Channel Partnerships - The Underrated Way to Niche Down Your Consultancy
And 4 ways to evaluate if a channel partnership is worth pursuing or not
If you’re having trouble niching down your consultancy, consider focusing on channel partnerships instead.
This channel-focused approach means that instead of solving problems for anyone using any solution, you focus only on taking projects related to a single platform.
For example, if you’re a cloud architect, you could niche down by only building solutions on AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.
If you’re focused on data engineering, you could try only building solutions for data platforms like Cloudera, Databricks, or Snowflake.
If you’re implementing ERP, focusing only on Netsuite, Oracle, or SAP is one option as well.
And so on.
Benefits of a Channel Partnership Approach
This type of partner channel approach is very compelling because it solves many problems that consultancies have.
For example, focusing on only one platform tends to fix most positioning problems. If you say, “I help businesses implement Netsuite,” it’s crystal clear what you do and gives you clear criteria for who to target (ie Netsuite’s customer profile is now yours).
It also ensures there is demand for your expertise because if these platforms are growing then more and more people will need your help.
There is also clear precedence for partnership-focused consultancies growing large.
For example, a supply chain consultancy called 4Sight only focuses on Manhattan software implementations, and they’re one of the biggest consultancies in the industry.
Another example is Servos, where they focus only on ServiceNow implementations for the government and have also grown a lot the last few years.
So if they can do it, so can you!
Evaluating Good Channel Partners
I’ve come up with a few criteria for knowing if a platform is worth building your consultancy around:
Is their platform growing?
You want to be on a platform that is growing significantly so that your expertise becomes more and more in demand over time.
Is there precedence for building a consultancy around their platform?
If there are no other businesses focused around that platform, then it could be that there is not enough demand for those services.
How mature is their partner program?
How much support do they offer their partners? Do they have dedicated partner managers, training, and onboarding?
Is there a conflict of interest partnering with them?
Many times these partnerships develop because product companies only want to focus on building their platform, not the implementation. However if these companies are also interested in providing service and implementation help, then they might be competing with you for the same customers.
How to Get Started
So if you’re interested in starting a channel partnership, I would recommend looking at a few big technology players in your vertical.
Most of these companies have dedicated partner pages and partner directories on their website where you can learn about the program and reach out.
Speak to their partner managers, and if they fit the four criteria above, it could be worth pursuing further!
Connect with me on social media here.