Updated November 2, 2020:

A sales partner agreement is a contract that exists between multiple business partners and is used to define what the responsibilities of the company are. It also lists the profit and loss distribution for each partner, as well as what the rules are about the partnership in general. When two or more people decide to operate a for-profit business, even if it's just family and friends, they should create a partnership agreement.

Types of Partnership Agreements

There are several types of partnerships available, including the following:

  • General partnership: This is a business structure that has two or more people who decided to partner to form a business that's for-profit. Every partner is liable for the obligations and debts of the business, including the actions of the other partners.
  • Limited partnership: This partnership consists of a minimum of one general partner with unlimited liability in the company, as well as a limited partner who is liable only for their portion of ownership.
  • Limited liability partnership: This type of partnership is where each partner is liable only for their own actions.

How to Create a Sales Partner Agreement

A solid sales partner agreement that is legally binding makes sure there are results from the long-term relationship. This acts to establish a relationship between the organization and the independent sales force. This should define what the nature of the relationship is, as well as express the responsibilities and expectations of either party. The agreement should discuss all compensation timelines and structures, as well as what the agreement termination procedures and terms of engagement are. All authority should be specified and instances defined when the partner needs to talk to the organization before they can take action.

Before everything is finalized, an attorney should look over all the agreements. The sales partner agreement should state which parties are going into the agreement. The document should be in a list format and have a number assigned to every statement. The statement should be titled with a bold font and then list all the details of the statement. Any sub-topics should be put under the main topic, and have every point lettered or numbered with the exception of the bold print. The next topic should have all the responsibilities listed that the organization has in the agreement.

The same section should also have any sales support services the company provides, such as giving out samples of products or sales literature. The next section should have all the responsibilities and expectations of the sales partner. This should talk about expected sales goals, all expenses the partner expects to have without reimbursement, customer qualifications, a policy on how customers are charged, and all services rendered. The compensation plan will outline all revenue sharing, commission, timelines for payment remittance, and fee arrangements. The terms of the contract are listed next and all required rights and actions stated.

Things to Include In a Business Partnership Agreement

Partnership agreements for businesses come in every size and shape. Each business will be different, and the same agreement won't work for a two-owner shop in New York that will work for a four-owner shop in Colorado. Different things will work for those who have partnered together before versus partners who have just met. A business partnership agreement should have the name of the company listed, the name of the parent company if applicable, and any different names the company may operate under. If any fictitious names will be used, this should also be listed here.

The agreement should also list the company's purpose, which should be kept broad. This way there's flexibility to change, and the agreement won't need to be revised every time a new business venture or experiment is tried. There are many responsibilities to decide on, including partnerships with different companies, HR and hiring, the general strategy for the business, financial management, marketing and sales, and day-to-day management.

One partner might be in charge of many different responsibilities, and these can overlap in the day-to-day operations of the business. Some partners are limited partners, while others are considered full partners.

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