Channel Partner

What Does Channel Partner Mean?

A channel partner is a third-party organization or individual that markets and sells products, services or technologies for a manufacturer or service provider via a partnering relationship.


Major technology organizations, like Microsoft, AMD, IBM, SAP and Oracle, form channel partner relationships at different levels to multiply product sales and distribution.

A channel partner relationship is also known as co-branding.

Techopedia Explains Channel Partner

A channel partner may be a retailer, software/hardware vendor, distributor, original equipment manufacturer (OEM), systems integrator (SI) or value-added reseller (VAR).

Two well-known channel partner programs are:

  • Managed Services Channel Program (MSCP): Defines best practices for channel partner market or industry services. Best practice compliance validates channel partners and services.
  • Outsourcing Channel Program: Designed for channel partners handling asset management for a specified period. Includes combined manufacturer, service provider or data center technologies.

A referral partner is a sales representative, consultant or customer that enhances marketing and boosts sales by directly referring customers to manufacturers via multiple channels.

Channel and referral partners are often compensated with gratis discounts, training, technical support or lead generation tools.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…