Avant is on the move.
This week, Avant, a Chicago-based cloud technology services distributor, announced enhancements to its Channel Sales Enablement Program and an important deal with Comcast to resell the cable giant’s cloud and co-location services.
But that’s only a fraction of what the up-and-coming cloud services distributor, which serves scores of VARs, MSPs, telecom agents and cloud services brokers worldwide, has been up to. In the past few months, it has broadened its executive team, added to its portfolio of SD-WAN, security and UCaaS services, and expanded its footprint in the UK and greater Europe. It’s also eyed new data centers in Asia.
What is more, Avant has doubled the number of agents that it serves, and increased "booked agent revenue by 75 percent" since 2015.
At this week’s at the 20thChannel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, I caught up with Andrew Lydecker, co-founder and president of Avant. At the event, Lydecker was a whirlwind in motion discussing everything from company building to SD-WAN technology to Avant’s latest sales tool, BattleApp. The latest edition, version v.2.1, was on full display this week. It adds new features and functionality to “support both back-office and face-to-face selling activities,” according to the company, including:
- An enhanced white-label and fully partner-brandable user interface
- An expanded fiber tool and data center functionality with smart-filtering and Google Maps API overlay
- Solution filters for rapid down-selection of providers to those with relevant product offerings
- A new interface that allows the customization of provider visibility and categorization
- Easy toggling between presentation and back-office modes
- New case studies and templated sales documents to streamline the close process
- The ability to upload partner sales content to the documents library
Andrew Lydecker, co-founder and president, Avant
In addition to the upgrade to BattleApp, Avant also announced several other enhancements to its Channel Sales Enablement Program. They include a three-day “Special Forces Training” event for elite partners, a new “BattlePlan” sales methodology, a series of sales events for CIOs and other decision makers, and new interactive sales tools to help VARs, MSPs and telecom agents develop use cases for technology sales.
If you get the sense from the company’s naming conventions that Avant is a little “action-oriented,” you’re not mistaken. Lydecker is openly aggressive and outspoken about the way the company positions itself. To hear him say it, “business is war” and “perception is reality.”
“We want to be the ‘weapons dealer’ for salespeople,” he says, which is another way of saying Avant is focused on building the tools that will help its VAR/agent/MSP customers win business and crush competitors.
While it all sounds macho and even makes Avant’s public relations advisor cringe, the approach has made the company a favorite among cloud services brokers, very large systems integrators and key telecom agents. It’s also given Avant a distinction that its suppliers love.