Avant's Danyluk Dishes on Strategy
"We are a sales enablement company," is how Alex Danyluk, Chief Strategy Officer at Avant opened our conversation, and he really meant it. I don't recall the term "Master Agent" coming up once. Danyluk and Avant are focused on helping their channel partners simply sell. He explained they first work with their partners on sales techniques, prospecting and marketing and then worry about the technology. It is all part of helping the channel transition from selling products to being next gen solution providers. "At the end of the day, our partners need to know what a client wants out of the cloud, not just trying to sell a product, but a full solution which truly meets their needs."
In order to get a better view of partner behavior, Avant conducted a survey with more than 14,000 partners covering 51 different attributes. The sales enablement company then categorized partners with the highest level of success (Lean Forward Partners) selling cloud based services and those seeing the most struggle (Lean Backward Partners). What they found was pretty interesting.
For instance, when asked the most important attribute in a partner, the Lean Forward Partners answered "responsiveness of the vendor" as the most popular choice, while the Lean Backward Partners responded, "Deal protection". One view is very much in line with next-gen solution selling, while the other is an out-dated way of thinking. The other huge disparity was in how each group viewed training. The vast majority of Lean Forward Partners noted "sales training" as having the highest level of focus, while the Lean Backward Partners by-and-large selected "product training". It becomes obvious where the gap lies. How can a company successfully sell if they can't first get in the door?
Avant's internal data additionally highlights partners focused on selling cloud-based services are also providing 42% of the voice services and 65% of the data/networking services. End-users come for the cloud and then stay for everything else. Danyluk is of the opinion that if you are not effectively selling cloud services, you will lose.
While most of our conversation focused on enabling the channel to sell, we did cover a few hot areas for Avant. Danyluk believes UCaaS has finally caught-on, and is enjoying the largest growth in sales of any service they offer. He also exclaimed that SD-WAN is "on fire" for them.
So, what does Avant see for the future? Well, Danyluk sees continued growth as demand continues for UCaaS, SD-WAN and security services, and Avant is looking for partners committed to selling next generation services. Just as it began, Danyluk doubled down, reminding me Avant is a sales enablement company for the channel.
Edited by Maurice Nagle