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Is Specialization the Key to Success?

It’s fascinating watching the progress of the 4,500 partners in our Cloud Services Community. Who’s going gangbusters and who’s doing not so well? And as we’ve dug into this we’ve discovered some patterns amongst the partners who are doing well in the Cloud. The number one element is specialization. After all if you’re talking to the business owner – not the tech guy – they want to talk business.

The more you know about their business the more value a partner brings to the table. We had one partner at an event in New York who had narrowed his customer base to Private Equity firms who employ 20 – 150 people and they dominated this very niche but very high value market! Imagine his conversations… He can talk to his customers about their business, how they can be more productive, more efficient and quote many examples of things he is doing for other companies in their space – what an awesome sales pitch!!

But it doesn’t stop there! If you look at the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 - the fastest growing 500 tech companies - many of whom use channels. However, in a significant proportion of cases they are not the channels traditional tech vendors use. Their channels are very specialized: ad agencies, CPAs, insurance brokers, etc.

Many of the same disciplines apply, but their chosen channels are laser-focused to get them in front of the right people, in the right customers. Why is this changing? Again it’s because they don’t need to talk bits and bytes, they don’t need x number of certifications, they don’t need to know how to configure a SQL server. They need to talk business and not just general business. They’re selling business outcomes and in order to do that they have to understand their clients’ and prospects’ businesses.

As we move forward we need to both think outside the box about the channels we need as well as be laser-focused in understanding who can effectively make our business case to our clients and prospects. In the cloud we need to forget certifications and think business expertise. Who has the contacts to get in front of our prospects and talk authoritatively about their business – those are our channels of the future and those are the partners who will succeed!

Channel Partners Equipped for Success
How can vendors enable partners to specialize?