partner tier examples

Your business operates under certain strategies, goals, and needs at different points, as you see what works and what doesn’t over time. The same applies to partner management: Since your partners have varying motivations and preferences and won’t all universally fit into a single approach to your partner program, you’ll need some flexibility. And this is exactly where Partner Tiers come into play.

Read on to learn all about:

Motivate With Partner Tiers and Watch Your Business Grow

Earn more with GrowthHero – helping you easily & automatically manage successful programs using partner tiers.

What are Partner Tiers?

Partner Tiers are different steps or levels you can set within your partner program. With each level, the sales or revenue goal increases, as do the partner’s rewards. Great for your partners, as they get the opportunity to be rewarded more the more they sell – like a top sales team.  This is great for you, as your partners are motivated to increase sales/ revenue of your products to reach higher tiers, while developing a long-lasting mutually benefial relationship. Ultimately with partner tiers, you stand to make more money per partner.

All partners would start off on the first partner tier, so make sure they get a great onboarding orientation for when they start out.  This will set them up for success. If you were to only focus on a low-effort, low-reward program, you wouldn’t capture the folks who are truly excited about your brand and products and want to invest that up-front time and energy in exchange for a really great reward (ie higher tiers).

So, the solution is to offer more than one tier and build a multi-level program to suit as many partners as you can. Keep reading to uncover the benefits this type of program can offer you.

Reasons to Use Partnership Tiers

reasons to use partnership tiers

Did you know that over half of all partner programs use tiers? There are plenty of good reasons for this – here are just a few to consider if you’re not already on board and planning partnership tiers in your business’ partner program.

Gets you the most bang for your buck

It’s simply impossible to scale your partner program while, at the same time, attending to your partners’ each and every need. After all, you’re still running a business! A great solution for this is to standardize partner levels or tiers for your program. This way, you can invest in and motivate your top performers, while onboarding and managing as many partners as possible.

Helps set clear expectations to leverage existing partnerships

People generally like order and rules, and knowing what to expect and where they fit into the bigger picture of your program will go a long way in motivating them to give you their best. When you set out exactly what you expect from partners within each tier and what they’ll be rewarded with for their efforts, they can gauge where their interest lies and decide which tier they’d like to join.

Whether they need to stay at a lower tier due to time or energy constraints, lack of interest, or something else entirely, it’s still good for partners to know what they can aspire to should their needs or motivations change in the future.

The best part for you? You’re already working with an established relationship and if all goes well, you won’t need to spend as much time recruiting new affiliates or partners. Plus, you’ll save time in the process because you’ll already have clear, benchmarked criteria against which to make decisions about tiering up those partners.

Creates accountability for all involved

When all team members – both your own and your partners’ – have clear expectations laid out in front of them in writing, accountability naturally forms. Think of your tiers as a roadmap for your partners to follow when doing their work and, then, in proving their worth to help you get those sales.

It works both ways, too. If your partner doesn’t deliver as expected, you have documentation to refer back to and justify why you can’t reward them as they’d hoped. Likewise, it holds you and your team accountable for any promises made in supporting and rewarding your partners.

Motivates partners to do better or find their sweet spot

A partner tier system gives your partners the chance to level up and earn even better benefits for their hard work. They’ll see what that next level means and can work towards it. On the other hand, if they don’t meet obligations at their current tier, they can be demoted at your discretion (for instance, from the gold to silver tier).

While this might feel negative at first, it’s a great opportunity for a constructive conversation about what they want and what you need out of the partnership and, hopefully, coming to a better understanding and stronger relationship moving forward. Better to save the partnership than lose it, after all.

What to Consider With Partnership Tiers

what to consider with partnership tiers

Of course, as with anything else, there are some key considerations or drawbacks when working with partnership tiers.

Can complicate partner management

It’s your job to ensure your partners are the right fit for your tiers, to provide all the information they’ll need to be successful, and to compensate them accordingly – which is basically everything to do with partner management. This means you’ll need to spend time and effort creating a way to effectively track your partners and their tiers, along with automating the process to advance them through the ranks. And this can certainly seem like a lot of work!

The good news is that a tool like GrowthHero manages everything seamlessly for you, allowing you to support your partners while saving valuable time you could be using in other areas of your business. It’s simple to manage partners with GrowthHero since you simply set up one Partner Tier structure per account.

How GrowthHero makes partner tier management simple

When you use GrowthHero’s Partner Tiers feature, you’ll make your marketing programs more effective by organizing them into “steps” or levels and rewarding partners accordingly. Each partner tier needs a partner program to go with it, and you can have up to 10 levels.

Your partners automatically advance from one program to the next and earn increased rewards once they meet a certain condition or sales goal that you’ve set. So, when they earn more, they’ll be extra motivated to promote and sell for you! Their progress will depend on total referred sales value, total referred sales count, total customer spend, or monthly sales value.

Motivate With Partner Tiers and Watch Your Business Grow

Earn more with GrowthHero – helping you easily & automatically manage successful programs using partner tiers.

Takes time (but it’s worth the wait)

Creating and maintaining solid partner programs with effective tiers or levels can take a lot of time and energy – there’s no doubt about that. This, combined with the fact it can take months to see earnings from your partnership investment, can be frustrating for sure. But, in the long run, the effort can absolutely be worthwhile.

A good way to maximize that time and energy is to plan well. For instance, if you dedicate time to collecting feedback from your partners and team members on creating tiers and what they should look like, you’ll have at least a rough guide to building some great programs and reward levels within them.

Look at what you’re currently doing with partner programs – or check out some successful examples, like the ones below. Then, list out how specific structures will bring results, what those results might be, and how they’ll improve your business overall. For example, maybe tiers will give you more exposure and drive 10% more traffic to your site. Of that 10%, maybe 3% turn into paying customers.

And don’t forget to keep regular tabs on your programs and tiers – analyze trends to check that they’re still successful, and that partners are producing results and are happy with where they’re at. If not, consider how you can make changes that suit both your partners and your business.

How to Set Up Your Partner Levels

The truth is, there is no right or best way to set up program tiers – it all depends on your goals and objectives. Feel free to choose as many tiers as you like, but businesses typically go for three. They can be listed numerically from lowest to highest status (e.g. level 1, 2, 3, and 4, or bronze, silver, gold, and platinum).

Each of your partner levels will have different partner prerequisites or requirements, along with benefits or rewards offered to them. The levels should specify the exact actions partners should take to stay at that level. To decide what those actions should be, think about your partners’ strengths and what they are naturally a good fit for.

For example, an influencer might post great videos of themselves using a skincare product, so you might set a benchmark of 5 monthly videos with 1,000 views for the bronze or level 1 tier.

influencer post

When creating the tiers, it can also be helpful to ask yourself these questions:

  • What will qualify a partner to be at this tier?
  • How much training do they need?
  • What resources are required?
  • What rewards or benefits will they get?

However you set up your partnership tiers, be sure to document important partner information in an agreement that includes:

  • Name and contact details
  • Designated tier or level (which of course can change over time)
  • Tasks they’re responsible for and timelines for completion
  • Any specific notes or requirements
  • Steps to take for advancement to the next tier

This way, there’s no room for confusion or dispute down the road if, say, someone feels they’re owed a reward for completing a task that isn’t specified in writing, or if they fail to meet their responsibilities.

how to set up partner tier levels

Setting up partner tiers with GrowthHero

To set up partnership tiers in GrowthHero, log in to the app and check the Partner Tiers enabled box. From there, simply specify the number of levels, and determine the programs and level-up condition and values.

For instance, if you offer your partners 3 levels or tiers they might look like this:

  • Bronze – 10% partner reward and 10% customer reward
  • Silver – 15% partner reward and 15% customer reward
  • Gold – 20% parter reward and 20% customer reward

First, you’ll need to set up 3 levels for the Bronze, Silver, and Gold programs. Then, choose how you want your partners or customers to advance through the tiers – GrowthHero has three types of level conditions for partners and one for customers: Total referred sales value, total referred sales count, total customer spend, or monthly sales value.

Motivate With Partner Tiers and Watch Your Business Grow

Earn more with GrowthHero – helping you easily & automatically manage successful programs using partner tiers.

Examples of the Best Partner Tiers

As you start creating your partner levels or tiers, take some inspiration from some standout tiered programs that companies have been really successful with.


Zendesk, a CRM provider, uses a three-tier program. Tier 1 partners fulfill pretty basic requirements, with no need for in-depth technical expertise. As partners get into tiers 2 and 3, though, the requirements increase, as do the benefits and rewards. An example of these rewards is lead distribution.

Zendesk passes along leads to their partners who are most likely to close a particular deal. This can be for many reasons, such as an existing relationship, being in the same location, or having shared subject matter expertise that makes them relatable and trustworthy to the prospect. A tool like GrowthHero is useful here because it’s easy to review partners and send them appropriate leads, which they can manage in their own partner portal.



Hubspot, which specializes in inbound marketing, has a five-tier program. Using a points system, partners advance within it based on how much they sell. Tools like GrowthHero automate this process smoothly and easily by adding a partner to the next tier once they’ve brought in a certain amount of revenue.



Uberflip, a content tool for SaaS companies that helps with lead generation and engagement, has a small but mighty partner program. All partner tiers are entitled to a sandbox account and public certified partners directory, along with a 10% revenue share on referrals. The company’s higher-level partners get more benefits, like custom pricing, co-branded marketing, a dedicated channel manager and priority support, and strategic materials to help boost sales.



Zapier, a tool that automates workflows (and integrates with GrowthHero), uses its partner tier program to help partners grow and improve their integrations, thereby improving Zapier’s marketplace. The company found that its partners were looking for exposure over other benefits, so it’s focused on rewarding them in this way at certain program levels.

Its most strategic tiers include performing tasks like integration announcements on the company’s product blog and social channels, and being included on its “popular zaps” list. Co-marketing campaigns, while requiring more time and effort, have delivered great results to Zapier and huge rewards to its partners. But, Zapier also offers more automated benefits, like a dedicated app directory page and access to integration health data.



With this background info plus a solid partner program tool like GrowthHero, you should be all set to create partnership tiers that will help bring your program to the next level and grow your business to new heights. Good luck!



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