Certifications are acknowledgements granted to partners for achieving certain milestones. Usually, they acknowledge that a partner has completed product training and is now qualified to represent the company as a partner. They are most often earned as a part of the onboarding process, wherein the partner must learn about the vendor's product to a degree that allows them to comfortably sell/market/share it. Certifications are usually earned early on in the partner journey, but they can also be earned again after product updates or new releases that require subsequent training.
Example: Luke had received his initial product certification on behalf of his partner program shortly after joining Vento's referral program, but a significant update to the main product offering meant he'd be earning an updated certification to make sure he still knew his stuff.
A commission rate is the reward or payment associated with either a percentage of sale or payment. In partnerships, partners can earn commission on either qualified leads or on closed sales. The commission rate is the percentage of the value of that lead or sale that is paid to the partner.
The commission rate you offer should depend on how much the partner is involved in the sale, as well as how much work they’re doing to maintain the client over time. For example, you may choose to give affiliates a commission of 15% for one year, but give resellers 30% for the lifetime of the account, because they're doing much more work to sell and maintain that account over time.
Example: Giro's partner program paid a commission rate of 25% to resellers, who did more work to close a sale, and 15% to affiliates, who did less work to produce leads.