Avant's Channel Investments Pay Off With UCaaS and SD-WAN Sales Windfall


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Master agent Avant is sinking serious money into its support team, technology and marketing resources for partners. Those investments are paying off as the firm reports that it has doubled UCaaS sales and tripled its SD-WAN sales over the past year through its partner base.

The Chicago-based master agent, a self-proclaimed born-in-the-cloud company, said that it sees a "huge" return on its recent channel investments. Avant's partners have the enablement tools they need to land "disruptive," seven-figure deals with new solutions such as SD-WAN, Drew Lydecker, Avant's president and co-founder told CRN on Monday.

"We've spent a small fortune on our technology, our people and our process this year because SD-WAN revenue has tripled so far in 2017, and UCaaS doubled, which was already a huge part of our business," Lydecker said. "We really wanted to invest in the future for the wave that we believe is continuing to build right now."

[Related: Avant, Navisite Clear The Way For Partner Cloud Sales With New Microsoft Office 365 Opportunity]

Avant has boosted its sales support team by effectively doubling its back-office staff. The company has added more engineers, regional channel managers, pricing specialists, and more cable and telecom order and project management resources for partners. 

With a new support structure in place, partners have access to a field channel manager, an inside channel manager, and a pricing and order entry analyst dedicated to just one vendor. Lydecker said the reason for the change was because attention to detail has never been more necessary, especially for emerging technologies such as SD-WAN and cloud.

"SD-WAN, UCaaS, IaaS and security -- all those areas are exploding for us right now, so we wanted to put the cart before the horse and double down on support," he said. 

During the first half of 2017, Avant was busy updating its BattleApp platform for partners, a tool that contains more than 1,000 sales and marketing documents and videos, as well as a services and vendor locator so partners can identify available providers and begin the quoting process immediately.

"It's about [solution providers] taking their game to the next level," Lydecker said. "If you've been selling telecom your whole life but really want to get into cloud, security, or one of these new, hot verticals, it takes an enablement company to help."

But Avant doesn't only see success within its base of telecom agent partners. In fact, the master agent partners with many of the large VARs today, including CDW and Foresight, which is contributing to the company's growth today, Lydecker said.

Avant today is partnering with more than 100 cloud service providers, 90 carriers, and 30 security firms.

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