of days notice required if they want to do so.

Exclusive Channel Partner Agreement Best Practices

The partner ecosystem is constantly changing, particularly in this fast-paced and competitive industry, so it is necessary to update the process and agreements on a regular basis to reflect the evolving business.

However, because change is constantly required, it is best to stick to some best practices that you can continually refer to when changing the terms of your agreement.


Simplicity is the key.

To succeed in the partnership, both parties must agree on their future goals and expectations. However, before one can succeed, it is critical that each party has a clear understanding of what is entailed in the channel partner agreement.

And sometimes, what hinders that progress is the agreement's overcomplication.

So, make it as simple as possible for all parties to understand, and avoid using jargon or terms that may confuse others. Include a glossary in this agreement if you must include a term but are unsure whether or not someone will understand it.

User-friendly Design

Sometimes, the issue is not excessive word complexity but design. It's critical to create an agreement that your counterparty will understand and feel compelled to sign.

Use links and images to break the document up, make documents easier to sign, and try to keep the layout as simple as possible.

Use Automation

Automation is today's superhero for many business practices, including, believe it or not, agreements. Many businesses use it to streamline operations, clean up data, and quickly reach agreements with new business partners.

Automation enables you to:

  • Simplify workflows for partnership agreements without sacrificing efficiency;
  • Make sure an agreement's terms and conditions are acceptable to both parties;
  • Eliminate human error;
  • Automatically transfer a signed contract to a database.

Channel Partner Agreement Template Sample

Templates are examples of documents or frameworks that may be used to get started with a channel partner program. Since they have a skeletal structure, they can be filled in with information that can be used as a baseline to develop the structure and map out a real plan.

A partner program template is a skeleton structure that outlines all parts of a channel partner program, hence cementing the partner marketing approach. It comprises an outline of program objectives, awards, and operations.

Although the whole partner program template is not required, starting with a basic plan might assist in creating collaborations with specific firms or individuals.

Templates should be viewed as a guide rather than a destination. Utilizing a template can save time and provide the structure needed. They can also be customized based on who the templates are for.

Templates such as those provided by Slide Team and Allbound are a great starting if you are looking for great examples to build upon or use for your business.


When working with a channel partner, it is simple to become overly invested in a project and lose sight of the bigger picture.

Always make sure that any predetermined expectations you have are stated explicitly in your agreement so that there are no misunderstandings regarding what you will contribute. In the long run, it can benefit both parties by lessening potential conflicts.

Last but not least, remember that you are partners. Consider the drafting of a contract as a partnership. You're settling on a negotiated foundation that will benefit both of you. ‌

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