ADTRAN Connect 2011: What’s on ADTRAN’s Mind
The VAR Guy is rubbing elbows this week with the folks from ADTRAN at the company’s annual Connect press and analyst event. Day one so far has been a whirlwind of presentations and meetings designed to both illuminate and educate. So what’s on ADTRAN’s mind? The resale channel. Read on for the details …
ADTRAN is looking hard at VARs to help it become more of a household name in the enterprise space as it looks to move beyond its traditional service provider sales channel and showcase its deeper, broader product and services portfolio. Indeed, the company added about 300 new partners this year alone and hopes to build on that momentum in 2012.
“In the enterprise this year we focused on increasing our VAR sales. We depended on carrier sales for too long,” said ADTRAN CEO Tom Stanton. “We really wanted to see VAR growth turn into revenue growth, [and] this year it happened.”
In 2011, one-third of the company’s sales are through the resale channel, an amount the company hopes will increase next year. This year, part of that success in the channel is due to the company’s moves in the unified communications and WLAN spaces — two areas that are quickly becoming the stars of ADTRAN’s lineup.
“On the product side, it’s all about diversification and relevance — we knew we must build relevancy with the channel and with the customer base,” Stanton said. “Not enough people knew about us and we didn’t have enough of their mindshare. So a few years ago we started to broaden our portfolio to gain more of that mindshare.”
The Bluesocket acquisition in August 2011 “fundamentally changes what we can do on enterprise and carrier side,” he said.
That’s good news for ADTRAN partners, who traditionally have had an uphill battle dealing with ADTRAN’s reputation as the best-kept secret in (first) telephony and (now) networking. ADTRAN laid the groundwork for getting its name out through its service provider channel, partnering with the likes of Verizon and Qwest (now CenturyLink) and earning their certifications to give ADTRAN the necessary street cred.
“The intent in partnering with national service providers and getting certified with them was to give us that credibility,” said Ted Cole, vice president of Channel Sales. “That changed our messaging to one of value — we truly do offer significant value. And that has attracted a number of partners to start selling products.”
Among the ranks include a growing number of managed services providers — a population that initially took ADTRAN by surprise. “We had MSPs in our recruitment profile but not that high up,” Cole noted, “but it is creeping up to be more something we are focused on.
“It comes back to the value proposition – we believe [our solutions] address the needs of MSPs. Witness the number of service providers who are using our services and finding success,” he added.
The message distilled: ADTRAN has big plans for the channel, and it’s got the goods to make it worth resellers’ time. Our resident blogger believes ADTRAN is building up to even bigger and better things. Stay tuned.