CEO Perspective: Outstanding Growth, Record-Breaking Deals and Empowering the Trusted Advisor

avant ian kieninger

AVANT just closed the books on the financial year for 2023, and I’m happy to report that it was another phenomenal year for AVANT and our Trusted Advisors.

Category Growth

Looking back, we have much to celebrate, not the least of which is exceptional growth in every category, including CCaaS, UCaaS, Security, Cloud/Datacenter and Telecom solution areas:

  • CCaaS: Net new sales grew 36% year-over-year. We’re seeing growth in CCaaS opportunities accelerating even faster in 2024, driven by the macroeconomic impact of more digitally savvy customer demographic changes and the advent of new disruptive AI capabilities. AI is delivering unprecedented innovation in front-end customer experiences and supporting agent assistance, agent training, call center analytics, and more.
  • UCaaS: Competition among UCaaS providers is driving price compression, while unit sales of UCaaS continue to perform strongly with 31% year-over-year growth.
  • Security: Growth topped 62% year-over-year. Security is quickly becoming a core part of the Trusted Advisor’s portfolio. If you have not participated in supporting your customers with security services, you are falling behind the market.
  • Cloud: Cloud technologies had strong growth of 49% year-over-year. This was driven not only by hybrid cloud solutions but notably by Backup and Disaster Recovery services.
  • Telecom: AVANT saw a surge of over 65% year-over-year, reflecting the significant enhancements we have made to our back-office resources, further enhancing our strength in supporting telecom services. Our pricing teams are receiving high 90s NPS scores from our TAs, and our project coordination team is tracking every one of the big six telecommunications sales from contract to commissioning services, with additional support available upon request.

Pathfinder 2.0

I am especially proud of the investments we are making in Pathfinder, our platform for confident IT decision-making that helps Trusted Advisors navigate the ever-changing technology landscape. This is our most impactful tool and often the reason Trusted Advisors seek to work with AVANT. We are investing millions annually to continue to innovate this market-leading platform. With the launch of Pathfinder 2.0 (P2) in 2023, we further elevated the Trusted Advisor experience with:

  • Industry-first provider analytics. Exclusively available within Pathfinder 2.0, Provider Analytics gives Trusted Advisors direct access to vendor performance data based on real and verified sales experiences of AVANT Trusted Advisors. It features authenticated vendor ratings from over 1,800 surveys conducted following deal closure and post-sale implementation, covering key business and sales processes.
  • A more connected sales experience. Critical to facilitating direct interaction between our Trusted Advisors and AVANT’s sales and Back Office teams, the P2 platform facilitates engagement with the AVANT team. From evaluating solutions to booking closed deals or managing commissions, Pathfinder 2.0 helps expedite the sales cycle, resulting in faster sales and commission processing and improved collaboration with pre- and post-sale AVANT teams.
  • Enhanced vendor portfolio. Offers a more intuitive and customer-ready experience for the Trusted Advisor. Providing contact details, marketing content, survey analytics, and tools for generating quotes, the vendor portfolio supports quick filtering and vendor location, making it easier for TAs to navigate.

Seventy-six percent of Trusted Advisors actively use Pathfinder, with 46% using Pathfinder in every or most opportunities. Forty-three percent use Pathfinder in front of customers in meetings. Those that use Pathfinder continue to see a 3X+ increase in their sales with AVANT.

AVANT SEs conducted over 400 live trainings and participated in over 2,000 live customer calls with TAs:

AVANT experienced outstanding engagement in our Training and Enablement programs in 2023. Our Sales Engineers (SEs) conducted 422 live training sessions with Trusted Advisors, including 36 in-person events, such as Bootcamps, Powerups, and Elevates. In total, AVANT SEs spent 1,600 hours developing training content! Additionally, they continued to sharpen their saw with 190 deep dive vendor trainings, which also led to the development of close ongoing relationships with the vendor experts. I truly believe our Sales Engineers are the most knowledgeable on the planet for the breadth of services TAs represent. That is why Trusted Advisors included them in over 2,000 calls with end customers! As we say, “put us in the game” and we’ll help you progress an opportunity far further and faster down the field than anyone else.

Special Forces Summit 2023 Exceeds Expectations – Again!

Our annual Special Forces Summit, held in Phoenix, Ariz. in October, again exceeded all expectations. It was our largest event, welcoming more than 1,500 attendees. I am no longer surprised by how our amazing marketing and training teams continue to raise the bar in the quality of training content and the exceptional end-to-end experience. This is definitively the best annual event in the channel and a must-attend for any TA who needs to understand where the market is heading and how to accelerate its revenue growth. Registration for this year’s Special Forces event in September 2024 just opened: goavant.net/sfs24

The Future: Rapid innovation increases the need for Trusted Advisors in 2024

It is undeniable that the pace of change is accelerating rapidly. Several key areas where Trusted Advisors will be in the biggest demand will continue to be Contact Center and Security services. This is where the most technology disruption continues to exist. Additional demand comes from Telecom, UCaaS, and data center services, where there will be both organic growth and an increasing need to refactor existing infrastructure. The evolving customer demographics are disrupting traditional Contact Center experience expectations, where the digitally savvy Gen Z will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2030. Customer engagement platforms need to change to support the ways these customers want to be supported.  As mentioned earlier, AI innovation will also have a big impact in disrupting the way CC services are implemented, with the evolution of service capabilities measured in weeks and months, not years.  The need for Security services will also grow, helping customers defend their environments and respond to the inevitable security breaches from the increasing sophistication of the threat actors. AI will, and is already, playing a key role in security services for both the bad and good actors.

We are also seeing an increased demand for data centers and repatriation of cloud solutions. The cloud/data center pendulum is finding its equilibrium with some workloads rebounding into dedicated platforms, and more thoughtful decisions are being made when new and legacy refactoring decisions are being made as to what belongs in the cloud vs. in dedicated managed or data center environments. The post-COVID world also impacts how companies view their network services, changing data network patterns and creating a need for more distributed and virtual security protections. SASE and zero trust solutions, vs. firewalls and traditional secure network access, are now common considerations as part of the evolving network architectures.

Trusted Advisors will be needed to support customers in understanding the evolving technology landscape and making confident technology decisions that drive impactful business outcomes. At every step, AVANT stands ready to help navigate the disruption in the market and stay ahead of the pace of change, enabling the Trusted Advisor in 2024 and beyond.

To learn more about the specific resources that will empower you to find and close more opportunities in 2024, please reach out to your dedicated Channel Manager or connect with us here!