The days of one-and-done T1 sales are over. Today every organization is – or should be – a digital business. So companies need help in selecting and implementing the right communications and networking solutions for their needs.
That means sales people need to have the tools to guide customers through that journey. And that’s a good thing, because it makes for longer, stronger, and more valuable relationships on both ends of the deal.
But that also can be a real challenge for sales people, who don’t always have the knowledge and/or tools they need to transition to selling cloud-based solutions and participate in these more hands-on customer engagements.
The good news is that there’s a growing awareness of this challenge, and that companies like AVANT are addressing it.
AVANT is a different kind of master agent. It refers to itself a channel sales enablement company. And it helps agents, consulting firms, managed service providers, systems integrators, and value-added resellers (the 10 largest VARs in the U.S., in fact) sell next-generation solutions such as infrastructure-as-a-service and unified communications-as-a-service offerings, and SD-WAN. Security and telecom solutions are also in the mix.
Ian Kieninger, CEO, and Drew Lydecker, president, launched the company seven years ago to help address the talent gap they saw in the communications and networking sales and consulting arena.
AVANT provides channel management and engineering teams, pricing analysis, and training to the sales people who help companies bring their solutions to market. It also conducts and publishes research on various communications and networking solutions in the marketplace. That way, sales people and customers can select the best solutions based on their specific requirements.
The company also builds technology, including the BattleApp tool, which AVANT says arms sales people with the resources they need to close more cloud, colocation, and connectivity deals. The app helps sales people demonstrate to customers and prospects the products they’re offering, and to access information and qualifying forms related to those solutions.
In an interview with me in mid April, vice president of channel sales at
national IT infrastructure provider Peak 10, said his company has an amazingly successful relationship with AVANT. Lydecker added: “Our engineers work with Peak 10’s engineers every single day.”
All that helps explain why privately-owned AVANT is growing rapidly; has been able to expand to three offices (Atlanta, Chicago, and – as of this year – London); and continues its strong momentum selling for a stable of 90 carrier, more than 100 cloud, and 1,500 data center providers.
There’s not a single end customer that’s not confused with all the options of suppliers and solutions in the market today, said Lydecker. And the days of buying all your communications and networking solutions from a single vendor are over, he added, because organizations want solutions that are laser-focused to meet their needs. That creates a great opening for sales people to become more than product pushers.“This is the golden age of being a trusted advisor,” Lydecker said.
Edited by Erik Linask