Survey identifies key characteristics of successful cloud sellers

Chicago, Illinois and Las Vegas, Nevada —April 17, 2018 AVANT Communications announced today the findings of its Cloud Channel Survey 2018. Together with Channel Partners, Hosting, Masergy, Navisite – Spectrum Enterprise and TALARI Networks, the findings reveal key insights about the state of selling cloud services. Conducted by Edge Strategies in early 2018, the research looked at understanding major customer trends and changes in decision drivers as they impact IT and cloud services channel sales.

“The key findings in the survey are quite telling about what it takes to win in this market as a channel sales professional,” said Ian Kieninger, chief executive officer and co-founder, AVANT. “The survey looked at 51 different success criteria and the secret sauce of success became very clear. It’s time for sellers to make a hard assessment of their business and how they are selling today’s IT services. The rate of change in the market is increasing and there is a clear, expanding gap, emerging between winners and losers.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Sellers expect significant growth over next several years in SD-WAN, UCaaS, SECaaS and IaaS.
  • High growth sellers are different than others on key business attributes and sales methodology.
  • Overall, sellers are focusing on 4 key services, with plans to expand, on average, to 6 services in 2 years. Presales support is key to their ability to grow.
  • Customer decision making is changing in many ways. While customers are more knowledgeable, complexity and confusion are increasing, causing sales cycles to elongate for most services.
  • While Data and Voice are sold most frequently, IaaS, SD-WAN, Security and UCaaS are generating a higher average revenue per deal and similar overall revenue per channel partner.

Channel Risk Score:

  • Cloud service sellers are selling Data Services more than Data Services sellers are selling cloud services, causing a potential account risk to Data sellers with limited cloud portfolios. AVANT has quantified this threat with what it calls the Channel Risk Score.
  • Data Sellers have the highest risk scores vs sellers who also sell the following services:
  • For example:
    • The Data Channel Risk Score vs. SD-WAN is 23
    • The Data Channel Risk Score vs. IaaS is 34
  • Voice Services Sellers have the next highest set of Channel Risk Scores

Characteristics of sellers participating in the survey:

  • Results based on 204 cloud service sales professionals who were involved in over 14,518 deals for cloud services in 2017. More than half, 61 percent, have been selling for more than 10 years. Participants included VAR, Agent/Subagent, MSP and Consultants.
  • Sellers represented a broad spectrum of company size and revenue, with 62 percent of sales to clients between 50 and 5,000 employees
  • Participants had to have sold in at least one of the following nine service categories:
    • Data connectivity services excluding SD-WAN (including DIA, MPLS, private data lines, managed Wi-Fi, network connectivity, direct connect to data centers)
    • SD – WAN
    • Voice Network Services (including SIP, Conferencing)
    • UCaaS or CCaaS Unified Comms., Contact Center
    • Colocation
    • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
    • Security as a Services (SEcaaS)
    • Office Productivity (Office 365, Google)
    • Software as a Service (SaaS)

Partner Success Criteria:

  • The survey results clearly identified 2 distinct groupings of sellers:
    • Lean Forward Group: Those that sold more deals in 2017 and also predicted the most growth in 2 years
    • Lean Back Group: Those that sold fewer deals in 2017 and predicted the lowest growth in 2 years
  • We compared the frequency of 51 attributes and found the greatest differences between the 2 groups in the following key attributes for success:
    • For example, Lean Forward Group:  more often selected overall responsiveness of vendors as a key vendor selection criterion, valued sales training and stated more frequently that customers make decisions based on Increased competitiveness to their business.
    • For example, Lean Back Group selected: more often selected vendor deal protection as a key decision criterion, valued email campaigns for lead generation and stated that customers make decisions based on Total Cost of Ownership.

Quotes from participating partners:
“We’re really excited about being a part of this new survey,” said Bill Santos, President, Stelligent, a division of HOSTING. “We believe it provides a truly unique perspective into the market and where it’s heading, based on real projects underway and the organizations who are involved in them.”

“AVANT continues to be one of the most innovative and forward- thinking partners we work with,” said Ray Watson, Vice President of Global Technology at Masergy. “This survey affirms what many in our industry already knew, AVANT is driving innovation and digital transformation across the channel.”

“The 2018 Cloud Channel Survey demonstrates that clients today are leaning on key partners to position them for evolution of their IT investments to the cloud based upon sound business criteria,” said Sumeet Sabharwal, general manager and group vice president, Navisite. “As a consultative managed cloud services provider, Navisite is fully involved in the entire process and delivers expertise and responsiveness to meet client requirements.”

“Since most sellers differentiate themselves with pre-sales consulting and customer support, and over half add extra value with implementation, professional and managed services, it’s key to understand the quality of a vendor’s technical acumen and follow-through quality,” said George Just, VP-Channels, Talari Networks. “With an average NPS of 90+, Talari Failsafe SD-WAN technology empowers solutions providers with the exclusive, expert knowledge they need to succeed in a hot, crowded market.”

Learn more and download the Cloud Channel Survey here.

AVANT is a channel sales enablement company and the nation’s premiere distributor for next generation technologies. AVANT adds unique value with its focus and expertise in channel sales assistance, sales training, sales guidance, and sales tools to fuel IT services business growth. From complex cloud designs to global wide-area network deployments, AVANT sets the industry standard in enabling its partners and clients to make more intelligent decisions about services, technology and cost-effective communications. For more information, visit  Follow us on Linkedin and Twitter.

Market Impact for AVANT Communications
Nikolett Bacso-Albaum
[email protected]