Sell Google Apps through Google’s reseller program

Ever wanted to be a salesperson for Google? Well, now you may get your chance through the Google Apps Reseller program, which allows companies to sell their own versions of Google Apps, the business offering that bundles products like Gmail, Google Docs, and more. The program creates a new way for technology service providers to make money from Google’s products — and for Google to grow the size of its salesforce.

Basically, Google will offer Google Apps to resellers at a 20 percent discount, will train resellers, and will continue to host the product, while resellers will control their customer relationships, including billing. Of course, you can just purchase Google Apps from the search giant directly, so why bother with a middleman? The idea is for resellers to package Google Apps within a larger product or to offer services that complement Apps. Those could include one-time services like data migration or user training, or ongoing offerings like an outsourced help desk. Companies can also build on the product using Google App Engine or the features in Google Sites, for example customizing the general Apps offering to a specific industry.

The program already launched in pilot mode with more than 50 resellers — the name most familiar to VentureBeat readers is probably Appirio, the Sequoia-backed company that connects different cloud computing platforms. Paul Slakey, Google’s director of enterprise channels, says it’s hard to know exactly how popular this initiative will be, but he wouldn’t be surprised if more businesses eventually buy Apps from resellers than from Google itself.

“We’re not going to be getting the luxury, especially in this environment right now, to hire a huge salesforce, but we know we have a hot product,” he says.

Google says more than one million businesses use Apps, including big names like Genentech and Yelp, with 3,000 more signing up every day. The company doesn’t provide a breakdown of how many customers use the free version compared to the premiere version, which you have to pay for. However, the paying camp is about to grow, since Google will now require any business with more than 50 users to use the paid version.

You can apply to be part of the reseller program here.