@ Derek, yes, but your own sales people are expected to prospect, qualify and generate leads, move leads through the sales funnel and close deals. It sounds to me like John is talking about just leads which he will then have to qualify, drive and close... and some he will not close. And there's no telling if these leads will be exclusive - does his 'partner' also give the lead to one of John's competitors?. That's a big difference. Commissions vary widely by industry/market too.
This is always a touchy subject and i've not discovered a pat answer. This is really "business development" and this issue of compensation/quid pro quo is why it irks me when people conflate the terms "sales" and "business development". They are very different animals and they should be managed differently.
Anyway, Partnering (business development) is always tough - unless your partner companies are actually re-selling your product/service (sales) you can't expect then to place the same sense of urgency and care on prospecting, qualifying, driving and closing deals as your own staff does. I'm also not likely to trust that some other company and their staff can sell my product/services as well as i can so i'm not likely to just turn over deals to them to qualify, drive and close which means they haven't earned the same level of commission my team would if we were qualifying, driving and closing. If your sales model is 'channel only' whereby you will not be selling anything directly to your own customers and all sales will go through partners then that's a different story.
My preference is to partner with companies who need my product/service to win their own deals and visa versa. This way we get brought in early in the process and their 'reward' is beating their competitors and winning their own deals not getting some cash reward from my company. If i am managing a sales team i don't want them distracted by chasing deals on some other company's behalf that won't reward my company the same as our own deals will - and i certainly don't want some other company paying my team directly. This also helps to avoid conflicts among sales teams - your sales person brings my person into an opportunity and then they have different opinions on who does what and why and when... it's a mess.
again, I would focus on more symbiotic relationships where my product can help them close their deals and their product can help me close mine and try to avoid paying 'commissions' to these partners at all. If you still want to pay a finder's fee or commission it should be based on some fraction of the commission you would pay your own sales team - you are paying for a lead not a deal. Especially if you are talking about "PR" and "marketing" partners who are way up stream in the sales process - there is a much more tenuous relationship between their activities and your closed deal.
@ John, what is "sales enablement consulting"?